Goldman Sachs Shareholders Approve Executive-Pay Plan

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investors voted to approve pay packages of top managers after Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein’s total awards climbed 73 percent.

The compensation plan was approved with 87 percent support in the non-binding vote, according to a tally disclosed in a regulatory filing today after the firm’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City. All of the bank’s directors were elected, including former Chief Financial Officer David Viniar, who joined the board in January.

Blankfein, 58, was awarded $21 million for his performance in 2012, and received a $5 million long-term incentive. That was up from $12 million and a $3 million long-term award a year earlier. Shares of the New York-based bank climbed 41 percent in 2012, the most in three years, still leaving them 24 percent below their price at the end of 2010.

Proxy-advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. said earlier this month that shareholders should oppose the bank’s executive-pay plan. Goldman Sachs has been “deficient” in linking compensation to company performance, Glass Lewis said. ISS Proxy Advisory Services USA supported the compensation program and said the increase in executive pay for 2012 reflected stronger company results.

Shareholders rejected four measures proposed by investors and opposed by the board, according to the tallies, which include abstentions.

Maximize Value

One requested that the board hire an investment bank to explore options for maximizing shareholder value, including a merger or sale of the company. It received 1.3 percent of the vote, according to data in the filing.

Two others would have required the bank to disclose the amount it spends on lobbying and to set up a committee to assess its policies on human rights. Those measures received 5.6 percent and 3.5 percent support, respectively.

Another would give shareholders the ability to nominate their own selections for the board. It got support from 5.2 percent of the votes.

Goldman Sachs held the meeting for the first time at its offices in Salt Lake City, the bank’s second-largest U.S. location. The bank has shifted more of its staff to what it calls high-value locations in an effort to cut costs. About 22 percent of Goldman Sachs employees work in such places, which also include Dallas and Singapore, up from 10 percent in 2007, Blankfein said in November.

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