The move is no doubt a direct response to all the heat the firm has received in recent months after it was revealed that Lloyd I Ain't Firing Blankfein and the rest of the golden guys and gals of Wall Street would be banking some $5 billion in incentive compensation for their efforts in 2009. It also comes, coincidentally (and conspicuously), a day after a new tax on banking bonuses in the U.K. was announced.
I can only assume that folks like J.P. Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon and Morgan Stanley's CEO-to-be James Gorman are wondering if (and worrying that) their boards will want to call a similar vote. Indeed, it's hard to believe that other banks will not be forced to follow Goldman and instill similar restrictions on bonuses, so look for similar restrictions on incentive pay at other firms to follow before the ball drops on another year. (And poor Bank of America: Just when it appeared that it would be free to offer a new CEO more than the pay czar-restricted half a million, now that its TARP days are numbered, Goldman's new pay plan comes in and hampers BofA's plan to offer bushels of cash for the chance to succeed outgoing chief Kenny Lewis.)
Goldman Sachs' board of directors passed a proposal that will result in the top 30 executives at the bank receiving all of their 2009 bonuses in stock instead of cash (and the stock will not be redeemable for another five years).