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.

Too many posts to handle? If you missed out on a great post from last month, here’s a quick digest of the top posts that you may want to check out:
  • Abraham Lincoln at 200 | The Towering Power of an Idea
    Posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2009 in Democracy – Comments: (0)
    He was a man who knew the virtues of humility and the vices of partisanship. He was a president who understood that the greatest deeds spring from the most resonant words. And as president, he actually wrote his own speeches. One of these gave voice to some of the most cogently eloquent ideas about governance and democracy ever penned. It is the idea of government of the people, by the people and for the people.
  • Davos: The Spectacle of the Desperately Discredited Attempting to Flee the Apocalypse of their Own Creation
    Posted on Monday, February 2nd, 2009 in Davos – Comments: (0)
    What the regulars at this fabled Swiss resort did not appear to grasp is that the breezier than usual air this year was the cold wind of change brought on by the bitter storm of betrayal and personal devastation that millions around the world have felt as a result of Wall Street’s greed and the failures of those expected to regulate it.
  • Has the SEC Caught the OSC’s Disease?
    Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009 in Hot Issues – Comments: (0)
    The world’s most powerful securities regulator has long called itself the investor’s advocate. Given its stunning failure over the Madoff scam and the latest scandal, involving R. Allen Stanford, it may be on its way to becoming known as the investor’s nightmare.For years, the Securities and Exchange Commission was regarded as one of the toughest securities cops in the world.
  • John Mack’s Bonus Reality Check
    Posted on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (0)
    We love what we do.  If you gave me no bonus in the best years, I would still be here.  John Mack,  CEO of Morgan Stanley, in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, February 11, 2009When Mr. Mack rejoined Morgan Stanley in June 2005, he was awarded stock worth $26 million on day-one, and a further $13 million in compensation and benefits for his first five months of work.
  • Outrage of the Week: The Faint Gesture of a CEO’s Sacrifice
    Posted on Friday, February 13th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (1)
    When bank CEOs tried to fall into line before an outraged Congressional committee, they were a little disingenuous about the true extent of the sacrifice they are bearing. It is widely held that in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, an absence of meaningful transparency has been a major culprit. Too much in the financial sector was done in a less than open and clear fashion, and today uncertainty in respect of the true state of these institutions remains a chief cause of uneasiness in the market.
  • Outrage of the Week: The Madness that is Becoming Citigroup…
    Posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (0)
    To say that one of the most storied banking names in the world has become a ward of the state is to diminish the extent of the reliance.  Citigroup has taken on the likeness of a crippled orphan in a Dickens classic, unable to stand on its own and unlikely to survive against the bitter winds of Darwinian, or in this case, free market, vicissitudes.
  • RIM’s $77 Million Black Eye
    Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2009 in Board of Directors – Comments: (0)
    We said a while back that there would be more surprises coming out of Research In Motion’s options backdating scandal.  A big one came today.Two years ago, I raised a number of concerns about Research In Motion’s corporate governance, describing it as a relic of the past.  As its backdating scandal unfolded, I expressed serious reservations about RIM’s board practices, the role of its directors in the backdating review, and, ultimately, the outcome of that internal investigation.
  • The Architect-in-Chief
    Posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 in Barack Obama – Comments: (0)
    In his first address to a joint session of Congress last night, President Barack Obama showed a craftsmanship with words that is possible only by political leaders who possess a unique appreciation for the promise of language and a rare gift for writing the ideas that have historically transformed civilizations.  America finally has an architect for its recovery, restoration and renewal.
  • The One-Way Road for Baseball’s Heroes
    Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 in Baseball – Comments: (0)
    We have talked occasionally on these pages about the game of baseball as a metaphor for life.  It has its rules, which are to be respected, otherwise nothing can be advanced.  (Wall Street please note.)  It has its ups and downs, which test the loyalty of fans. Some teams in New York and Chicago test it more than others.  And it has its heroes, who, at their best, quietly inspire in a way that transcends age and place in life and unites both tycoon and taxi driver in a common adulation.
  • We Have Our Own Fraud Scheme, Thank You..
    Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 in Hot Issues – Comments: (0)
    The Rogues’ Gallery of the increasingly tarnished modern Gilded Age is getting crowded. The Securities and Exchange Commission today accused Robert Allen Stanford, CEO of the Stanford Financial Group, of running a “massive ongoing fraud.” The SEC said the bank division of the group could not account for $8 billion it was supposed to have on deposit in Antigua. Mr. Stanford apparently could not be reached to offer any clarification.
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