US: Wall $t. bonuses balloon to new record

New record set of $21.5B in 2005, beating previous record of $19.5B set in 2000.
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Wall Street bonuses set a new record of $21.5 billion in 2005, surpassing the previous record of $19.5 billion set in 2000 during the peak of the last bull market, according to a report released Wednesday by New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

Bonuses paid by Wall Street firms grew 15.5 percent to $21.5 billion, compared with $18.6 billion in 2004.

That translates into average bonuses of $125,500 -- also a new record. Bonuses averaged an estimated $114,300 in 2004.

According to the report, many bonuses are tied to industry revenues, which were exceptionally strong in 2005.

"The securities industry had a very good year during 2005. The industry paid record bonuses based on exceptional revenue growth and solid profits," Hevesi said.

A report in "New York Magazine," meanwhile, estimates that the total bonus pool at Goldman Sachs (Research) may have reached as high as $11 billion in 2005.

"New York" estimates that bonuses may have ranged from $2 million to $40 million for the firm's partners; between $15 million and $20 million for the firm's top-performing traders; from $1.75 million to $3 million for non-partner managing directors; around $95,000 for newly minted MBAs; and up to $18,750 for the firm's top secretaries.

AMP Section Name:Executive Compensation