As extensive risk-taking, ethical compromises and regulatory failures have wreaked havoc across global markets, the finance profession has come under attack from investors, government officials and taxpayers. The boom years of the past decade spurred poor decisions and unnecessary risk-taking by financial institutions and Wall Street, resulting in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The 2008 financial crisis prompted the need for responsible financial management in business today.

The Beard Institute advocates that all organizations must practice responsible financial management to sustain long-term growth and profitability. The Beard Institute focuses on four areas related to responsible financial management:

Effective Corporate Governance

Responsible financial management must be practiced and promoted at the board and executive management levels. The Beard Institute seeks to create a dialogue among the board and executive management communities to capture and address key corporate governance issues. The Beard Institute develops insights on building complete risk management processes that leverage institutional expertise, while recognizing the comprehensive responsibilities of the board and executive management.

Ethics and Regulatory Compliance in the Financial Services Industry

The 2008 financial crisis will lead to increased complexity in regulatory compliance, and investment firms will have to assume greater regulatory burden at a significantly increasing cost. As the financial crisis is sorted out, it is expected that additional proposals for regulation will continue to circulate in Washington, DC and many state capitals. The Beard Institute seeks to broaden the participation in this dialogue and prepare professionals and students with a comprehensive understanding and respect for regulatory compliance.

Socially Responsible Investing Practices

Socially responsible investment (SRI) is building momentum across global capital markets as investors consider the impact that their role as shareholders have on corporate behavior. From shareholder activism activities and microfinance to carbon risk measurement, the range of SRI activities continues to expand. The Beard Institute serves as an educator and communicator of SRI trends for the investment community.

Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is a national priority that is partially fulfilled at best. Research has indicated that there is an abundance of financial content developed, but execution and delivery is lacking in communities across America. The Beard Institute seeks to provide adults and students with financial literacy education to create a community that practices responsible financial management.