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.

federal-reserve-2008-transcripts-1393003908376-master495Just released transcripts from 2008 show that the U. S. Federal Reserve misjudged the extent of the looming financial crisis that was unfolding, as we feared.  In 2007, we began to express serious reservations about whether the Fed knew what it was doing.  That theme continued on these pages in a series of postings under the Fed category over the ensuing years of the worst recession since the Great Depression.  We offered a glimpse of what was ahead in November of 2008.

There will be many casualties before the full extent of the great unfolding 21st century credit debacle is over. There have already been a few CEOs who are taking a very well paid early retirement. More will follow. Some companies will not survive. The stock market will continue to experience unsettling jolts, like its more than 600 point drop this week. But, unfortunately, it will be the ordinary consumer —not the central bankers or the treasury luminaries or the credit agency raters or the boardroom directors who permitted this fiasco and were blind to its early signs— who will suffer most from the turmoil and setbacks that lie ahead.

The transcripts also show that Timothy F. Geithner, then President of the New York Federal Reserve, was also viewing the world through rose-coloured glasses, rejecting any suggestion that the big banks, whose CEOs comprised his board of directors, were under-capitalized.  We broke new ground in 2007 and 2008 in our analysis of the governance failures and weaknesses of the New York Fed. We were the first to bring these issues to public attention, and continue to view those failures as a major, and still much underreported, factor in the financial meltdown that shook the world.

Years later, these continue to be among the most popular postings at Finlay ON Governance.  This coda, of sorts, on the great economic crisis of the 21st century prompts us to make some further observations about its cause and their continuing effects.