There is no substitute for a culture of integrity in organizations. Compliance alone with the law is not enough. History shows that those who make a practice of skating close to the edge always wind up going over the line. A higher bar of ethics performance is necessary. That bar needs to be set and monitored in the boardroom.  ~J. Richard Finlay writing in The Globe and Mail.

Sound governance is not some abstract ideal or utopian pipe dream. Nor does it occur by accident or through sudden outbreaks of altruism. It happens when leaders lead with integrity, when directors actually direct and when stakeholders demand the highest level of ethics and accountability.  ~ J. Richard Finlay in testimony before the Standing Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, Senate of Canada.

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is the longest continuously cited voice on modern governance standards. Our work over the course of four decades helped to build the new paradigm of ethics and accountability by which many corporations and public institutions are judged today.

The Finlay Centre was founded by J. Richard Finlay, one of the world’s most prescient voices for sound boardroom practices, sanity in CEO pay and the ethical responsibilities of trusted leaders. He coined the term stakeholder capitalism in the 1980s.

We pioneered the attributes of environmental responsibility, social purposefulness and successful governance decades before the arrival of ESG. Today we are trying to rebuild the trust that many dubious ESG practices have shattered. 


We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls and played key roles in regulatory milestones and reforms.

We’re working to advance the agenda of the new boardroom and public institution of today: diversity at the table; ethics that shine through a culture of integrity; the next chapter in stakeholder capitalism; and leadership that stands as an unrelenting champion for all stakeholders.

Our landmark work in creating what we called a culture of integrity and the ethical practices of trusted organizations has been praised, recognized and replicated around the world.


Our rich institutional memory, combined with a record of innovative thinking for tomorrow’s challenges, provide umatached resources to corporate and public sector players.

Trust is the asset that is unseen until it is shattered.  When crisis hits, we know a thing or two about how to rebuild trust— especially in turbulent times.

We’re still one of the world’s most recognized voices on CEO pay and the role of boards as compensation credibility gatekeepers. Somebody has to be.

It is bad enough that an insurance company, which should know a thing or two about risk, was so badly run that it needed to have the U.S. government nationalize it to the tune of an $85 billion purchase.  But when the White House admits that taxpayers may not even see their money returned, you have to wonder if everyone has become a drunken spendthrift sailor.   In answer to the concern that taxpayers may never see the money again, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino responded yesterday: “That’s true.”

Most people are smart enough to get a warranty when they buy a new washing machine.  When it’s other people’s money that the Fed can just “print,” as many of its supporters remind those of us concerned about the now $900 billion that has been paid out or committed as a result of the subprime credit disaster, the standard of care appears to be less rigorously observed.  And Republican administrations have always claimed to own the playbook on responsible fiscal management.

I suppose they may have caught the same disease as AIG, which, even though it was one of the world’s leading assessors and insurers of risk, still allowed risk to run out of control and drive the company into the ditch.   It will be interesting to see whether this latest White House admission that the $85 billion may have just been thrown away will make its way onto the campaign trail and into Congressional hearings.

Only the hapless and accident-prone administration of George W. Bush could make the Chinese and the Russians looks like prudent stewards of the public purse.