Ethics for Retirement Plan Professionals

October 29, 2012 ( – When considering ethical behavior, the question is not “what would you do?” but “what should you do?”

By Rebecca Moore | October 29, 2012
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Speaking at the 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.  

Weinstein’s second principle is “Make things better.” A plan adviser helping a plan sponsor that is struggling with loan administration is making things better. A plan sponsor that admits it used the wrong compensation to calculate a participant’s benefit and corrects the mistake, is making things better.  

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 and you may not do your best if you are sick or on medication.