Goldman Sachs may claw back pay of Blankfein, Solomon over 1MDB affair

Goldman Sachs may claw back pay of Blankfein, Solomon over 1MDB affair


The board set Solomon’s total compensation package for 2018 at $US23 million, a $US2 million increase from the prior year. Blankfein’s total compensation for 2018 was $US20.5 million.

The filing seemed to be aimed, in part, at Blankfein. The board said it would “defer its decision” on some awards for its long-term incentive plan for retired executives until more information was known about the investigation.

The forfeiture and clawback provision could cover up to five top current and former executives at the bank, said a person familiar with the matter but not authorised to speak publicly on board matters. The holdback on the long-term compensation plan could apply to up to three retired executives, including Blankfein, Michael Sherwood and Michael Evans, the person said.

The provision goes beyond the board’s general power to claw back compensation from executives, which was adopted in 2015.

Alan Johnson

CEO David Solomon could have some of his compensation clawed back. Simon Dawson

The inclusion of a provision specifically regarding 1MDB is a sign of seriousness of the investigation, which has also led to federal charges againstfinancier Jho Low, who remains at large.Toward the end of last year, Goldman began setting aside money for a potential resolution of the investigation by federal prosecutors and bank regulators, as well as authorities in Malaysia.

Under most compensation plans, top executives are awarded a bonus of a certain size but then receive it in parts over the following three to five years. This system allows boards to claw back pay before the executive receives it, in cases where missteps have occurred.

But compensation specialists said it was rare for a board to announce that it might take back pay for a specific cause.

“It’s very unusual,” said Alan Johnson of Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting firm. “They wanted to send a signal.”

The New York Times

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