Friday, April 28, 2017

UN pensions: Open letter and questions for the AFICS/NY President, April 28, 2017

Open letter and questions for the AFICS/NY President, John Dietz (Association of Former International Civil Servants)
28 April 2017
Dear Mr. Dietz,
Thank you for your email update to AFICS/NY members dated 26 April 2017 on “actions and activities …on issues of concern to us all” (see below).
The update comes several months after publication of reports of the Board of Auditors, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), General Assembly resolution and an OIOS (UN Office of Internal Oversight Services) that detail serious problems related to both sides of the Fund. It also comes almost six months after your last substantive communication (President’s note of 14 November 2016).
As you know, this is the first time that many, if not most, AFICS/NY members are being made aware of the above reports and resolution, as so far none of these documents have been posted on the AFICS/NY website, or circulated by email to the membership.

While the update deals with issues of pension and health insurance, for which I thank you, my focus here is on pension issues.
According to the update, the AFICS/NY leadership’s “active advocacy” on pension focuses on “elimination of the backlog in pension benefit processing first identified in 2015” and on “ensuring continued maintenance of a conservative investment strategy for the Pension Fund's assets”.
In fact, according to the OIOS audit (2017/02 dated 13 February 2017) at least 10,000 beneficiaries (allowing for duplication of outstanding cases) continue to wait for payments, some for years, while the Fund CEO campaigns for renewal of his five-year contract.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FAFICS: The Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants, Time for Change, 19 April 2017

Further to a question by a UN retiree on a FCUNS Facebook discussion thread, the topic of the need for change in the leadership of FAFICS was raised by Ian Richards, the CCISUA president.
Good idea, and one that some of us have been thinking about for quite some time. I'm not an expert on how the FAFICS system works, specifically the electoral process. Anyone who can clarify, please do.
As far as I can glean, the leaders of the various Association of Former International Civil Servants (AFICS) associations world-wide elect the members of the FAFICS council. So any change in the leadership of FAFICS has to begin with a conversation about AFICS. I can't speak about the other 58 or so AFICS associations world-wide. That there's no transparency or democracy in AFICS/NY has been only too obvious to some of us for some time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

UN Pension Fund CEO campaigns while thousands suffer and wait in vain, 18 April 2017

 The April newsletter of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund was circulated by email yesterday to participants and beneficiaries, the first direct email circulation in memory. The Fund's newsletters are normally posted on the UNJSPF website.  

But it’s CEO (Sergio Arvizu) campaign season for renewal of his five-year contract. So the newsletter is sent by email to participants and retirees, using contact information which Arvizu is reported to have steadfastly refused to share for the purpose of elections of participant representatives to the UN Staff Pension Committee. No doubt tens of thousands of glossy copies are on their way by regular mail.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ian Richards campaign statement: Vote for candidates who will protect our Pension Fund, 4 April 2017


ELECTIONS:  UN STAFF PENSION COMMITTEE HAPPENING NOW  (31 March to 10 April 2017), link to bios below
Contact Chair, Polling Officers, for information


Dear Colleague, 

The Board of the pension fund must represent your interests. Our fund must be kept safe and secure. 

You will have received an email from "Polling Officers, CCISUA - UN Staff Pension Committee Election - 2017" with the link to vote for members to the UN Staff Pension Committee, who are also members of the pension fund Board. 

It's important that you vote. I am a candidate. 

As a staff representative I pressured the fund to pay its retirees on time, successfully lobbied the General Assembly to keep the fund in the UN and helped expose misleading data being published by the fund on the UN intranet. 

However, the fund’s leaders have yet to be held accountable for their actions, staff continue to be paid later than is acceptable and the returns on the fund’s investments are below target with $3.4 billion recently lost in foreign exchange transactions. 

If elected I will:
· oppose moves to remove the fund, its staff and investments from the UN;
· hold the pension fund’s leaders accountable for the suffering caused to retirees through late payments and the fund’s poor financial performance;
· identify bottlenecks in benefits payments so that retirees are paid on the day of retirement;
· make sure the fund is prepared for difficult economic times ahead;
· ensure the Board holds regular townhalls with staff to understand your needs.

The online voting platform is easy to use and you can choose up to six candidates. The deadline for voting is Monday 10 April 9 a.m. EDT. 

Other candidates with similar views and objectives are:
· Egor Ovcharenko
· Michelle Rockcliffe
· Ibrahima Faye
· Katy Joseph Solozano
· Nebiyu Workineh

Thank you for taking the time to vote. Our pension fund needs your participation. 


Brief Bio 

· Economist on investment issues at UNCTAD
· Treasurer and Vice-Treasurer of La Mutuelle, the Geneva savings and loans mutual, 2013 to present

· President of the Coordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations (CCISUA), 2014 to present