Goldman Sachs' moral obligation to Wall Street
(Fortune) -- After much fanfare, the shareholder meeting at Goldman Sachs ended Friday, much as the world ends in T.S. Elliot's, The Hollow Men: "Not with a bang but a whimper."
Up for a vote by shareholders was the separation of the chairman and CEO positions at Goldman, which are currently held by Lloyd Blankfein. In support of the proposal, Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services, said in a statement: "While separating the positions of Chair and CEO is not a guarantee against future scandals, it does provide another layer of checks and balances and could improve the board's ability to oversee the activities of the company."
Meanwhile, Proxy Democracy, which helps investors keep track of the actions of institutional shareholders, reports that both AFSCME's employee pension plan and CalPERs voted in favor of the measure. The Florida State Board of Administration and the Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan also voted in favor, according to industry watcher, Pensions & Investments.
Against the measure, and in favor of the chairman and CEO positions being held by the same person, Goldman (GS, Fortune 500) wrote in its proxy: "The combination of our Chairman's ability to call and set the agenda for Board meetings with the CEO's intimate knowledge of our business provides the best structure for the efficient operation of our Board." (Emphasis added.)
In the end, the Goldman position prevailed......
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In the meantime, here's how other countries handle the problem:
Bankers jailed, sued as Iceland seeks culprits for crisis