Median Broker Production Hits New High in '98

Retail brokers' median gross production reached a new record of 334,397 in 1998, according to data from the Securities Industry Association.Although median production (commissions and fees) increased 10.2% from a previous record of 303,366 in 1997, brokers' median 1998 W-2 earnings actually declined 1.8% from 119,010 in 1997 to 116,917 last year.The dip in median pay might be due to the mix of firms

Retail brokers' median gross production reached a new record of §334,397 in 1998, according to data from the Securities Industry Association.

Although median production (commissions and fees) increased 10.2% from a previous record of §303,366 in 1997, brokers' median 1998 W-2 earnings actually declined 1.8% from §119,010 in 1997 to §116,917 last year.

The dip in median pay might be due to the mix of firms participating in the survey, according to an SIA spokesperson. Forty-five firms participated in the latest survey, versus 50 in 1997. The majority of the firms in the latest survey are larger brokerages that collectively employ 45,000 reps.

Average pay for reps did increase in 1998--but not as much as average production. The average gross commissions and fees brought in by retail reps increased 11% to §430,072, up from the previous high of §387,583 in 1997. But average W-2 earnings rose only 6.7% to §168,726.

SIA survey figures show the median payout in 1998 was 34.9%, a two-point drop from 1997's 37%. The average payout was 37.1%, down from 38.6% in 1997.

Fee-based products are accounting for more of reps' total gross, rising from 13% in 1997 to 17.8% in 1998.

Other survey highlights:

* The size of the average retail branch remained virtually the same between 1997 and 1998, with 14.8 reps, 6.3 sales assistants, and §6.1 million in gross commissions and fees.

* Almost half (47.1%) of the reps working for participating firms had been in the industry 10 years or more. Registered rep turnover was 12.7%. Average length of time working at their current firm was 8.4 years. The number of reps and other producers increased 5% in 1998.

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