May 2, 2018 / 2:02 PM / a year ago

Goldman Sachs vote backs pay, shows less support for stock plan

The Goldman Sachs company logo is seen in the company's space on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

JERSEY CITY, N.J./BOSTON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) leaders said more than 87 percent of shares were voted in favor of its executive pay at its annual shareholder meeting, and that a stock plan for employees was approved by more than 65 percent of votes cast.

Goldman Sachs leaders gave the preliminary vote tallies at the meeting held in New Jersey on Wednesday. Each of the bank’s 11 director nominees received the support of a majority of investors, they said.

Speaking at the meeting, Goldman Sachs Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said there has been “no decision” as to the schedule of when he might step back from running the top Wall Street bank, reiterating past remarks.

Company president and chief operating officer David Solomon is expected to take over eventually.

“There’s no decision as to schedule. So we’re still in the ‘if’ and ‘when’ part of this conversation,” said Blankfein, who is 63 years old.

Proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services had recommended votes against the stock plan, concerned the company relies too much on stock-based compensation and produces a high “burn rate” that dilutes shareholders.

Goldman previously acknowledged its burn rate has been higher than rivals because its workforce has included relatively more investment bankers and traders and fewer bank tellers and salaried workers.

Based on shareholder feedback, the New York bank had proposed to continue its stock plan for three years but requested no new shares be issued. The bank is changing its business model toward more deposit taking and lending and less reliance on deal-making.

Reporting by David Henry in Jersey City, N.J. and by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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