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.

Maybe the fabled investment bank is getting to the point where only employees will be interested in holding the stock of a company whose chief products recently have been poor judgment and bad results

The firm lost a record $2.8 billion in the last quarter. Much more in write-downs has been registered. The stock stands not at a 52-week low or a five-year low, but at a low not seen since 2000. Colossally bad decisions have been made by this firm on several fronts, some leading to the recent ousting of top executives. With that background, it’s hard to see how the word “bonus” could even be whispered. But that’s exactly what has happened at this beleaguered icon of Wall Street. Reports indicate that Lehman plans to issue a mid-year stock bonus to its employees.

If you want a glimpse into the kind of thinking that has brought Lehman to the crisis it’s now facing, this is it. Shareholders are hurting; homeowners and families throughout the U.S. are experiencing economic pain unseen perhaps in generations. Job losses and cutbacks, from big auto and Bear Stearns to major airlines and Starbucks, are mounting fast. But at Lehman’s, it’s Christmas in July.

Running a business the old fashioned way by building value and creating sensible products that stand the test of time seems to have become passé on Wall Street. So, too, has the idea that there are times when some sacrifice on the part of management and employees is justified, especially when the rest of the country is suffering. This, it would seem, is the predictable result of the kind of self-aggrandizing leaders and disengaged boards that have also come to be synonymous with Wall Street.

Maybe Lehman employees should get more stock, because the way the firm is going, you’d have to wonder what sane investor would put their confidence in a company whose chief products in recent months have been poor judgment and bad results.