Goldman Sachs Pay Plan Wins About 93% Support From Shareholders

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s compensation plan, including a provision awarding Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein $22 million, won about 93 percent support from shareholders.

The vote was based on a preliminary tally the company released Friday at the firm’s annual meeting in Jersey City, New Jersey. Last year’s proposal drew the most opposition since shareholders began voting on the matter in 2009, with 33 percent opposed.

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. endorsed the firm’s executive-pay plan after the proxy-advisory firm urged shareholders to vote against last year’s proposal. ISS, whose guidance is used by institutional investors casting votes at annual meetings, reversed its recommendation partly because of the New York-based bank’s decision to eliminate a long-term cash incentive award, according to a report sent earlier this month to clients.

Without the long-term cash award, Blankfein’s pay for 2016 fell 27 percent from a year earlier.

Goldman Sachs’s compensation committee, which decides how much to pay top executives, has been led by James A. Johnson, a former CEO of Fannie Mae, as long as Goldman Sachs has been a public company.

Shareholder “say on pay” was mandated in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law, which calls for such votes at least every three years. Compensation experts have found in the past that in practice, companies whose policies get a vote below about 80 percent -- a “B” on the academic scale -- are taking it as a sign of shareholder discontent.