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Money Management

DiNapoli: Wall Street profits up 11% in first half of 2018

Securities industry pretax profits totaled $13.7 billion in the first half of 2018, an increase of 11% over the first half of 2017, according to a report issued Monday by Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller and sole trustee of the $209.2 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany.

"Wall Street has profited every year since the end of the recession in 2009, and compensation last year reached its highest point since the financial crisis," Mr. DiNapoli said in a news release accompanying the report. "The momentum from last year's dramatic rise in profits has carried into 2018, and the industry is on track for another good year absent a setback later in the year."

Pretax profits for all of 2017 totaled $24.5 billion, up 42% from the previous year.

After adjusting for inflation, pretax profits in 2017 represented the highest full-year results since 2012. First-half pretax profits in 2018 were the highest first-half results since 2011.

Mr. DiNapoli's report measures Wall Street performance by counting pretax profits of the broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms. There are now about 120 firms vs. more than 200 before the financial crisis, the news release said.

Mr. DiNapoli said in the news release that New York state has more securities jobs — 197,300 in 2017 — than any other state, and New York City accounts for 90% of these jobs.

The securities industry added 10,600 jobs in the city between 2010 and 2017, bringing employment to 176,900. However, the city-based industry is still 6% less than before the financial crisis. The industry is on a pace to add 1,700 jobs this year based on trends during the first half of the year, the release said.

The average salary — including bonuses — in New York City's securities industry increased by 13% to $422,500 in 2017, the highest since 2008 and the third-highest on record after adjusting for inflation.

The securities industry accounted for 21% of all private-sector wages last year in New York City, while representing less than 5% of employment.