Wall Street average bonus rose 15% in 2013

A sign saying Wall Street Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wall Street firms are increasingly deferring bonus payments

Wall Street bonuses rose 15% last year, to the highest level since the global financial crisis, according to the New York state finance chief.

The average bonus rose to $164,530 (£99,000) in 2013, with total bonus payments rising to $26.7bn, state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli estimated.

His report said the payments were boosted in part by "compensation deferred from prior years".

It focuses only on bonuses paid to bankers and brokers in New York City.

"Wall Street navigated through some rough patches last year and had a profitable 2013," Mr DiNapoli, said in a statement.

"Although profits were lower than the prior year, the industry still had a good 2013 despite costly legal settlements and higher interest rates."

Deferred payments

Since the global financial crisis unfolded, regulators have called on Wall Street's banks and brokerage firms to offer longer-term bonus structures.

This, the regulators believe, would prevent employees from making high-risk investments that boost their bonuses in one year, but could cause longer-term financial damage.

Instead, employees would be forced to consider the future prospects of the investments they make.

As a result, there has been shift toward more deferred compensation.

According to Mr DiNapoli's report, over the past two years the bonus pool has grown by 44%, driven by compensation deferred from prior years.

"Wall Street continues to demonstrate resilience as it evolves in a changing regulatory environment," said Mr DiNapoli.

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