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Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Bonus’

[Three Cents Worth #263 NY] Do Wall Street Bonuses Affect NYC Sales?

March 18, 2014 | 4:13 pm | curbed | Charts |

It’s time to share my Three Cents Worth (3CW) on Curbed NY, at the intersection of neighborhood and real estate in the capital of the world…and I’m here to take measurements.

Check out my 3CW column on @CurbedNY:

According to the 5/25 rule, the ratio of New York City jobs in the securities industry and the income they account for is 5 to 25: approximately 5 percent of NYC jobs come from the securities industry and they account for about 1/4 of personal income. With such a large, and disproportionate market share of NYC income, Wall Street has long been considered a lynchpin of the NYC real estate economy and perhaps most strongly aligned with Manhattan.

Still, it is a stretch to associate the ebb and flow as a predictor of future gains and losses in Manhattan housing prices, especially when considering deferred compensation. (Also, many Wall Streeters are getting paid from income deferred from a few years ago when times weren’t as good.) But it’s fun to chart. Especially after last week’s announcement by the State Comptroller of a 15.1 percent increase in both the Wall Street bonus pool and on a per person basis…

3cwNY3-18-14
[click to expand chart]



My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Do Wall Street Bonuses Affect NYC Sales? [Curbed]

Three Cents Worth Archive Curbed NY
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Bonus for NYC Housing: Wall Street Comp Up 15.1%, Most Cash Paid Out Since ’08 Crash

March 17, 2014 | 7:00 am | Charts |

The annual release by the New York State Office of Comptroller brought upbeat news to the real estate economy in NYC. Wall Street compensation has long accounted for roughly a quarter of personal income but only 5% of employment so the industry remains very important to NYC’s tax revenues. Here are some of the key points:

  • The overall bonus pool and bonus per person increased 15.1%.
  • The total bonus pool was
  • Bonus pool is up 44% in past 2 years.
  • Securities employment is down 12.6% from before the 2008 market crash.
  • Wall Street accounts for 8.5% of NYC tax revenue and 16% of NYS tax revenue
  • Part of the rise was due to payouts of deferred compensation from prior years.

Here are a few charts that layout the bonus trends in NYC. Wall Street is a key economic driver of NYC and therefore important to the health of the NYC housing market.

Wall Street compensation is 5x that of mere mortals (other private employment compensation) and that ratio has stabilized after a modest correction following the 2008 stock market crash.
2013nycsecuritiesbonus
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Wall Street bonuses rose steadily as a portion of total compensation but after the 2008 stock market correction and financial reform, the market share fell – but not as much as perceived.
2013nycsecuritiescompasperc
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Wall Street employment has fallen since 2008, but not nearly as much as expected. The market share of Wall Street NYC employment has slipped as a result.
2013nycwallstreetemployment
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Wall Streeters Paid 7X The Private Sector

February 27, 2013 | 12:42 pm | curbed | Charts |

In case you have any doubts about the amount of compensation that the securities industry enjoys versus the private sector in NYC, I created the chart above. While the bonus comp results has been released for 2012, the salary data is not out yet so I built this chart from 1985-2011. In 2011, securities industry salaries + bonuses were 7x larger than private industry salaries.

In case you had any doubts about how important the industry is to the NYC, regional and state economy, hopefully you are now – love them or hate them.

Since Wall Street bonuses were announced yesterday and have been talked about and analyzed a lot over the past 24 hours, I thought I’d share the following video which apologizes a lot for compensation levels of the securities industry but breaks down the advantages of the bonus compensation practice on Wall Street.

I was provided with a video from OnlineMBA.com



Three Cents Worth: Have Bonus, Will Buy in Manhattan? [Curbed NY]
In Defense of the Wall Street Bonus [OnlineMBA]
NYC Securities v. Other Private Industry Compensation [Miller Samuel Charts]
Wall Street Bonuses Rose in 2012 [NYS Comptroller]

UPDATE: Bloomberg Television saw this post and made it their “Single Best Chart” of the day.

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[Three Cents Worth NY #224] Have Bonus, Will Buy in Manhattan?

February 26, 2013 | 5:16 pm | curbed | Charts |

It’s time to share my Three Cents Worth (3CW) on Curbed NY, at the intersection of neighborhood and real estate in the capital of the world…and I’m here to take measurements.

Check out this week’s 3CW column on @CurbedNY:

Since New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli graciously accommodated our Tuesday Three Cents Worth release date with his report on Wall Street Bonuses, I thought I’d try to come up with a chart that somehow correlates Wall Street cash bonus payments and the Manhattan housing market. Prices don’t correlate well with any form of Wall Street bonus data and employment trends seem to be too macro to equate with annual housing price trends…


[click to expand chart]



Today’s Post: Have Bonus, Will Buy in Manhattan? [Curbed]
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[Wall Street + Housing] Lower Risk = Lower Compensation = Tempered Housing Demand

June 23, 2010 | 12:01 am |

Robert Moses, the Master Builder of New York, famously uttered these words at the groundbreaking of Lincoln Center in NYC.

You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.

I highly recommend The Power Broker by Robert Caro (and his LBJ trilogy) that chronicles Moses’ life but make sure you dedicate a lot of time – it’s a long read.

Amid the scrambled (sorry) state of financial reform going on in Washington right now is the underlying newly realized immovable object and the likely outcome for Wall Street:

Lower Risk = Lower Compensation

Ok, eggs not a great analogy but I needed to squeeze one of my favorite quotes of all time in somehow. Lower leverage is in the future of Wall Street. Take lower risks and there are lower returns to firms eventually translating into lower compensation, translating into tempered housing demand.

This Monday federal regulators finalized guidance on a hot topic as of late: executive compensation:

The final guidance is similar to what the central bank proposed in October, but would now apply to the entire banking industry. Previously, its efforts targeted only holding companies and state-member banks…

The final guidance did not change the three initial goals of the Fed’s proposal: providing incentives that appropriately balance risk and financial results and discourage risk taking; matching “effective controls and risk management”; and supporting corporate governance.

Risk, risk, risk

Senior Economist David Belkin of NYC’s Independent Budget Office received a flurry of media coverage for his post titled “Wall Street Wages: A Rough Ride on Easy Street:”

Much has been made in recent months of last year’s record profits on Wall Street, the myriad ways (near-zero interest rates, bailouts, accounting rules changes) that government policy boosted those profits, and the seven or eight figure bonus packages that some Wall Street executives awarded themselves from those profits. There has been less said, however, about what happened to aggregate wages and salaries across the securities industry in New York City in 2009. Not only did wages fall, but the fall was the steepest in modern history—including the Great Depression.

Adjusted for inflation, average wages in the securities industry plummeted 21.5 percent in 2009 and 24.6 percent over two years.

A key economic engine in the New York City metro area that provides 25% of personal income and 5% of the employment and creates 2.5 private sector jobs for each securities job, this should also be a concern for sustainability of the current level of housing demand.

Ironically Wall Street has been telling us this for years: past performance does not guaranty future returns.


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I’m Sorry But Don’t Blame Me, I’m Neutral

May 4, 2010 | 8:45 am | wsjlogo |


(courtesy: CS Monitor)

Admittedly I am getting annoyed about the lack of closure on this credit crunch thing. Can’t we simply point fingers, have someone apologize but indirectly deny responsibility and then we can then get back to buying stuff and building extensions on our houses?

Make no mistake, the credit crunch is one big mistake. It’s called a systemic breakdown because so many in the economy played a role in our economic demise. Moral hazard, government backstops, bailouts, stimulus, bonuses, trillions, synthetic CDOs have been placed in the forefront of our thinking.

But no clear financial reform path is being taken – in fact it took an investment bank using swear words in an email to get Washington’s attention and break the political maneuvering. Each party is planning to oversteer the solution to their agenda which was part of the problem that lead to this crisis. While we all worry about “free markets” we have forgotten how important it is to create a level playing field. Without rules, free markets degrade to chaos and lack of investor participation. We are seeing this now within the secondary mortgage market, especially jumbos.

We can never remove the human factor from the problem since regulators were clearly asleep at the switch (since Clinton) compensation had perverse incentives favoring short term profits over long term viability, regulators were neutered by the prior administration (think prior SEC under Bush) so its dumb to have some sort of czar. It’s never one factor – it a combination of people, events, institutions and politics that light the fuse.

I am looking forward to some sort of meaningful financial reform. If neutrality isn’t baked into the system, then this is all a big waste of time. Regulators need authority and can not be influenced and investment banks can’t pick the regulator they want. Rating agencies should not be paid directly by the investment banks whose products they rate. Appraisers can not be fearful of their livelihood because they don;t hit the number, etc.

Here’s what it all boils down to now: blame and being sorry.

Blame
Another Jonathon Miller (no relation, but awesome name) and his wife are suing a large builder for not preventing flipping in their housing development which brought in “irreverent transients” who party loudly, park erratically and install unauthorized satellite dishes.

I’m not doubting those conditions exist and it appears to be a creative way to get your money back.

When the housing market collapsed, some contracted buyers abandoned deals. From the outset, the project exhibited “ghost-town-like” qualities, the suit says.

Looking back, the Millers say the developer should have worked harder to prevent so-called flippers from buying units. Buyers were supposed to stick around for at least 18 months.

Saying I’m Sorry
In particularly interesting Reuters Summit Notebook piece, People make mistakes, take Alan Greenspan and Captain of Titanic

Phil Angelides, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission chairman, says he’d rather see some taking of responsibility than hear another “I’m sorry.”

“Personally I don’t see my role as … to obtain apologies. What I don’t hear is a sense of responsibility and self-assessment about what occurred. There seems to be a disconnect between the practices that people undertook and the financial collapse,” he said at the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit.

“I’m struck by the extent to which all fingers point away generally from the person testifying,” Angelides said.

When it gets to this point, its too late. Let’s try to be proactive with some sort of meaningful financial reform. Not more regulation, not fewer protections for neutral parties.

If we can’t do this as a country, well, don’t blame me.

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Wall Street Bonus Money Flows Like Molasses

March 2, 2010 | 1:49 pm | nytlogo |

Note to readers – Matrix was hacked and we moved to a new host. Lost some of the graphics as a result – will get back on track shortly.


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The Wall Street bonus pool rose 17% and average bonus per person rose 25%.

Wall Street bonuses paid to New York City securities industry employees rose by 17 percent to $20.3 billion in 2009, according to an estimate released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Total compensation at the largest securities firms grew even faster and industry profits could exceed an unprecedented $55 billion in 2009, nearly three times greater than the previous all-time record. In 2008, the industry lost a record $42.6 billion.

On the surface this sounds like there will be a big jolt to the NYC regional economy. The sector is an important economic engine, providing 25% of the income from 5% of the jobs. Every job lost on Wall Street causes the loss of 2.5 private sector jobs.

The higher growth in bonuses are bittersweet – while the average per person bonus was up because there was job loss in the sector. Arguably few jobs lost than forecast but it tempers the bonus impact on the real estate economy.

But bonuses are controversial especially when so many are struggling outside of Wall Street. President Obama fell prey to populist sentiment with his “Fat Cats on Wall Street” comments but now doesn’t begrudge them (I’ve never been able to use begrudge in a sentence before).

Bonus income accounts for as much as 50% of total compensation for an individual.

But as John Mack, Morgan Stanley Chairman, has said

“I still don’t think the industry gets it,” Bloomberg reported the veteran banker as saying yesterday during an appearance in Charlotte, North Carolina (hat tip Huffington Post). “The issue is not structure, it is amount.”

My anecdotal feedback is that compensation seems to be about 70% restricted stock and 30% cash. And institutions like UBS are reportedly paying out half of the cash compensation now and half in 6 months.

That knocks the wind out of the “sales” (sorry) for a spring frenzy in the NYC housing market that has grown accustomed to a frenzy over the past decade. Still, it will help but I am skeptical about it helping above seasonal expectations, but who really knows.



[click to expand]
Source: New York State State Comptroller


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[Turning The Corner] 3Q 2009 Manhattan Market Overview Available For Download

October 2, 2009 | 8:17 am | delogo | Reports |

The 3Q 2009 Manhattan Market Overview , part of a report series that we have authored for Prudential Douglas Elliman since 1994, was released today.

Other reports we prepare can be found here.

The 3Q 2009 data and a series of charts are also available for viewing.

Press coverage can be found here.

An excerpt

…The number of sales tend to peak in the second quarter of each year. This is reflective of the spring selling season including demand generated from the early year Wall Street bonus season. However, the peak level of activity year to date occurred during the third quarter suggesting the seasonal housing cycle was pushed forward by three months. The unusually low level of sales activity in the first quarter of 2009 appeared to set the stage for a release of pentup demand later in the year. The summer surge in the number of sales was caused by a myriad of factors including mortgage rates at historic lows, the $8,000 first time buyer tax credit, increased affordability after the sharp correction in price levels, and continued evidence that the financial system was continuing to stabilize. In addition, a 24% jump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past 6 months resulted in an improvement in consumer confidence. Still, unemployment remains elevated, employment in the financial services sector continues to decline and unusually restrictive mortgage underwriting remains in place. Therefore, this surge in the number of sales does not appear to indicate a housing market “bottom”, but rather provides some evidence that the housing market has “turned the corner”…

Download 3Q 2009 Manhattan Market Overview

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[Fierce Finance] Of Wall Street Bonuses And Crooked Estates

September 29, 2009 | 4:18 pm |

Discovered a new financial services web site today called Fierce Finance that has some compelling content and a cool name. Here are a couple of the items…

Wall Street bonuses if handled correctly, may not be that controversial.

If banks are not accepting even more in taxpayer funds and are making profits legitimately, I doubt anyone will have a problem with big bonuses.

It will be challenging however after what is anticipated to be fairly large profit reports from a few of the larger financial institutions. That has ramifications for stirring up the Main/Wall Street debate, compensation restrictions by Congress (and fanning the flames of housing demand in the NYC metro area).

And a slide show of the more “infamous” properties that were tainted in controversy in the past year.

Between the SEC’s post-Madoff hyper vigilance and the intense media coverage of the financial services industry, a great deal of scandal has surfaced over the last year.

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[Risk as a Bonus] US Treasury Makes Another Attempt To Fix Economy, Housing

March 23, 2009 | 11:21 am | nytlogo |

Last week, Dan Gross at Newsweek wrote a fun piece on Slate/Newsweek called “Jump” (not a a correlation with the old Van Halen song). Basically he says that nothing the government can do will fix the economy unless we participate.

In the grips of a bubble mentality, we—as investors, consumers, and businesses—blithely assumed risk and convinced our­selves it was perfectly safe to do so. We bought houses with no money down, took on huge amounts of debt, and let the booming stock and housing markets perform the heavy lifting of saving.

I remember the ridicule the former president took for his previous economic fix after 9/11 – “Shop!” else we enter the “paradox of thrift.

If everyone saves during a slack period, economic activity will decrease, thus making everyone poor­er. We also need to start investing again—not necessarily in the stocks of Citigroup or in condos in Miami. But rather to build skills, to create the new companies that are so vital to growth, and to fund the discov­ery and development of new technologies.

I am not suggesting that shopping is solution, but it is certainly part of the problem right now. When consumers and investors hunker down and do nothing, a failure spiral results.

Today Secretary Geitner announces the plan we have been waiting for, which is heavily reliant on the private sector. US Treasury secrectary Geitner unvailed his second attempt at getting the economy moving again and this time there is probably no room for a do-over. Did he really call it “My Plan”?

We cannot solve this crisis without making it possible for investors to take risks. While this crisis was caused by banks taking too much risk, the danger now is that they will take too little. In working with Congress to put in place strong conditions to prevent misuse of taxpayer assistance, we need to be very careful not to discourage those investments the economy needs to recover from recession. The rule of law gives responsible entrepreneurs and investors the confidence to invest and create jobs in our nation. Our nation’s commitment to pursue economic policies that promote confidence and stability dates back to the very first secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who first made it clear that when our government gives its word we mean it.

Of course Hamilton was shot dead in a duel. Let’s hope this strategy has a quicker draw and better aim.

Here’s the official press release and fact sheet posted this morning.

Here’s the problem with the AIG bonus outrage that fueled this modification of plans – it’s not about being scared of keeping AIG and other Wall Street firms afloat and it’s not about the obscene lack of morality – it’s about the danger of scaring off the private sector from participating in the solution. It’s called “Free Market.”

Council of Economic Advisers Chief Christina Romer said:

“We’ve got banks with a lot of toxic assets, what ‘toxic’ means is they are highly uncertain … so that is certainly the big picture, and that is going to be the main reason for doing this … We simply — we simply need them. We need them — you know, we’ve got a limited amount of money that the government has to go in here, so we need to partner, not just with private firms, but with the FDIC, with the Fed, to leverage the money that we have,” she said.

$165M AIG bonuses (actually it’s $218M) and it’s symbolism of greed have been a distraction and we have to be very careful of taking our eye off the ball. Cut out the “Main Street versus Wall Street” homilies and let’s fix this.

Congress underestimated consumer outrage and the House quickly passed retribution legislation to get even via a 90% tax. Because the political playing field is incentivized by one-upsmanship, Congress is much more comfortable with this sort of grandstanding/finger pointing and that’s what this debate has regressed to. Dodd is in hot water.

It began with the previous legislation of caps on Wall Street compensation (when Congress didn’t catch it), while a feel good measure, is also a short sighted position much more apparent now because there will always be work-arounds.

I love how many simply lump all Wall Streeters into one evil pile and feel it’s right to treat everyone the same. It’s professional prejudice on steroids. A market for the “toxic” assets needs to be fostered. Do we want to get out this mess or not? No room for populist shortsightedness.

More on the plan later. In the meantime I need to download that song from iTunes - it’s systemic so we might as well jump.


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