When it comes to paychecks, Wall Street’s law of gravity is back in full force: What goes down must come back up.In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. The total is up 5.7% from $128 billion in combined compensation and benefits by the same companies in 2009.The increase was fueled by a revenue rebound as the financial crisis recedes in the rearview mirror. At 25 large financial firms that have reported full-year results, revenue rose to $417 billion, another all-time high, even though last year’s 1% increase was just a fraction of the industry’s revenue jolt from 2008 to 2009 as trading and investment banking sprang back to life."Things are shifting back to where they were before," said J. Robert Brown, a law professor at the University of Denver who studies compensation and corporate-governance issues.
By Aaron Lucchetti and Stephen Grocer

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02/02/11 WSJ