Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pension Fund: Power politics, understaffing and request for Board meeting declined. February 21, 2016

UN Pension Blog has recently received word that the unfilled posts related to the almost $2 million under-expenditure in staff and technology by the Fund in the last biennium are at the P level on the Investment side of the Fund (apparently there are 20 unfilled posts at the end of the 2014-2015 biennium. It's unclear that all 20 remain unfilled as of now and whether they're all indeed on the Investment side. Anyone who can shed light, please do). On hedge funds, the Fund's report to the Fifth Committee, A/70/325, notes on page 67: "By the end of 2015, the Fund expects to be committed to 30 to 40 private equity and hedge fund managers. An additional Investment Officer for Alternative Investments was approved and is being added to the team. A request for proposal to hire a hedge fund non-discretionary adviser will be published later in 2015." Does any of this mean the Fund is moving toward more or fewer riskier investments such as hedge funds? Again, anyone who can shed light, please do).

 Apparently what are needed to address the current very serious backlog are additional support level posts in the Fund Secretariat. We're told that acquiring these posts requires approval by the Pension Board, hence the call in the recent CCISUA/FICSA/UNISERV letter for an urgent extraordinary meeting of the Board, which the letter states has so far been declined by the Board Chair. (Quote: "To this end we call on the Chair of the Board, Mr. Olusoji Adeniyi, to call for an urgent extraordinary meeting to address the current situation and make sue it never happens again. We regret that to date he has declined to hold such a meeting").

Our staff organizations -- CCISUA, FICSA, and UNISERV -- deserve utmost credit. What they're doing on behalf of the 120,000 participants and beneficiaries of our Fund, particularly for those who are suffering very serious delays in disbursement, by cutting through the morass of misinformation to get to the root of the situation (mismanagement in the Fund) and trying to have it addressed, is an incredibly difficult feat. 

Let's face it: they're confronted with a situation where actors at the highest levels, in the Administration, the Fund, the Board, staff organizations (there have been some divisions in the staff organizations as well until the recent unified action), our representative bodies such as AFICS/FAFICS, are lined up on opposite sides of the issues, some working at cross-purposes, and clearly misguided if they believe they're holding the health and welfare of the Fund as their first priority. In this murky environment of power politics gone awry, the united efforts of the heads of our staff organizations are courageous and even heroic and we cannot commend and encourage them enough.

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