Setting Ethical Expectations for Pension Fund Trustees

Another week brings an additional story of greed leading to illegal and unethical actions. According to an article in the Plain Dealer, Nicholas DelBrocco recently was charged with providing bribes to former labor executive Robert Peto in exchange for DelBrocco’s firm receiving “millions of dollars worth of investment funds and consulting business from the regional carpenter’s union Peto once headed.” Peto served as a trustee for the union pension, annuity, and target advancement funds, and frequently voted to place business with DelBrocco’s firm.

Although “Peto has not been charged with a crime,” he likely knew that accepting these gifts could potentially impact his independence when casting votes in connection with DelBrocco’s firm. Just because an action is not prohibited by a law does not mean such actions are ethical. Which raises this question: What can pensions or foundations do to set appropriate ethical expectations for their trustees?

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