More Morgan Stanley shareholders approved the firm’s executive compensation package for top managers after Chief Executive Officer James Gorman took a 25 percent pay cut and received no cash bonus.
Investors voted 95 percent in favor of the policy in a non- binding resolution, up from about 79 percent last year, according to a preliminary tally at the bank’s annual meeting today in Purchase, New York. Corporate Secretary Martin Cohen was interrupted in announcing the tally by about 20 protesters who engaged in an organized chant about executive pay and income inequality.
ISS Proxy Services USA and Glass-Lewis & Co., proxy advisory companies, endorsed the New York-based firm’s pay plans after ISS last year recommended shareholders vote against it. Citigroup Inc. (C:US) shareholders rejected an executive pay plan last month, a first among the six largest U.S. banks, amid criticism it lets CEO Vikram Pandit collect millions of dollars in rewards too easily.
Gorman, 53, received a $10.5 million package for 2011, down from $14 million for 2010, after the bank’s shares dropped 44 percent last year. He got $5.04 million in restricted stock, $1.94 million in shares tied to company performance, $800,000 in salary and a deferred cash bonus of $2.72 million that can be clawed back.
The meeting was held in an auditorium at the headquarters of Morgan Stanley (MS:US)’s wealth-management unit. The protesters were allowed in as shareholders, and some asked questions or made statements about income inequality, the rising cost of education, the firm’s inability to create jobs in New York City and unethical behavior by the firm.
Gorman said he took umbrage with the assertion that the firm had engaged in unethical behavior, saying any past mistakes were bad business decisions rather than a breach of ethics. He didn’t answer a question about whether regulatory fines meant the bank was too big to manage.
Each of this year’s 13 director (MS:US) nominees received at least 93 percent of the votes, according to the preliminary tally.
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