The securities industry in New York City tallied $11.3 billion in profits during the first half of 2015, higher than in the past three years, while also adding jobs last year for the first time since 2011, the state comptroller reported Tuesday.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the analysis shows that despite current market volatility, Wall Street may be positioned for a good year overall. It had 174,000 jobs in August, having added 2,300 last year, and was on pace to add another 4,500 this year before recent market downturns.
The securities industry remains 9 percent smaller than it was before the 2008 financial crisis, the report said. The average salary, including bonus, rose 14 percent last year to a record $404,800 — the third highest on record after accounting for inflation.
"After a very strong first half of the year, the securities industry faces volatile financial markets and an unsteady global economy," DiNapoli said. "After years of downsizing, the industry has been adding jobs in New York City, but it may curtail hiring to bolster profits. We're hopeful that Wall Street's robust first half will result in a good year."
Despite new regulations and legal settlements related to the financial crisis, securities industry profits were strong in the past two years, averaging $16.3 billion annually, the report said. Profits in the first half of 2015 were stronger, rising 29 percent compared to the same period last year as the cost of settlements declined.
Industry performance was measured by the results of the broker/dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange members.
Current market volatility was attributed in the analysis to weakness in the global economy, particularly China, and concerns over the Federal Reserve's plan to raise short-term interest rates and possible timing.
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