Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ALM Committee: Pension Fund exposed to significant governance, investment, operational and compliance risks, 19 July 2016

Pension matters: Inconvenient truths, image and reality, 19 July 2016

As fast as the Fund leadership’s public relations apparatus scrambles to plug the holes in the narrative, they keep popping up in the most inconvenient places. The phenomenon recalls a very effective booklet the UN published a few decades ago, titled “Image and Reality”, a valiant effort to replace myths about the UN with factual and verifiable information.
Offered here are some of the public relations “images” that are so strenuously perpetrated, and for each, its concomitant reality check. Recall that this 'truthiness gap' is the backdrop against which our Fund leadership is pushing for ever more power over staff management, procurement, and outsourcing of investments and fees paid to external managers. (Please sign the petition to protect our fund if you haven't already done so).

Monday, July 18, 2016

UN staff unions' petition to Pension Board and Secretary-General reaches 13,000 signatures. Keep signing to protect our Fund, 18 July 2016

Quote from our UN staff unions post yesterday titled “Despite the mismanagement at our pension fund, its board is about to reward its management with more autonomy through new financial rules and more senior posts": "It is clear that the pension fund’s leadership has not been candid with the Board and other stakeholders.” 
Other reliable sources provide equally clear indication that both the CEO and the RSG in their strenuous lobbying of Board members have glossed over major deficiencies on their respective sides of the Fund, including low investment performance; and reliably reported investment in arms and tobacco on the IMD side; and on the Fund Secretariat side, a protracted dispute involving DM, the staff unions, and the CEO about the causes and extent of the backlog in pension payments.

Despite mismanagement, Pension Board about to reward management with more autonomy", 17 July 2016

The annual Pension Board meeting is currently taking place in Vienna. If the vote for new revised financial rules goes through, as the CCISUA President indicates is likely (see article below titled “Despite the mismanagement at our pension fund, its board is about to reward its management with more autonomy through new financial rules and more senior posts”), even more power will be placed in the hands of those who so far have given every indication that it will be abused for their own self-interest.

Have no doubt: we pay for the management's lobbying efforts to sway Pension Board members to give them more of what they want -- power to do as they please with our retirement savings. We pay for the Price Waterhouse study that gave the Fund management top marks for its failed IPAS management.  We pay for the CEO's senior P5 communications chief and we will pay for the new senior posts the CEO is asking the Board to approve but "not at the junior level where the hard work is being done". It all comes from our hard-earned retirement savings.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fund in crisis: Just the facts, please! Act now to protect our Fund, sign the petition, 15 July 2016

The annual Pension Board meeting started yesterday, 14 July 2016, in Vienna. There’s no time to lose to act to counter the well-oiled political machine that’s intent on taking our Fund in increasingly risky directions, and seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to achieve its objectives.

As a single example, consider the CEO’s message posted on the Fund website yesterday

 It has become routine over the last few years that different groups, and specifically UN Staff Unions, lobby the Pension Fund Board before and during its annual meeting. Often the statements, which are widely circulated, create anxiety. Regardless of the information that you may hear, the facts, as being presented to the Board, are that the financial health of the Fund is solid, indeed it is expected that the latest actuarial valuation results will show a positive trend.” (link below)

Monday, July 11, 2016

UN staff unions petition to the Pension Board and the Secretary-General: Protect our pension fund! 11 July 2016

The annual Pension Board meeting will take place in Vienna from 14 to 22 July. Today, our staff unions launched a campaign and a petition calling on the Board members and the Secretary-General to “Refuse the new financial rules that remove the fund from the UN and allow outsourcing of investments; protect the independence of fund staff by rescinding the new human resources policy; [and] pay new retirees on time” (see link below to the statement and petition).

The CEO reportedly returned last week from a swing through European capitals with his entourage (Deputy CEO, Legal Adviser and brand new Chief Communications Officer) in full-throated public relations mode, allegedly lobbying Board members in advance of the upcoming meeting.  According to the CCISUA petition to the Board he is gearing up to push through the Board revisions of the Fund’s new financial rules to advance his privatization agenda including “liberal outsourcing to banks and hedge funds.”

UN Staff Unions/CCISUA petition (please sign now!) to Pension Board and UN Secretary-General, 11 July 2016




New proposal paves way for Exit of pension fund from UN and outsourcing of investment - Act Now to protect our fund!
  • Proposed financial rules remove pension fund from the United Nations and allow liberal outsourcing to banks and hedge funds.
  • This is backed by new human resources policy that reduces independence of staff who manage our money and exacerbates climate of fear inside Fund.
  • No result yet from investigation into allegations of fraud by the CEO.
  • Pension payment delays remain significant despite claims to the contrary.
  • To protect our retirement income, unions call on Board members to block new financial rules, on Secretary-General to rescind human resources changes and for a change in the Fund’s leadership.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

CCISUA to the SG: Pay an ad hoc benefit to thousands of new UN retirees still awaiting pension payments; 2 July 2016


From: Barbara Tavora-Jainchill/NY/UNO@UNHQ
Date: 30/06/2016 01:24 PM
Subject: Solution to the backlog in the Pension Fund: regular payment of an initial benefit immediately after separation - LETTER TO THE SG
Dear colleagues,
Please see below a letter sent by Egor Ovcharenko, our Union's Rapporteur and CCISUA's Vice-President (Conditions of Service) to the Secretary-General, regarding the Pension Fund backlog and the possibility of establishing regular initial payments when there is a delay in payment of benefits beyond 30 days after retirement.

USG for Management to UN staff unions head : OIOS backlog audit initiated, 2 July 2016