It is the season for reviews of executive compensation packages, and some have gone better than others. Morgan Stanley recent meeting of shareholders was notable for its short and sweet nature. Lasting only 20 minutes, with no audience questions, the meeting has been unlike any since before the financial crisis, according to reports.
The 2013 executive compensation plan for the investment bank has been approved by 92 percent of the stockholders, according to The Wall Street Journal. That figure trumps last year’s vote, which clocked in at 82 percent approval. CEO James Gorman made a total of $18 million — about double what he received the year before. But, clearly, shareholders think he deserves it as the bank made some progress last year.
Indeed, Gorman noted how much progress the bank has made, and how much more it has to go to post super stable numbers. While it trails Goldman Sachs in terms of return on equity targets, the bank did post four straight quarters of profits last year, and most recently reported that its first-quarter profits of this year jumped 56 percent.
The New York Times notes that part of the lack of activity at the shareholder meeting this year is due to the absence of Harry Korba — one of the most outspoken investors and questioners of Morgan Stanley executives — who died in December 2013. It quotes Gorman on Korba’s participation:
“Harry attended these meetings over many years, was a gracious and enthusiastic shareholder who hailed from the town of Yonkers, N.Y., and had an extraordinary facility for numbers and a great loyalty to our firm.”
Korba’s absence apparently did change the atmosphere of the shareholder meeting, at least by making it more silent. And the meeting went without interruption or shareholder participation other than voting. The shareholders also voted to re-elect all of the board directors of the bank. Whether or not the company can keep up its success, and promise to fulfill what shareholders expect from the company’s work on return on equity targets is yet to be seen.