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.

Fed’s dabbling with debt innovation in a time of over-leveraging is a decidedly subprime idea.

The Fed, which recently bailed out Wall Street over its subprime related credit blunders (see the testimony of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke before the Senate Banking Committee on April 3, 2008), is now looking at ways of becoming even more creative in the economy. The Wall Street Journal reports options being considered include:

Having the Treasury borrow more money than it needs to fund the government and leave the proceeds on deposit at the Fed; issuing debt under the Fed’s name rather than the Treasury’s; and asking Congress for immediate authority for the Fed to pay interest on commercial-bank reserves instead of waiting until a previously enacted law permits it in 2011.

One option we think should be on the Fed’s table is this: do less.

American governments, corporations and households are already mired in unparalleled levels of debt. The current credit fiasco is the result of an experiment in debt gone terribly wrong. It was made worse when Wall Street got into the picture and saw the unavoidable temptation of more subprime innovation. So far, in addition to record home foreclosures, mounting unemployment and staggering corporate losses, it has resulted in the collapse of Bear Stearns, which the Fed warned before the Senate last week nearly resulted in calamity for the world’s financial system. We will have further comments on the Fed’s Wall Street bailout in an upcoming post on these pages.

If we have learned anything from the efforts of these too-clever-by-half financial players to defy the laws of physics (i.e., risk) in the economy in recent months, it is that what is lauded as creative genius one day can quickly turn into a symbol of reckless folly the next. Americans don’t need a debt experimenting Fed in a time when excesses in risk and imagination have already created a masterpiece of chaos.

It can only be hoped that his recent experience with the limelight and the cheers of the Wall Street crowd has not turned the otherwise conservatively inclined, academically trained Ben Bernanke into the Angelo Mozilo of central bankers.