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.

After raising the alarm some months ago over what he termed a crisis of competitiveness facing Wall Street, and endorsing the recommendations of a blue ribbon committee on capital market reform, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson recently formed —you guessed it— yet another committee to look into the problem. Crisis? The only crisis is the chronic inability of Bush administration policy makers, eager to do Wall Street’s bidding, to acknowledge that higher standards of ethics, transparency and accountability serve the interests of North American investors and long-term confidence in capitalism. Wall Street has never liked reforms, whether they arrived in the form of the Pujo committee of the early 1900s, the Pecora commission of the 1930s or Sarbanes- Oxley in the 21st century. As Ferdinand Pecora wrote nearly 70 years ago, “Bitterly hostile was Wall Street to the enactment of the regulatory legislation.” It has not changed — thus the efforts to roll back and ease recent reforms in the guise of answering a competitive crisis.  Secretary Paulson, it will be recalled, came to office last June fresh from his post as CEO of Goldman Sachs.

The problem is that even Wall Street and its high-placed friends realize it is difficult, during a period of unprecedented earnings and bonuses, as well as record Dow Jones levels, to make such a case. Rather than just admitting their folly, another committee seems the best way for them to beat a fast retreat.