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.

We have been saying for a while now that the U.S. Federal Reserve needs a better pair of glasses. Its ability to see even the obvious seems to have been severely challenged, beginning with Alan Greenspan’s era and carrying on with his successor, Ben S. Bernanke. Over a period of several years, the Fed failed to understand the destructive dimensions of the subprime trend or the need to regulate these faulty investment instruments. The New York Times details some of the background to this troubling performance in a major piece today. It paints an unsettling picture during a time of growing economic uncertainty and one that should prompt many observers to ask what else might the Fed be missing.

Here is an excerpt from the piece.

An examination of regulatory decisions shows that the Federal Reserve and other agencies waited until it was too late before trying to tame the industry’s excesses. Both the Fed and the Bush administration placed a higher priority on promoting “financial innovation” and what President Bush has called the “ownership society.”

Fed officials noticed the drop in standards as well. The Fed’s survey of bank lenders showed a steep plunge in standards that began in 2004 and continued until the housing boom fizzled in 2006.

But the regulators found themselves hopelessly behind the fast-changing practices of lenders. In a bid to set new standards for exotic mortgages, the agencies waited until December 2005 to propose a “guidance” to banks and thrifts. They did not agree on the final standard until September 2006.

Standards for Lenders

But the real shock to consumer groups — and even to some of the regulators — was that the new underwriting standards did not apply to subprime loans. Instead, they applied to only a fairly narrow array of exotic mortgages like “option ARMs.”