Shareholder nuns ask Goldman execs to justify their pay

Posted by Patrice Tuohy
Wednesday 06, April 2011 | Category:   Consecrated Life

Goldman Sachs is facing a call from the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel to review whether the pay awarded to chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and other top executives is excessive, according to the Telegraph. The proposal will be put forward at the Wall Street bank’s annual general meeting next month by the orders, who own shares in Goldman, the bank revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bank’s pay practices have faced criticism from religious orders in the past, but this call comes as Goldman revealed last week that its five most senior executives were awarded $69.5m in pay last year despite a drop in the bank’s profits.

Mr Blankfein, who said in an interview in 2009 that the bank was doing “God’s work”, received a cash bonus of $5.4m as part of a total pay package of $14.1m for last year. The Benedictine nuns, along with the US charity, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, also asked Goldman’s committee to explore “how sizeable layoffs and the level of pay of our lowest paid workers impact senior executive pay.” 

In the SEC filing, the bank said that shareholders already have enough information to assess how Goldman rewards its executives and a further report would “entail an unjustified cost to our firm and would not provide shareholders with any meaningful information.”

In another case of investor nuns fighting back, last year Morgan Stanley was sued by a group of Irish nuns for allegedly failing to redeem an investment for them. The case, The Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary v. Morgan Stanley, is still pending in Britain's high court.



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