Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Attempts to stall vital UN pension fund audit and how the Fund invests your money, 13 June 2018

From: broadcast-unhq
Sent: Wednesday, 13 June, 2018 10:26 AM
To: HQ_NY_Secretariat; UN_Funds; DPKO; OAH%UNHQ
Subject: UPDATE FROM UN STAFF UNIONS: Attempts to stall vital pension fund audit + how the fund invests your money
Dear Colleagues,
We would like to update you on important developments at the pension fund.

Audit raises serious questions on how our fund is governed and led

You may remember that last fall we called for a review of how the pension fund is governed, having seen first hand the July 2017 board session. The General Assembly heard our concerns and requested OIOS to conduct a comprehensive review of the governance structure and related process of the pension fund’s Board.
OIOS swung into operation and the draft audit has been shared with members of the Board.
While its contents are confidential for the moment, we look forward to it addressing the issues that we have brought to OIOS’ attention, such as:
· conflicts of interest between Board members and the fund’s CEO;
· A Board that meets just once a year, with no meetings of its Standing Committee that is supposed to meet to act in between;
· lack of direct representation for retirees;
· a weak performance evaluation system for the CEO;
· lack of transparency and spurious confidentiality rules that prevent Board members from seeking external expertise;
· retaliation against pension fund staff; and
· unjustified increase in senior level positions.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Vote for Lowell Flanders for the AFICS/NY Governing Board



2018 Elections to the AFICS/NY Governing Board (Association of Former International Civil Servants)

Dear AFICS/NY members,

Some of you have already received the ballot for the 2018 election. Others may still be on the way. Please note that you may vote for one or more, but not more than six candidates. If you vote for more than six, your vote will be INVALID. The deadline for submitting your ballot is 31 May 2018.

I urge all AFICS/NY members to get out the vote for Lowell Flanders. Lowell has been consistent and committed in his efforts to safeguard our Pension Fund.

See his full bio below. Call and email your AFICS/NY friends and colleagues and urge them to vote and to submit their ballots on time.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

UN Pension Fund - FAFICS (UN retiree organization) misinformation campaign continues, 29 March 2018

Letter from CAFICS (AFICS Canada) to its members

In this scenario, in the "opinion" of the CAFICS and AFICS/NY presidents, the UN Secretary-General took action to replace his Representative for Investments and, in effect, place the CEO in charge of the Fund on probation, based merely on "exaggerated....rumours and allegations concerning the management of operations and investments ."

A UN retiree raised today on FCUNS Facebook the issue of the need to reach out to UN retiree organizations worldwide (Associations of Former International Civil Servants) to keep them apprised of issues concerning the UN Pension Fund. This is important the recent letter from AFICS Australia indicating that they've not been kept informed by the FAFICS leadership (Federation of Associations of Former International Civll Servants). A more recent letter from CAFICS (AFICS Canada) also highlights the importance of these organizations receiving accurate and updated information. The pension blog has made efforts to contact those organizations for whom there's correct contact information. 

On misinformation concerning the backlog in pension payments alone, as mentioned in my notes of the pension information briefing conducted at UN HQ on 21 March 2018 by the UN Participant Representatives to the Pension Board, there's finally consensus, including from the Fund management that the total number of persons affected by the backlog in pension payments is 15,000, retirees and their survivors. But one would have no idea based on information coming from FAFICS and AFICS/NY.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Pension information session - finally, consensus on the backlog, 26 March 2018

Informal notes

Pension information session by UN Participant Representatives/members of the UN Staff Pension Committee

Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 1.15 to 2.30 pm, conference room F, UN Secretariat

Present:  Ms. Mary Abu-Rakabeh, Participant Representative UNSPC
· Mr. Ibrahima Faye, Participant Representative UNSPC
· Ms. Michelle Rockcliffe, Participant Representative UNSPC
. Ms. Bernadette Nyiratunga, Participant Representative UNSPC
· Mr. Ian Richards, President CCISUA and Participant Representative UNSPC
. Ms. Ndeye Aissatou Dieng-Ndiaye Participant Representative UNSPC

At the start of the information session, the UN Participant Representatives asked the audience to describe their particular concerns and questions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

UN Pension Fund: Past time for a professionalized Pension Board, 21 March 2018


There’s an information briefing scheduled for today,  Wednesday, 21 March 2018,  in conference room F,  by the UN participant representatives/members of the UN Staff Pension Committee.
A major question for the briefing is what remedial measures have been taken as called for by General Assembly resolution 72/262 to address serious problems in the Fund. 
The UN internal governance audit of the Pension Board, called for by the Assembly, is currently being conducted by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). 
Prospects for meaningful improvements in Fund management are slim without Pension Board reform and radical changes in its membership with a focus on professionalism, transparency, and accountability to optimize its oversight function. 
In the meantime, there’s a management vacuum in the Fund Secretariat, and the leadership of the UN retiree organization (FAFICS) continues its state of denial, as confirmed by a letter from the outgoing president of AFICS Australia dated 20 February 2018 addressed to members (link below).

Thursday, March 15, 2018

AFICS Australia: Reminder to FAFICS: your task is to defend UN retirees, 15 March 2018


Reminder to FAFICS: your task is to defend UN retirees

". . . the leadership of FAFICS [the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) in the last few years has not met the high benchmark of the past.  . . FAFICS neither asked its membership for data on these problems, nor took them up in any significant way.  . .The FAFICS leadership should be strongly reminded by its members that its task is to protect, defend and advance the rights of all UN retirees, not those of the CEO, no matter how nice a fellow he is personally. "

Monday, March 5, 2018

Open letter to Heidi Mendoza: UN retiree representation at the Pension Board, 5 March 2018

Open letter to Ms. Heidi Mendoza, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services, from UN Beneficiaries/Retirees of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund

5 March 2018

Ms. Heidi Mendoza
Office of Internal Oversight Services
United Nations

Subject: Audit of the governance of the Pension Board: Representation of retirees/beneficiaries on the Pension Board

Dear Ms. Mendoza,

We are writing with respect to paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution GA/RES/72/262 adopted on 24 December 2017 as follows:

“Requests the Secretary-General to entrust the Office of Internal Oversight Services with the conduct of a comprehensive audit of the governance structure of the Pension Board, including a review of the checks and balances between the Board and the leadership of the Fund, and requests the Office to submit a report with key findings to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session, to be considered in the context of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.”

Legitimacy of representation

As UN retirees (also known as beneficiaries) of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, our interests are purportedly represented on the Pension Board by four representatives and two alternates (for a total of six non-voting positions) from the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS).

Many UN retirees are not members of FAFICS, whose governance is controlled by members selected by independent and local Associations of former International Civil Servants (AFICS). Many retirees have no desire to become members of their local AFICS, nor should they be required to be a member of a particular federation in order to have their interests represented on the pension board of their pension fund, to which they have contributed their whole careers.  

By definition, one cannot be represented by an organization of which one is not a member, raising questions about the legitimacy of FAFICS as the representative of UN retirees on the Pension Board.