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.

Having brought the economy of the United States, and a good part of the world, to the brink of a global depression, the American banking system has now unleashed a second scandal.  This one involves an epidemic of cheating and lying in court filings by those handling home repossessions.  It has been happening for many years.  It has worked very well for the banks.  And it would have continued to do so, had a few judges not decided that, in an economy so decisively affected by what happens in the housing market, it might be a good idea if bank representatives were actually telling the truth.  What a novel idea.

Evidence increasingly shows that in tens of thousands of cases, the bank employees signing foreclosure documents had no training and possessed no knowledge of the underlying facts.  They were just there to sign their names in order to give a veneer of procedural fairness to the process.  In one case, an employee of GMAC has admitted under oath that he typically prepared 400 foreclosures a day and that, contrary to what was attested in his sworn statements, he did not know any of the details about the cases.  Once again, as with the toxic investment vehicles they created, it appears that much of the ethically challenged banking sector wasn’t really interested in either the truth or in the more far-reaching consequences of their actions.  They were interested only in cutting corners and making more money.  Their victims this time are not investors and bank shareholders, although many are now beginning to feel unpleasant effects as financial stocks plunge with the deepening extent of the scandal.  It is past and future homeowners who are the object of the bank’s miscreancy.

In most states, bank repossessions have stopped while companies like GMAC, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and others, along with government regulators and the predictable cast of lawyers, look at fixing the mess that has been created.  At this point, any further drag on the housing market may well prompt lawmakers and the Fed to look at another stimulus — perhaps even a second TARP — which will obviously be paid for again with taxpayer money.  The previous bailout was made necessary because of widespread banking improprieties.  If there is another one, it will be in no small part because the banking industry in America still has a problem with truth and accuracy.  It is never a good situation when these virtues are found in short supply, especially in banks.  Their absence reflects an industry that still does not get it and prefers to place immediate benefits over ethical conduct and a demand for profits and bonuses ahead of decency and common sense.

It is an industry that continues to be well deserving of the outrage of Americans.