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.

outrage 12.jpgLate last Friday, in an intervention before the United States Supreme Court, steps were taken to make it more difficult for investors to sue companies in fraud cases. You might expect that such a move would come from a business lobby group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the Business Roundtable, for instance. Wrong. It came from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed an amicus brief with the court urging the creation of an even higher threshold for shareholder litigation. Many observers, including this one, fear this is the beginning of a calculated shift to roll back Enron-era investor protections. It is said by those who have read the filing that it looks more like a litigant’s advocacy than a regulator’s brief. Readers will recall our views here on the proposal by a group known as the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which included corporate directors and senior executives in the accounting industry, to make it more difficult for investors to sue.

Now, if their motto were, say, the corporation’s advocate or the hedge fund’s advocate, this would still be hard to take. But their motto is “the investor’s advocate,” which by the way, was the creation of William O. Douglas who served as the SEC’s second chairman under FDR. Many of its chairmen have taken that motto seriously. This stunt turns it into a parody. Which makes the move by the SEC to limit shareholder recourse –oh, and also they want to make it harder to sue accounting firms, just to add insult to injury– the Outrage of the Week.