Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Highlights of today's pension briefing by the New York-based UN participant representatives to the UN Pension Board, 18 July 2018

Note that UN participant representatives represent active UN staff on the Pension Board. UN retirees have had no such briefing from FAFICS, our purported representatives to the Board, on policy positions they intend to take at the upcoming 65th session of the Pension Board in Rome (starting on 26 July)

Highlights from today’s pension briefing by the New York-based UN participant representatives to the Pension Board, 1.15 pm, ECOSOC Chamber

18 July 2018

Ibrahim Fay gave a summary of activities and outreach undertaken by the UN participant representatives in the past year, in keeping with their fiduciary responsibility to keep participants informed.

He noted that, in addition, several meetings had been held with the Deputy CEO of the Fund Secretariat to discuss the backlog, including sustainable means of addressing the increased number of separations; and with the Representative of the Secretary-General for Investments to discuss the Fund’s ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) policy, and other matters. 

UN participant representatives had participated in the Staff Pension Committee’s meetings on disability benefits and had requested that regular additional meetings be held to focus on governance matters. There are conflicting interests between UN family members and other members of the SPC and most of the backlog affected UN family members.

The issue of conflict of interest pertaining to two Fund staff members (himself and Ms. Rockcliffe) who had won their UN Administrative Tribunal cases was reopened, in order to have a more streamlined policy to manage the issue. The need to align Pension Board rules with GA-adopted regulations was also discussed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Calling on FAFICS members: Vote for effective leaders, 17 July 2018

Open letter to FAFICS (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) and associate members

17 July 2018

Dear FAFICS members and associate members,

As you know, the AFICS/NY governing board has acceded to the FAFICS president’s request for support of her candidacy for the position of FAFICS vice president, in the upcoming election on 20 July 2018.  I am writing to request that you kindly consider the following information in casting your vote. 
You may recall the General Assembly’s request to the Secretary-General to entrust the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) with a comprehensive audit of the governance structure of the Pension Board (resolution 72/262, para. 8).
Among the audit’s findings are conflicts of interest between FAFICS representatives to the Board and the Fund management; a discrepancy (for the last two biennia) in the absorption by the Fund of the cost of six retiree representatives to attend each Board session instead of three as approved by the GA and the Board; the dissemination of erroneous information by the FAFICS president, including about the backlog in pension payments; electronic circulation to beneficiaries (including the vast majority who were not FAFICS members) by the Fund Secretariat of a letter from the FAFICS president of January 2018 that “gave the appearance of “collusion between FAFICS and the Fund’s Secretariat to challenge the authority of the Secretary-General and the General Assembly in governance matters of the Fund…”; and attendance of two retiree representatives to the meetings of Staff Pension Committees “which are essentially a forum for participants…. further increase[ing] the influence of FAFICS in the Fund’s governance structure.”   

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Wednesday, 18 July 2018, 1.15 to 2.30 pm
ECOSOC Chamber
"Dear Colleagues,
There will be an information session on Wednesday, 18 July 2018 for all current staff members and retirees of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF). The session will be held in the ECOSOC Chamber from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm.
This is the fourth in a series intended to update and increase the knowledge of participants and retirees with regards to pension matters and how they affect them. It is also an opportunity for participants to question the two New York-based representatives on the United Nations Staff Pension Committee and be updated on preparations for the 65th Session of the Pension Board which starts on 26 July.
Preliminary agenda
Pension Board
Status Report – Last year in review
Items for the Agenda put forward by UNSPC participants’ representatives
Provisional/Partial payments to former participants
Composition of the Board
Retiree elections
Standing Committee
Q & A
Michelle Rockcliffe
Ibrahima Fay
UN participant representatives to the Pension Board"

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Lowell Flanders elected to the AFICS/NY Governing Board

Congratulations, Lowell Flanders, on winning election to the AFICS/NY Governing Board! (Results were announced yesterday, 25 June 2018, at the AFICS/NY annual assembly. See his mission statement posted below on the blog on 19 April 2018). We wish you all success in this endeavor.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Calling for an end to complicity of UN retiree representatives, 25 June 2018

Open letter to the AFICS/NY president, members of the Governing Board and to AFICS/NY members, 25 June 2018

Dear colleagues,

Subject: Calling for an end to complicity of UN retiree representatives 

Today, on the occasion of the AFICS/NY annual assembly, we recall that while the issue of chronic underperformance in investments was addressed by the Secretary-General in his appointment of his new Representative for Investments in 2017 and that we must remain vigilant, serious issues related to the Fund Secretariat remain unresolved.

Since 2014 when concerns arose about the leadership of the Fund Secretariat, there have been General Assembly resolutions, internal and external audits, and ACABQ reports[1], that collectively confirm issues of mismanagement in the Fund Secretariat, including in the implementation of the new IT system in 2015; procurement irregularities; massive understatement of an unprecedented delay in pension payments to new retirees, separated staff, and survivors; and severely inadequate client servicing.

Finally, after years of insisting that the backlog in pension payments consisted of a mere few hundred cases, the Fund acknowledged in its March 2018 newsletter that the backlog consists of 15,000 cases related to retirees and separated staff, and survivors.[2]  Yet, selective sharing and control of the flow of information by our retiree representatives continued, as indicated by a letter from the president of AFICS Canada to his constituents dated 7 March 2018.[3]

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.