Insidious greed notwithstanding, corporate governance is the Achilles heel of U.S. public companies. The analyst research scandal, the collapse of Enron and WorldCom and alleged illegal trading practices in the mutual fund industry all could have been prevented had there been sound corporate governance teams in place.

But it's not just the crooks and scandals that pose a problem for the financial services industry. It's more than just a $15,000 dog umbrella stand. It goes way beyond that. It is about the collective mindset to win at all costs that exists in corporate America. Top-level executives have been given rock-star status in this country to the point where a person's success is measured by how much money they make. That creates an environment in which even decent individuals will compromise their integrity to achieve their goals.

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