Nuns Challenge Goldman Sachs' Math on $69.5 Million for Execs

Monday, 04 Apr 2011 01:55 PM

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Four orders of Roman Catholic nuns want Goldman Sachs bosses to report to the principal’s office and justify the high marks they’ve given themselves on their financial report cards. The good sisters want to grill them about Goldman’s revelation last week that its five top execs were paid $69.5 million last year, even though the bank’s profits dropped, according to The Telegraph of London.

Lloyd Blankfein, nuns, Goldman Sachs
Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's chief exec, was paid $14.1 million last year. (Getty Images Photo)
Among the salaries at issue is the pay for Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, who received a cash bonus of $5.4 million as part of a total pay package of $14.1 last year, The Telegraph reported. Blankfein’s notable quotes include one during a 2009 interview, in which he said the Wall Street bank is doing “God’s work,” the newspaper noted. The orders of nuns, who are Goldman shareholders, question that assertion, especially in a time of layoffs and low pay levels at other echelons of society.

Goldman revealed the sisters’ own mission from God in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that noted they want the proposal on the agenda of the bank’s annual general meeting next month. And they want the company’s compensation committee to return its report card by October.

The orders are 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 Mount Angel. In addition, the Benedictine order and the U.S. charity The Nathan Cummings Foundation also challenged 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 countered that shareholders have enough information on the matter and that a report would “entail an unjustified cost to our firm and would not provide shareholders with any meaningful information.”


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