Tuesday, January 3, 2017

UN General Assembly Urges the $54 billion Pension Fund to Shape Up, 3 January 2016

The United Nations General Assembly sharply rebuked the United Nations Pension Fund, which it oversees, reaffirming control of the $54 billion account by the UN Secretariat and calling on the fund to improve its problematic performance and service to its 72,000 beneficiaries.
The strongly worded resolution came amid other resolutions being finalized at the tail end of the assembly’s 71st session in late December. The pension fund has been embroiled in problems affecting both investments and payouts to beneficiaries. (See PassBlue’s article in September 2016.)
The fund’s recent inability to pay thousands of recent retirees — some waiting for more than a year — after initiating a new software system has been one of many thorns in the side of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he prepared to leave office on Dec. 31, 2016. (António Guterres became the new secretary-general on Jan. 1.)
Addressing retirees in May, Ban promised that the payment delays would be cleared up by the end of that month. But the fund is still struggling to catch up.
For more than two years, UN staff unions and retirees have protested a series of changes proposed by the fund’s chief executive officer, Sergio Arvizú, charging that he was moving the fund from UN oversight into an environment prone to risk, corruption and exploitation by outsiders. The fund, which had long been managed by internal staff members, has in recent years turned 15 percent of its portfolio over to commercial investment managers. . . 

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