Nuns Take on Goldman Sachs
Long before a resigning mid-level executive wrote a scathing op-ed confirming Goldman Sachs’s toxic culture of greed, the religious community was confronting the firm’s immoral culture.
In 2010 and 2011, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility successfully petitioned for the right to bring questions about the firm’s outrageous executive compensation structure to a vote at Goldman Sachs shareholders’ meeting.
But despite ICCR’s past successes and the recent spotlight on Goldman Sachs “greed is good” philosophy, the Security and Exchange Commission denied ICCR’s 2012 request to bring questions on executive pay to a vote at the next shareholders’ meeting. From Reuters:
This year, the group, including the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, again sought to have its proposal voted on by shareholders. But for the first time, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sided with Goldman, which argued it had already complied with the request. An official at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a Jewish group that is the lead filer of the proposal, said she was somewhat surprised that the agency rejected its request given that the op-ed touched on exactly the issues it had hoped to address. The 2012 proposal would have asked for an independent board to review the risks, including reputational risks, associated with high executive compensation levels and disclose the findings to shareholders.
The firm may have stopped religious groups from bringing this issue to a shareholder vote in 2012, but there’s no doubt people of faith (and some very tenacious nuns) will continue to shine a light on the irresponsible, immoral practices of banks like Goldman Sachs.