Pay on Wall Street is on pace to break a record high for a second consecutive year, according to a study conducted by The Wall Street Journal, growing 4% in 2010 at nearly three dozen of the top financial institutions.

The 35 top publicly held securities and investment-services firms are set to pay $144 billion in compensation and benefits, up from $139 billion in 2009, according to the Journal survey. Compensation was expected to rise at 26 of the firms.

The study also found that revenue was expected to rise at 29 of the 35 firms surveyed, but at a slower pace than pay. Wall Street revenue is expected to rise 3%, to $448 billion from $433 billion, despite a slowdown in some high-profile activities like stock and bond trading. Overall, Wall Street is expected to pay nearly a third -- 32.1% -- of its revenue to employees.

The Wall Street Journal
also notes the differences among companies. For example, at Citigroup (C), which remains about 12% government owned, revenue is projected to increase this year by about 4%, but pay will be down about 8%. At Goldman Sachs (GS), on the other hand, revenue is expected to decline by 13.5% this year to $39.1 billion, while compensation is projected to be 3.7% higher at $16.8 billion.

Most of the companies have paid the government back the financial aid they received during the financial crisis and therefore have come out from under the Treasury Department's rules about pay. However, they're still benefiting from low interest rates courtesy of the Federal Reserve's stimulative policy and strong international markets.

In Europe, regulators last week backed tougher than expected draft rules on bankers' pay. If they are implemented, cash bonuses would be capped at 30%, and large bonuses at 20%. Also, 40% of normal bonuses would be paid over several years, and 60% of big bonuses postponed. Finally, the regulations include a clawback mechanism that would allow for company's to reclaim bonuses.

In the U.S., there will be some restrictions on pay in the upcoming Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill, but the specifics aren't clear yet. Also, tougher new capital rules may also restrict compensation. But until the focus in financial firms changes to creating more shareholder value, some say, current compensation packages will remain.

Experts say, however, that Wall Street banks are unlikely to pay 2010 bonuses until after the end of the year, even though this could hurt employees' tax bills, according to Reuters. Early bonus payments would be a public relations disaster for a sector already blamed for much of the financial crisis.

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Greed is good.

October 13 2010 at 9:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What is wrong with this picture? We owe paper to the Middle East and China that put future children into hock. The Elderly on Social Security had the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) denied for two years. A Jobless recovery, but Wall Street is doing just fine. Has anyone heard of the Economist John S. Mill and the test of Ethics related to Utilitarianism? What is ethical is doing what,"Creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people." Not just Goldman Sachs and that ilk.

October 12 2010 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

From you idiot liberasses, I thought wall street was reublican...your annointed ones are in control while they earn big bucks. When will you stop being stupid? You are so clueless it is entertaining!

October 12 2010 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Notice how whenever you start waving truth and facts in front of Radical Leftist Democrats, they seem to disappear!

October 12 2010 at 4:34 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Randy's comment

Kinda likw vampires and crosses, sunlight, and garlic! LOL!!

October 12 2010 at 4:36 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

The IRS needs a value added committee. Those who add value to the economy should be taxed at moderate rates. Those who are Robber Barons should get the 90% tax treatment. I realize this would in some cases be a difficult judgment to make, perhaps the tax Court could handle that.

October 12 2010 at 4:24 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lgnu's comment

dokes- Hitler was popular at some point, but that does not neccessarily make him a good person! Castro also had a following and killed anyone who got in his way! You really don't make a good point!

October 12 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Randy's comment

I think they get such big pay checks its there UNION. Remember everyone blames the union when the factory worker makes good pay.

October 12 2010 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


October 12 2010 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

mc- you sound like a real thinker and a very smart person!

October 12 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move foward toward unity and widley shared prosperity or it will move apart. FDR

October 12 2010 at 4:08 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Good for Wall Street. Without it there would be no "Main Street."

October 12 2010 at 4:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply