If there is one group of people who are expected to exercise very high levels of honesty, then it has to be that of retirement benefits schemes administrators. As you may be aware, the world is moving away from the system where employers were simply expected to pay lifelong pensions to their retired employees. The modern world seems to be more in favor of contributory retirement schemes. Those are schemes where the employees and the employers make contributions, with the money being invested, so that it can benefit the employees upon retirement. The people who manage such money are the ones who are referred to as the ‘administrators of retirement benefits schemes’. And very high standards of honesty are expected of such people.
The first reason as to why the administrators of retirement benefits schemes need to be utterly honest simply has to do with the vast amounts of money they manage. I often read the articles that are posted on the retirement section of the New York Times. Looking at the figures quoted in such articles (in terms of the monies that are managed by various retirement benefits schemes), you come to the conclusion that these are indeed very huge sums of money. And if the people who manage them happen to be lacking in honesty, then there is potential for great harm to be done. Firstly, the people whose money is managed (or, as it were, mismanaged) by the retirement benefits schemes would suffer a great deal. Imagine the pain of a senior citizen, who worked for a company like UPS for a lifetime, going to the Upsers website, and logging in (as a retiree) — only to learn that there is a problem, and he won’t be getting his monthly pension check… Needless to say, it can be devastating. Secondly, the society at large would suffer a great deal, if the management of the retirement benefits schemes was to fall into the hands of people who lack honesty. We had a taste of this in the 2008 financial crisis: where mismanagement in one sector (the financial sector) had a ripple effect in the entire economy. Mismanagement of the retirement benefits schemes would have a similar, if not worse, impact.
The second reason as to why the administrators of retirement benefits schemes need to be utterly honest has to do with the social impact of their work. It becomes clear that if the administrators of retirement benefits schemes were to fail in terms of honesty, we would start seeing hordes of senior citizens moving around in desperate circumstances, some homeless, some begging, some ailing… you get the picture. And that would be a huge shame on the society at large — like if, for instance, someone who spends his or her entire life in, say, the UPS or DHL parcel handling floors, ends up desperate in old age, on account of the money meant for his pension having been mismanaged. For these reasons, then, the people who manage retirement benefits schemes have to be utterly honest and diligent in their work.