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Better boardroom behaviour

If the job of a board is to serve the long-term interests of shareholders then few directors of financial services firms could hold their heads up high following the crisis.

A report last year by the Group of Thirty, an international body of leading financiers and academics, found that weaknesses in board behaviour, rather than structural problems, were largely to blame for the widespread governance failings.

"Any arrangement can fail but failures are more often caused by undesirable behaviour and values than bad structures and forms," stated the report, entitled Toward Effective Governance of Financial Institutions. It therefore recommended a greater focus on people, leadership and values, rather than strict adherence to a particular set of governance structures and frameworks.