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McClatchy-Tribune  05/16/2014 3:32 PM ET
Goldman Sachs brings its shareholders meeting to Irving [Fort Worth Star-Telegram :: ]

May 16--IRVING -- Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs came to North Texas for its 2014 annual shareholders meeting Friday, the second straight year it has ventured outside its New York City home to promote its impact on the overall economy.

It was a quick affair, held at Goldman's Irving offices just off Texas 114, which house its Realty Management Division and about 650 employees. A welcome by Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasn't all that much shorter than the roughly 30 minutes taken for the official portion of the meeting, overseen by CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Perry told the audience of more than 100 shareholders, employees and executives that he was heading to New York on Sunday to recruit more corporate relocations, and extended an invitation to Goldman to move as well.

"OK, I'm staying," Blankfein joked after Perry reviewed the state's development of additional cultural facilities since 2001, when it was unsuccessful landing Boeing Co.

There were no questions from shareholders of the company, which earned $8 billion last year on revenues of $34 billion and total assets of $911 billion. Shareholders supported Goldman's executive compensation package in a "say on pay" proposal, and soundly rejected a shareholder proposal calling for more board representation of environmental, social and corporate governance interests.

Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Blankfein said about 25 percent of Goldman's employment is now located outside of its New York-New Jersey base. That includes Salt Lake City, its second-largest U.S. employment center, Irving, its third-largest, and overseas offices. It had about 10 percent outside the New York area in 2007.

That figure might not swell as rapidly as it has in recent years, but "it won't get lower," Blankfein said. He said lower costs are attractive, but the geographical spread also brings greater access to talent, such as its Bangalore office in India, and diversifies the company's operations in the event of disruption.

Goldman's presence in Irving dates to 1991, when it set up a joint venture named Archon that bought distressed assets in the wake of the savings and loan crisis in the late 1980s. It bought out its partner in 2000.

Goldman Sachs also has a small office in Dallas with private wealth advisers and one investment banker, and about 60 employees in Houston. On Thursday, it announced the start of its 10,000 Small Businesses education and funding program in Dallas.

Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay


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