Tuesday, June 28, 2016

AFICS/NY to members (yet again): We regret to inform you, no meeting for you, 28 June 2016

Lowell Flanders: Post on Former and Current UN Staff Facebook page, 26 June 2016, 11.14 pm
The following is an exchange of correspondence with the President of AFICS regarding the request signed by 53 dues-paying members of AFICS to hold an extraordinary Assembly to discuss among other issues proposed changes to the AFICS By-Laws. It demonstrates clearly the contempt which the President and the Board of AFICS holds for the legitimate requests of its members. This high handed resort to faux legalisms is typical of authority structures that operate without regard to democratic procedures and transparency:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Pension Fund investment performance worsens. Are we paying attention yet? 24 June 2016

On 5 June 2016 we posted an article about the Fund’s failing investment performance, based on information publicly available on the Fund’s IMD (Investment Management Division) website. Results are now available for May and the Fund’s performance has lagged even further.

Performance worsens: You’ll recall from the last article that by the end of March 2016, the Fund was lagging its benchmark by 0.93 per cent. By the end of May, the Fund lagged the benchmark even more, by 1.2 per cent (benchmark 3.26 per cent, Fund 2.06 per cent).

A $624 million lost opportunity: In dollar terms, the Fund started the New Year, 1 January 2016, at approximately $52 billion and gained 2.06 per cent for the year, i.e, approximately $1.071 billion. If the Fund had just kept up with its own benchmark it would have gained 3.26 per cent, roughly $1.695 billion (a difference of $624 million).   

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pension Fund: questions about status of revised MOU, and CCISUA'S recommendations to the Secretary-General,

Leaked HR memo to the CEO: The first paragraph of the UN Staff Union President's broadcast (below) addresses the issue of the leaked UN HR memo to Fund CEO ostensibly dated May 2015 delegating full SG authority to the CEO over staff management in the Fund.These powers, for which the CEO has been lobbying hard, are contained in a revised Memorandum of Understanding that was the subject of two petitions to the Secretary-General in 2014 and 2015, signed by a total of 16,000 Fund participants and beneficiaries.

On 10 July 2015 the USG DM stated that he had placed the revised MOU on hold pending "further efforts and dialogue with concerned parties in order to ensure a clear understanding on the initiative before finalizing the revised MOU.pending consultations."

Monday, June 13, 2016

UN Staff Unions to Secretary-General: Replace the Pension Fund CEO, 13 June 2016


Staff unions urged the Secretary-General, in a letter published today, to replace the CEO of the pension fund in the face of a continued and severe backlog in payments to newly-retiring staff. The link to the letter is here: http://www.ccisua.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/LetterSGPensionFundDelays.pdf
The Secretary-General had set the CEO of the fund the target of reducing the backlog entirely during the period of 1 March and 31 May. Despite claims from the fund to have done so, the figures provided showed that only 36 percent of the backlog had been eliminated.
The botched implementation of a new IT system and refusal of the pension fund management to provide contingency plans, has led to newly-retiring staff having to wait between six and eight months to receive their pensions, putting many in hardship and this since summer 2015.
The letter also calls for an OIOS investigation into the backlog and the lack of transparency with regards to the data being provided by the fund.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Backlog in pension payments (the 61 per cent gap): OIOS must investigate the real extent and cause, 10 June 2016

 In an Intranet (iSeek) message dated Monday, 6 June 2016 (below), the Department of Management stated that the Fund has reported that 97 per cent of the backlog in pension payments to new retirees and survivors has been cleared as of 31 May 2016 and the remaining 3 per cent will be completed in June.

In an iSeek response dated Wednesday, 8 June 2016 (also below) the CCISUA President estimates that by adding new cases from the last three months as staff leave or retire, the Fund has cleared only 36 per cent of the backlog, not 97 per cent as reported (a 61 per cent gap)  and calls for an OIOS audit.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

FAFICS officials try to block OIOS investigation into delayed pension payments, 9 June 2016


A leaked email shows Linda Saputelli and Warren Sach of the federation of UN retiree associations (FAFICS) trying to block an OIOS investigation into 6-month payment delays at the pension fund (http://unpension.blogspot.ch/…/the-curious-case-of-ceo-and-…).
Perhaps the retiree associations are not aware of the hardship UN retirees have been going through? Perhaps they are unable separate the interests of their members from those of the fund's CEO?
Whichever it is, UN staff unions, speaking from planet reality, strongly urge OIOS to proceed with its investigation."

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The curious case of the Pension Fund CEO and AFICS/NY, 8 June 2016

There’s a curious nexus of actions between the Pension Fund CEO, and the AFICS/NY leadership that leaves us more concerned than ever about how the Fund is being managed and how this may impact on the soundness of the Fund’s operations.

We learned recently that the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) initiated an audit regarding the Fund’s substantial backlog and processing delays in payments to new retirees and survivors, and reportedly requested to meet with the AFICS/NY leadership in this regard.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pension Fund: Failing investment performance: How safe are our life savings? 5 June 2016

There are very worrying signs that investment performance is way down at our Pension Fund. A quick comparison of the 2015 and 2016 performance reports tells an unsettling story.

But first, recall last year’s leaks to the media about the Fund moving in the direction of hedge funds and riskier investments. Recall too that AFICS/NY consistently dismissed concerns, and Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra provided assurances at the 16 April 2015 town hall meeting that there was nothing to worry about, all of this taking place amid increasing media reports of other major funds moving away from hedge funds because of concerns about low performance and high fees.