Retail brokers' average earnings rose 18%, last year, to $116,510, according to the Securities Industry Association.

The average for institutional brokers climbed 14%, to $271,495, the New York-based trade group said.

The association, which represents some 700 securities brokers and investment banking firms, based its findings on gross earnings of sales representatives at 69 firms, including several bank broker/dealers.

Lively Year

Increased market activity and higher stock prices propelled commission revenue, said Jeffrey Schaefer, a senior vice president.

Retail brokers saw their fourth consecutive earnings gain. The average last fell in 1988, the year after the market crash, to $71,309, from $93,959 in 1987.

Production also rose last year, to record levels. The median on the retail side rose to $197,523 from $173,467, while median institutional production climbed to $508,857 from $421,926 in 1991.

Different for Banks

The figures, although including some bank representation, are probably a bit high for many financial institutions, industry observers say.

The survey bases its findings mainly on commissions, while banks often have more varied compensation arrangements. These can include a flat salary or a salary/bonus combination that can supply less compensation than commissions.

But bank reps make up ground when it comes to receiving more generous benefit packages, said Robert Bosserman, managing partner of Sales Acceleration Systems, a Beaverdam, Va., consulting firm.

Benefits at banks can typically add 30% or 35% to base salaries, Mr. Bosserman said.

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