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Money Management

DiNapoli: Wall Street profits jump 42% in 2017; bonuses up 17%

Wall Street profits climbed to $24.5 billion last year, up 42% from 2016, according to an annual survey of financial industry performance released Monday by state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

The profits — the highest since 2010 — "clearly demonstrate" that Wall Street can do well within the various regulations enacted since the economic crash of 2008-'09, Mr. DiNapoli said in a telephone news conference.

Industry profits were driven by higher net revenue, which rose 4.5% to $153 billion. Wealth management fees, underwriting and other income, such as fees for advising on mergers and acquisitions, played a prominent role in the higher revenue, according to a report on the survey. The survey uses a traditional securities industry measurement for Wall Street profits — the pretax profits for broker-dealers that are members of the New York Stock Exchange.

Mr. DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the $209.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, said it was too early to predict how recent stock market volatility would affect this year's results.

He said Wall Street employment was essentially flat last year — 176,900 vs. 177,000 in 2016. Still, this was the second-highest total since 188,400 were employed in 2008.

Mr. DiNapoli's survey also noted that the average Wall Street bonus rose 17% last year to $184,220 from $157,660 in 2016. Last year's average bonus was the highest since the $191,360 in 2006.

During his news conference, Mr. DiNapoli said the higher average bonus could have been affected by employers moving bonuses slated for this year into last year because the new federal tax law eliminates the corporate deduction for performance-based pay starting in 2018. He said it was "too early to predict" the size of average bonuses for 2018.