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Goldman Sachs CEO Wants Reform Of Exec Pay

The chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Tuesday called for new standards on how Wall Street executives are compensated and new regulation of large hedge funds and private equity funds.

Lloyd Blankfein said lessons from the financial crisis include the need to "apply basic standards to how we compensate people in our industry" and to set forth specific guidelines on pay.

Blankfein also said unregulated pools of capital that are big enough to potentially burden the financial system in a crisis should be put under "some degree" of government oversight. Those would include large hedge and private equity funds.

Throwing regulatory reins around hedge funds - which largely escape government supervision and draw hundreds of millions of dollars from pension funds, charities, university endowments and wealthy individuals - is a central notion in efforts to revamp the nation's financial rule book spurred by the global economic crisis.

The Obama administration recently presented a plan to Congress that would require larger hedge funds, and other private pools of capital like private equity and venture capital funds, to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such a move would open their books to federal inspection.

Blankfein spoke to a conference of the Council of Institutional Investors, a group representing public, corporate and union pension funds that together have an estimated $3 trillion in assets.

"Much of the past year has been deeply humbling for my industry," he said, acknowledging it could take years to rebuild the investor confidence lost in the crisis caused partly by industry practices that appear "self-serving and greedy in hindsight."

Last November Blankfein and six other Goldman Sachs executives announced they were not going to accept cash bonuses, stocks or options for 2008 beyond their salaries.

In 2008 Blankfein earned $600,000 in salary and $277,828 in stock rewards deferred from prior years, according to Goldman Sach's financial statement released last month.

Although Blankfein's salary as CEO was the same in 2007, his compensation that year also included a $25,985,474 bonus, $25,013,753 in stocks, $16,440,188 in options, $780 for change in pension value, and $382,157 in other categories. His total compensation in 2007 was $70,324,352.

New York City-based Goldman Sachs said recently it hopes to return its $10 billion investment from the government under the financial bailout program as soon as possible.

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