October 30, 2012
--- When considering ethical behavior, the
question is not “What would you do?”—it’s “What should you do?” ---
at the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) Annual
Conference, Dr. Bruce Weinstein, contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek and
author of “Ethical Intelligence,” said there are five life principles to follow
to behave ethically. The first principle is “Do no harm.” A plan sponsor can
harm participants by sharing confidential information or lying to a participant
about a mistake made in his account. A financial adviser can harm clients by
consciously overcharging them or recommending an action that is not appropriate
for their plans.
second principle is “Make things better.” A plan adviser helping a sponsor that
is struggling with loan administration is making things better, as is a plan
sponsor that admits it used the wrong compensation to calculate a participant’s
benefit and corrects the mistake.
Weinstein said ethically intelligent people also take time
every day to make things better for themselves, such as eating right or
exercising. As an example, he said staying home from work to rest when you have
the flu is not only taking care of yourself, but it is good for business
because you keep from making others sick. Plus, you may not perform your best if
you are sick or on medication.
third principle Weinstein shared is “Respect others.” This means keeping
confidential information confidential, telling the truth and keeping promises
made. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and make promises you intend to
keep,” Weinstein said.