Monday, February 27, 2017

Pension Fund alert:the stakes have never been higher, 27 February 2017

By far the most important elections for staff representatives to the UN Staff Pension Committee are upcoming – four members and two alternates (see link to CCISUA article).
Elected candidates will sit on the Pension Board and have voting rights on issues that represent our interests as participants (active staff) and beneficiaries (retirees).
Only active staff can nominate candidates or run for election, and only active staff are eligible to vote.
The stakes have never been higher. Current staff need to mobilize. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UN Pension Fund - third party review of investments, 22 February 2017

It’s encouraging that the Assets and Liabilities Monitoring Committee’s recommendation made at last year’s Pension Board meeting for an independent third-party review of the Fund’s investments is being implemented. This is a crucial step given the Fund’s investment underperformance, which puts its solvency at risk. (See link at end of article to 'Information note by Warren Sach FAFICS member of the ALM Committee and Project Team member for the Review').

General Assembly resolution A/RES/71/265 adopted at the end of last year, took the Fund to task for not meeting, in the 2014-2015 biennium, its 3.5 per cent target annual real rate of return and for incurring foreign exchange losses of $3.4 billion without a mitigating system in place (paras. 24 and 25) .

In addition, “investment income fell by $5.26 billion (76 per cent) in 2014 compared with 2013 and by a further $2.12 billion (127.63 per cent) in 2015 compared with 2014” (para. 6 (b) Board of Auditors report, A/71/5/Add. 16.) For 2016, return on investment was 2.93 per cent for the Fund compared with its 3.5 per cent target, in a year reported as exceptionally good for US based and global funds.

It is also interesting to note from the statement of the Federation of Associations of Former International (FAFICS), ‘non-participation’ of the RSG and her team for the meeting on 15 February and their ‘non-availability’ on 17 February. If this turns out to be  foot-dragging, and we're not saying it is, hopefully it won't continue and in any case, won’t prevent the team’s conduct of its important work. If it is foot-dragging, or worse -- obstruction -- and it should clarify soon enough, it's shameful dereliction of duty and there should be consequences. 

There's much to be done to get our Fund back on track. On the investments side at least, this is a good start. Now if we can also have GA resolution A/RES/71/265 implemented in its entirety without delay. Incidentally, there's been no substantive information conveyed from AFICS/NY to its members, including about the GA resolution, since the President's 14 November 2016 note, until today. There's also no sign of the resolution among pension-related items on the AFICS/NY website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

FAFICS: Review of the Investments of the UNJSPF, 21 February 2017


Dear colleagues, 

On the AFICS/NY website we have posted a note from FAFICS on the current status of the review of the Pension Fund's investment side. That review was requested by the Pension Board and approved by the UN General Assembly.  Here is a direct link (below) to the note from FAFICS that is on our website. 


John Dietz, President 

Backlog in pension payments: the real story. 21 February 2017

According to the Fund's website, as of 1 February 2017, “The Fund is processing more than 80 per cent of actionable cases within 20 business days and aims to make this 100% in the coming months.”. The latest iSeek report refers to the processing benchmark (13 February 2017): “With the enhanced capacity of the task force, the Pension Fund has been able to achieve its processing time benchmark for the last two months…and we will continue to keep staff updated on the status of outstanding cases on an ongoing basis.”

It’s encouraging that the Fund is reporting that its processing benchmark, at least for some cases, is within a reasonable twenty business days.  Let’s recognize, however, that this is not the case for many beneficiaries. Some of us are fortunate to be located in New York or Geneva where we can walk into the Fund’s offices and eventually receive attention. But this is not the reality for many participants and beneficiaries, and many retirees, and some of the most vulnerable in terms of "other cases", including widows and survivors, are still waiting in a “non actionable” and unreported limbo of suffering (See open letter to the CEO dated 21 November 2016 on the blog).