Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UN Pension Board Chair attempts to discredit the UN Staff Associations, 17 August 2017



In her letter to the UN Administration, circulated today by AFICS/NY by email to its members, the new Chair of the Pension Board alleges “irresponsibility”, and much worse, on the part of the UN Staff Associations in connection with a UN Broadcast dated 2 August 2017 titled “What happened at this year’s meeting of the Pension Fund Board.”
The new Chair, Annick van Houtte, takes to task the UN Staff Associations for raising issues in the broadcast of interest to participants and beneficiaries concerning audit reports presented to the Board (no doubt among them OIOS audit report 2017/2 that detailed serious managerial deficiencies in the Fund Secretariat), extension of the contract of the Chief Executive Officer and blocking of elected participant representatives from participation at the Board.
Finally, she wants the "issuance of a broadcast correcting the misinformation" and notes that she's "available to contribute to the text." Further, she wants the use of the UN IT infrastructure blocked for future "misinformation" about the 64th session of the Board, or the Fund. 
The Chair's letter is clearly just the latest in blatant political maneuvering concerning the Fund. Bear in mind that the CEO pushed and succeeded in having the annual Board meeting moved from New York (where it was scheduled in the UN schedule of meetings) to Vienna because of political calculations.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

UN Staff Unions to Pension Board: we're concerned about management of the Fund, 6 August 2017


Submitted on Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Mr Chairman, Distinguished members of the Board, Observers, Pension Fund staff, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our two staff Federations thank you for this opportunity to convey to you some of the views and concerns of our constituents: the staff members of the United Nations common system. An exchange such as this enables the Board to hear first-hand how staff view things: views, we trust, that will be heeded in the final decisions on important matters being considered at this session.

First, we wish to congratulate you, Madam, on your election to chair this session of the Board. We shall all benefit from your guidance. Secondly, we wish to place on record our deepest appreciation and genuine gratitude to the Pension Fund staff. We respect their efforts and commitment throughout the period under review.

Of the many issues before us, we wish to align ourselves with those Board members, for whom resolving the problems surrounding the late payment of benefits and withdrawal settlements to new retirees is a matter of pre-eminent importance. Although the backlog may have decreased, things are still not running at the normal level of operations.

The staff federations firmly believe that the Board needs to reconsider ways and means of rectifying promptly this unacceptable hardship on new retirees. We should build on the firm steps that the Board took towards restoring the Fund’s credibility at its previous session. If the Board succeeds in bringing about the swift processing of the backlog in initial pension payments to new retirees, it will have accomplished much more than any communications strategy. Furthermore, the Board will have complied with the instruction in General Assembly resolution 70/248 - and I quote - "to take appropriate steps to ensure the fund addresses the causes of such delays". A plea that was repeated in resolution 71/265 on the United Nations pension system.

UN Secretary-General Guterres: Change the Pension Fund CEO now, 6 August 2017


The saga of managerial deficiencies in the UN Pension Fund isn’t new. It’s been festering for years. Recently, the Secretary-General decided not to renew the three-year contract of the Representative of the Secretary-General (RSG) for Investments, Carol Boykin, and advertised her post.

That’s good news for the assets side of the Fund which has been plagued by chronic underperformance under Boykin’s tenure.

So far we haven’t been as fortunate on the liabilities (Secretariat) side of the Fund where CEO Arvizu continues to lobby hard to save his job.

Last month, the Pension Board took up the issue of the extension of Arvizu’s five-year contract which expires in December 2017. He was pushing for promotion to the level of Under-Secretary-General as well.

The Participant Representatives labored long and hard at the Pension Fund meeting to get agreement on the following recommendation (link to the full UN Staff Unions article on Facebook below):

“The reduction to three years of the second term, with no possibility of renewal, installation of special oversight measures, a search committee to find a successor and a limit on the CEO’s ability to start new projects without Board approval, is the result of a long and difficult session. It nevertheless sends a strong signal.”

UN Staff Unions: UN Pension Board recommends reduced three-year term for the CEO, 5 August 2017

UN Pension Board recommends reduced 
three-year term for the CEO



(Full article and link to the UN Staff Unions Facebook page below)

The annual meeting of the UN Pension Board has just concluded and we would like to inform you of the outcome. It is important to know that UN staff representatives numbered 4 of the 33 board members. In addition, a statement by the staff federations is attached.
Negative audit reports: The Board considered a number of audit reports from OIOS and the Board of Auditors. Some were quite damning, raising among other things non-cooperation by the Fund’s management with auditors, incorrect figures supplied to the actuaries resulting in the actuarial report having to be dropped, and false information provided to UN staff on the size of the payment backlog.

Extension of the CEO: In view of the above, and taking into account the serious payment backlog, lack of contingency planning and poor staff-management relations at the fund, we worked with others on the Board for the non-renewal of CEO Sergio Arvizu for another five years. The reduction to three years of the second term, with no possibility of renewal, installation of special oversight measures, a search committee to find a successor and a limit on the CEO’s ability to start new projects without Board approval, is the result of a long and difficult session. It nevertheless sends a strong signal. However, the Board’s decision on renewal is only a recommendation to the Secretary-General who alone must make the final decision.

Dear UN Pension Fund Board Members, the CEO must go, 5 August 2017

Letter to the Members of the Board of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund -- the Chief Executive Officer Must Go

22 July 2017

Dear Board Members of the UNJSPF,

Subject: Consideration of extension of the CEO’s contract

The Pension Board is expected, at its sixty-fourth session (24 to 28 July 2017 in Vienna) to take up the issue of the extension of CEO Sergio Arvizu’s five-year contract which expires in December 2017.

According to last year’s report of the Board (A/71/9) an Evaluation Panel consisting of the bureau of the sixty-third session presented to the Board a positive assessment of Arvizu’s performance for the 2014-2015 cycle. The Board took note of the Panel’s evaluation and approved its conclusions and recommendations. Following an effort to recommend renewal of Arvizu’s contract a year in advance, the Board agreed to defer the matter to this year’s meeting.

Since the conclusion of last year’s meeting, reports of the Board of Auditors, ACABQ, an OIOS audit, and a General Assembly resolution, contain details of managerial deficiencies in the Fund Secretariat under Arvizu’s watch. These reports must be included in any objective and thorough assessment of his performance. Highlights of these reports are presented below and excerpted in the attached annex to this letter for ease of reference.

Board members may recall that the Board of Auditors’ report (A/71/5/Add.16, paragraphs 9, 11, and 12) found functional deficiencies in the implementation of IPAS and in client servicing, delayed entitlement and benefit payments, and a related lack of a system to follow up on missing documentation.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

UN Pension Fund seeking new head of investments of assets, 23 July 2017

(Representative of the Secretary-General for Investments)

Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF)

The Secretariat of the United Nations presents its compliments to the Permanent Missions to the United Nations and has the honour to request the nomination of candidates for the position of representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.
            The Assistant Secretary-General reports directly to the Secretary-General.  The responsibilities and functions of the Assistant Secretary General as stipulated in the Terms of Reference in the Annex of General Assembly Resolution 68/247 B include: 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dear Chairman of the Pension Board: response from UN participant representatives, 13 July 2017

Subject: Re: Message from UN participant representatives to the Pension Fund / Message des repr√©sentants des participants de l'ONU au Fonds de Pension

Dear Chair,
Thank you very much for your message, which we have read with great care.

Allow us to start by reiterating our thanks to those who voted for us and we look forward to taking part in this year’s meeting of the Board. 

We are pleased to inform you that we take our responsibilities seriously, including the expectation from our constituents to hold the Fund’s fiduciaries accountable for their performance.
To this end, we are heartened by your point that:

“Usually the participant’s representatives gather suggestions/comments from their constituency (participants/staff members) of their employing organizations and bring these issues to the attention of the respective SPC, who decides which of these issues to be brought to the Board.  You may wish to review past Board reports in order to get an idea of issues addressed by the Board in the past and decisions that have been made. They are available through the Fund’s portal for Board documents.”