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.

If you see a lot of people going around with neck collars soon, it’s probably because they got whiplash when reading today that the top 50 hedge fund managers last year earned $29 billion. The number-one winner, John Paulson, made $3.7 billion in 2007. If the U.S. Treasury issued them, and it may have to the way things are going for some on Wall Street, Mr. Paulson would have been handed 3,700 one-million dollar bills. That’s enough to run New York Presbyterian Hospital, one of the nation’s largest, or the City of Boston for 18 months. It would provide tuition for four years at a flagship public university like U.C.L.A or Penn State for at least 74,000 students, or a year’s worth of life-saving clean bottled water for 2.5 million children in Africa.

There was a time when multi-billion dollar figures were connected mostly with the creation of lofty projects and the operation of large organizations. Now, in the modern Gilded Age that obligingly continues for a happy few, they have become a number that appears on one individual’s annual paycheck. Not a bad situation considering the view expressed by the Fed and other U.S. government officials that had they not intervened recently in the Bear Stearns implosion and come up with their generous bailout plan giving JPMorgan Chase a helping hand, capitalism, or at least Wall Street as we know it, would have faced certain calamity.

Speaking of Wall Street, there must be something popular there about the sum of $29 billion. It is the same amount the Fed came up with to bail out Bear Stearns/Wall Street. It seemed like Jamie Dimon had to go to a lot of work to get the Fed to come up with the money, staying up all night over the weekend a while back. All he really had to do was talk to some of his hedge fund friends. They don’t appear to have a problem coming up with $29 billion -in just one year.

If only the poor, the uninsured or the struggling to survive each day in Africa and elsewhere could be so smart -or at least worked on Wall Street.