Goldman Sachs really reined themselves in this year, for the sake of the populace. They set up a small-business loan program, donated $500 million to charity, and cut compensation significantly, giving stock-only awards to their top 30 employees and awarding their CEO a paltry $9 million in stock, all in the name of trying to look Not Evil, For a Change. As you might imagine, making sacrifices of this magnitude took a gargantuan amount of effort, considering that it was the firm's most profitable year in history, and thus the temptation to fill their trading floor with $100 bills and allow employees to dive into it like the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese was stronger than ever. And you know what? It didn't work. Everyone still thinks they're evil. So they've had enough. They're no longer going to compromise with regard to compensation just to please people, even if those people are their own shareholders.
From their SEC filing this morning:
Group Inc.’s board of directors has received several demand letters from shareholders relating to compensation matters, including demands that Group Inc.’s board of directors investigates compensation awards over recent years, take steps to recoup alleged excessive compensation, and adopt certain reforms. After considering the demand letters, Group Inc.’s board of directors rejected the demands.
That's right. Screw 'em. Although to be fair, some of the demands were outlandish, such as the very explicit one that told Lloyd Blankfein exactly where to put his bonus.