Morgan Stanley shareholders approve executive compensation plan

The corporate logo of financial firm Morgan Stanley is pictured on the company's world headquarters in New York, U.S. April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

PURCHASE, N.Y. (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley's MS.N executive compensation plan received the support of over 90 percent of its shareholders at the bank's annual meeting in its Purchase, New York wealth management headquarters on Monday.

Morgan Stanley avoided protests that dominated other Wall Street firm's annual meetings this year. JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N CEO Jamie Dimon faced activists during the bank's annual meeting last week who demanded answers about his role on a White House business council [mL2N1II153].

Morgan Stanley awarded Chief Executive James Gorman $22.5 million in 2016, up 7 percent from the year ago period.

The bank posted an 8 percent return on equity in 2016, moving closer to the 9 to 11 percent range which Gorman aims to achieve by the end of 2017.

“We’re confident about our targets for this year,” Gorman said. “We’re not going to start resetting targets at this point.”

Morgan Stanley shares soared 33 percent in 2016, the biggest gainer among the largest U.S. banks’ stocks. Gains were particularly strong after the Nov. 8 U.S. election, as investors bet that President Donald Trump would usher in an era of less regulation and more economic growth.

“What a difference a year makes,” banking analyst Mike Mayo said during the meeting, noting that Morgan Stanley shares stood at $26 last year during this time, compared to over $41 today.

Morgan Stanley shareholders also rejected an investor proposal from the AFL-CIO union that would prohibit stock awards from vesting for bank executives who resign for government service.

The practice has received additional scrutiny in recent months from investors and lawmakers after it was disclosed that former Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N president Gary Cohn would receive at least $100 million upon taking a job with the Trump administration.

Reporting by Olivia Oran in Purchase, New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama