Saturday, December 12, 2009

Goldman Sachs changes compensation plan...

...for all 30 members of its management team.

Nice press release includes few pertinent details. Would love to know if this means the 30,000+ employees not affected by this plan now get bigger bonuses.

After all, Goldman's $17 billion bonus stash needs to be distributed to the many thousands of deserving employees, right?

In the press release, Lloyd Blankfein offers up this quotable nugget:

"The measures that we are announcing today reflect the compensation principles that we articulated at our shareholders' meeting in May. We believe our compensation policies are the strongest in our industry and ensure that compensation accurately reflects the firm's performance and incentivizes behavior that is in the public’s and our shareholders’ best interests.

"In addition, by subjecting our compensation principles and executive compensation to a shareholder advisory vote, we are further strengthening our dialogue with shareholders on the important issue of compensation.”

Strengthening the dialogue, perhaps, but giving the shareholders no real say in the matter, according to the press release.

"Shareholders will have an advisory vote on the firm’s compensation principles and the compensation of its named executive officers at the firm’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders in 2010."

Was not aware that shareholders needed Goldman Sachs to grant them "advisory" status on this issue. Seems like the shareholders have not been shy about offering their advice on this topic already.

Goldmans "news" provides valuable PR spin. But let's be realistic. Putting a limit on bonuses for 30 people in a company with 30,000 employees will hardly change a thing.

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