Cash compensation for investment sales representatives at brokerages owned by depository institutions increased 11.52% from 1996 to 1998, a survey found.

These brokers earned $85,056 on average last year, a "healthy increase," said Kenneth Kehrer, principal of Kenneth Kehrer Associates of Princeton, N.J., which conducted the study of 54 banks, thrifts, and credit unions. It was sponsored by Alliance Capital Management of New York.

Cash compensation is heavily tied to a broker's productivity, Mr. Kehrer said. The average broker generated $273,012 of gross revenue for his or her company last year, up 28.21% from 1996. Mr. Kehrer did not conduct a survey in 1997.

Mr. Kehrer said he expected brokers at wire houses and regional brokerages to fare significantly better.

The Securities Industry Association, which tracks data for the entire industry, plans to release its 1998 figures in July or August, a spokeswoman said. In 1997 the average broker earned $158,201, up 10.6% from 1996, she said.

One limiting factor for banks and thrifts is that customers with more than $1 million of investable assets are typically clients of the trust department, not the brokerage. And banks and thrifts might not attract the most successful brokers, Mr. Kehrer said, because the pay tends to be lower.

Robert Comfort, senior managing director of Huntington Bancshares' brokerage arm, said bank brokers are often willing to accept a lower payout because banks offer more marketing support, among other things, to help them boost business.

"They more than make it up in volume," he said.

Compensation of the average broker at Huntington Investment Co. of Columbus, Ohio, one of the firms surveyed by Mr. Kehrer, increased 51% from 1996 to 1998, Mr. Comfort said.

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