Top Corporate Governance Firm Gives Goldman Sachs' Pay Policy Its Blessing

blankfein cohn

Photo: AP

Influential corporate governance group Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is telling Goldman Sachs shareholders to vote in favour of the investment bank’s compensation plan as laid out in the proxy statement. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s recently saw his pay increase 14 per cent, while the firm’s performance declined and other Goldman executives pay declined. 

Blankfein earned $16.2 million in total compensation in 2011. His base salary of $2 million was a 233 per cent increase from 2010. Other Goldman named executive officers (NEOs) earned a combined $63 million.

From ISS:

“Goldman continues to take a discretionary approach to determining NEOs’ annual compensation, but as noted above, CEO pay and performance appear to be reasonably aligned on a long-term basis at this time,” ISS wrote. 

The group notes Goldman has reconfigured its compensation policy to pin pay with future performance. Since at least 2010, 70 per cent of executives’ pay not including Blankfein were paid in restricted stock units, while 30 per cent was paid in cash. Goldman also does not deploy golden parachutes. 

“Based on review of the company’s compensation programs and practices, ISS concludes that a vote FOR this proposal is warranted at this time, while shareholders closely monitor pay-for-performance alignment going forward as the company’s [long-term incentive] plan continues to operate,” ISS concluded.

[h/t Deal Journal]

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