Goldman Shareholders Approve Blankfein's Pay

Despite a planned demonstration by NY Align, Goldman Sachs's annual meeting went off without a hitch today.

Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs

A small group of protesters showed up in the rain a block or so from Goldman Sach's building in Jersey City, NJ.

Inside, Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein fielded questions on regulation, Europe, pay and JPMorgan'strading losses.

Director Michele Burns came under fire for her role on Wal-Mart's audit committee. Blankfein praised her tenure as a Goldman director, saying "this is not a Wal-Mart annual meeting. Burns rose to address the meeting on Wal-Mart's bribery scandal in Mexico. "I assure you we are looking into this."

All directors including Burns were approved by majority shareholder vote.

New lead director James Schiro discussed the firm's risk systems in answer to questions about whether JPMorgan's recent lossescould be repeated at Goldman. Goldman keeps close daily tabs on its risk positions, he said.

Schiro also commented on the expanded powers of the lead director. Blankfein, as chairman of the board, is no longer is part of assessing his own performance, Schiro said. Goldman will continue to look at splitting the Chairman and CEO jobs, he said.

Blankfein's pay was approved by a 94 percent vote.

Shareholders pressed Blankfein on the risk issue, asking about the firm's exposure to Europe. The disintegration of the euro was a remote possibility, Blankfein said, citing "tremendous political will" to keep the monetary union intact. Nonetheless, Goldman is constantly monitoring its exposure to Europe, and testing probabilities of a meltdown, Blankfein said.