CHICAGO-Members of a firm’s Board of Directors must change attitudes, according to a new research paper by Ferguson Partners Ltd., based here. From a discussion with 12 chairmen and lead independent directors from real estate, mortgage and related sectors, the study shows that boards need to get smarter about their product and more accountable for risk.

For the talk about lessons learned from the financial downturn, Ferguson interviewed executives such as BRE Properties Inc. chairman Irving Lyons III, FelCor chairman and co-founder Thomas Corcoran Jr. and Starwood Hotels chairman Bruce Duncan. The consensus from the 12, Bill Ferguson tells, was that board members should have hands-on industry experience, fewer numbers and an insistence on emergency planning.

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