They may be the masters of the universe, but Goldman Sachs bankers will face a challenge from shareholders invoking an even higher authority; four orders of nuns.
The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia and the Benedictine Sisters of Mt Angel — all investors in the bank — have put their name to a proposal to review its remuneration policies, after it emerged its five most senior employees were collectively awarded $69.5 million (£43 million) in pay last year.
The Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed the challenge in a filing ahead of Goldman Sachs’ annual meeting next month.
The nuns asked the shareholders to request that the board’s compensation committee initiate a review of the company’s senior executive compensation policies and make available a summary report of that review by 1 October, 2011.
The nuns have made their feelings on Goldman’s pay levels clear in previous years, with about as much success.
Chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, who has claimed to be doing “God’s work” at Goldman, saw his pay reach $14 million in 2010, with four other senior executives receiving a similar amount.
Goldman said it would resist the request. “Shareholders already have access to the information necessary to understand and assess the compensation decisions made with respect to our senior executives, and the firm as a whole,” the firm said.