Monday, December 24, 2018

More desperate moves by the UN Pension Board Chair to circumvent Fund Regulations in the appointment of an Acting CEO by the Secretary-General, 24 December 2018

Yesterday, the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for “unfaltering accountability” of the UN Pension Board, and requiring that (para. 16) that “the Pension Board ensure timely and proper succession planning for the positions of Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer to allow adequate time for their competitive selection based on pre-established procedures that ensures integrity and fairness.”

Instead, the Board Chair has been working assiduously to circumvent Fund Regulations in requesting the Secretary-General to appoint an Acting CEO about whom questions have been raised about competence and experience in Fund functions. Read the details in an earlier article here:
http://unpension.blogspot.com/2018/12/tripping-over-its-own-feet-un-pension.html

It seems that his illegal email poll of Board members (the subject of a formal appeal to the Standing Committee by a UN Participant Representative, a protest by the UN Participant Representatives, and questions from a Specialized Agency) is not the Chair’s only devious action.

In this email to Specialized Agencies (below) the Board Chair justifies his rush to push through the appointment of the Acting CEO, by illegal means as he apparently sees fit, on the basis that otherwise "no pensions can be certified for payment". The bizarre implication is that our 70 year-old Fund lacks the institutional capacity to appoint an Officer-in-Charge, as happens in every UN office to carry out such essential functions until an appointment can be made based on, as the Assembly requires, "pre-established procedures that ensures integrity and fairness."

The Chair also refers to to a three-page letter to the Secretary-General that he’s prepared for signature by Board Members in all categories, except the UN Participant Representatives “as it is clear what their view will be.”

Sunday, December 23, 2018

General Assembly resolution on the UN Pension Fund: Accountability at last. Responsibility must follow, 23 December 2018



The newly adopted General Assembly resolution, in setting the stage for sweeping governance reforms (Ian Richards' post today, http://unpension.blogspot.com/2018/12/general-assembly-calls-for-sweeping.html), requires “unfaltering  accountability of the UN Pension Board, and calls for the Fund Secretariat’s senior management to be held accountable for its performance regarding delays in benefits processing.

But can there be sustainable change without action pertaining to the personal responsibility of senior Fund managers and Board members for any and all financial losses caused by their negligence?

UN Administrative Instruction, ST/AI/2004/3,  sets out the conditions under which UN staff "may be required to reimburse the United Nations either partially or in full for any financial loss suffered by the United Nations as a result of the staff member's gross negligence or of his or her having violated any regulation, rule or administrative instruction".

Ways must be devised to hold non-staff Pension Board members personally accountable as well for the consequences of their negligence and lack of oversight.

Here's an overview of the resolution (with relevant paragraph numbers):

General Assembly calls for sweeping reforms of how the Pension Fund is governed, 23 December 2018

MESSAGE FROM IAN RICHARDS, UN PARTICIPANT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE PENSION BOARD
GENERAL ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR SWEEPING REFORMS OF HOW THE PENSION FUND IS GOVERNED


(We're making progress, one resolution at a time)
- The pension system resolution was passed last night.
- It demands "unfaltering accountability" from the fund's Board members and asserts the GA's "existing prerogative…on matters pertaining to the Fund".
- It requires that conflicts of interest between the pension fund's management, the Board and FAFICS be addressed. One consequence is that the post of "CEO" will be split into "Pension Benefits Administrator" and "Secretary of the Board". Retiree representatives will now be elected.
- The resolution calls for "integrity and fairness" in selection processes, rebuking efforts by the Board Chair to recruit an Acting CEO outside the Fund's rules.
- The Board is to submit proposals on how it can be more representative of its members (currently UN staff, who account for two-thirds of all participants have only one-third of seats. IOM staff have none).
- It pushes back on efforts by the majority of Board members to remove the Board from the UN Appeals Tribunal jurisdiction, which would have led to a legal vacuum.
- It orders performance evaluation of the fund's management to be tied to how quickly pension payments are processed and requests a review of the IPAS payments system.
- Overall it vindicates the governance audit of OIOS as well as efforts of the six UN participants representatives on the Board and others, who have repeatedly pushed for integrity and equity in how the pension fund is governed. But there is more work to do in the coming year.
- Thank you for your support. It's made a difference!
Link to General Assembly resolution:


Friday, December 21, 2018

Tripping over its own feet: UN Pension Board flouts Fund Regulations in requesting the Secretary-General to appoint an Acting CEO


Whatever the results of the upcoming General Assembly resolution on the findings of the comprehensive governance audit of the UN Pension Fund by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (A/73/341), it doesn’t bode well for the Fund that those who are charged with its oversight seem congenitally unable to act with fairness, honesty and integrity.

Once more, the Board Chair is in the process of circumventing Fund Regulations as he requests the Secretary-General to appoint an Acting CEO.

The candidate is Janice Dunn Lee (a U.S. national) who served as IAEA Deputy Director General from 2012 to 2017. Dunn Lee has 40 years’ of experience in the nuclear policy and regulatory fields.

According to the recommendation memo from the Board’s Succession Planning Committee, which conducted the search (more on that below), “while Ms. Dunn Lee has rather limited technical and financial knowledge of pension funds, she demonstrated managerial mastery to oversee the UNJSPF during this transitional period”.  She would need, however, to be supported by “strengthening of the senior technical management” which “would require the timely identification of an experienced high level financial management specialist.” 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pension Board Chair flouts Fund's Regulations - Recommends a candidate for Acting CEO leaving the Board in the dark, 14 December 2018



In their letter to the Secretary-General, the UN Staff Pension Committee Participant Representatives note an attempt by the Pension Board Chair to flout the Fund's Regulations by recommending a candidate for Acting CEO proposed by the Succession Planning Committee, leaving the Board in the dark about the candidate submitted on its behalf.


Quote: "It is essential that the Acting CEO you appoint is one that is known by the Board and one that enjoys the Board’s full confidence and support."



Monday, November 19, 2018

The UN General Assembly must resist the Pension Board's attempt to punish and bar whistleblowers by changing a 63 year old Fund regulation, 19 November 2018

Last July, at its annual meeting in Rome, the UN Pension Board forcefully rejected the most important findings of a UN internal comprehensive governance audit called for by the General Assembly (A/73/341, see link 1 below) that found structural deficiencies on the Board and conflicts of interest, and the appearance of collusion, in the Board’s oversight of the Fund.

The Board also moved to discredit the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) by unsubstantiated charges that the audit process was “flawed and unprofessional” and that the audit contained inaccuracies (see OIOS responses to the Board in link 2 below).

The Board further moved to reinforce its non-transparent and repressive practices by attempting to bar whistleblowers from participating on the Board. It hopes to do so by inducing the General Assembly to change a 63-year-old Fund regulation. The change would prevent appeals of certain Board decisions by limiting the jurisdiction of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT).

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

UN Pension Fund: As goes the CEO, so should his enablers, 15 November 2018

It’s official: Chief Executive Officer of the UN Pension Fund Secretariat, Sergio Arvizu, will separate from the UN on 7 January 2019. This was predictable, given that he's been on sick leave for almost a year and a half. It wasn’t a matter of if; but of when he could negotiate the best exit package for himself.  According to a well placed source, the Acting CEO passed Arvizu's case through the IAEA Staff Pension Committee, against Fund rules, and it was approved.  Warm letters of gratitude (and self congratulation) have been received by Arvizu's enablers on the Pension Board and in the retiree organization, FAFICS (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants).

We bid Arvizu adieu and wish him well. What’s next for our Fund, not acrimony for damage done, should concern us. And make no mistake: any remedial action depends solely on the General Assembly and the Secretary-General. The Pension Board and the Arvizu cabal among the Fund Secretariat management have shown themselves time and again to be solely concerned with preservation of their own self-interested prerogatives, including by their rejection of the most crucial recommendations in the OIOS (UN Office of Internal Oversight Services) comprehensive governance audit called for by the General Assembly, such as adjusting the imbalance in Board seats among member organizations; separating the functions of the CEO and Board Secretary to avoid conflicts of interest and collusion; and direct election of retiree representatives to the Board, in the interest of democracy and transparency (A/73/341).

Sunday, November 11, 2018

UN Fifth Committee welcomes increased market value and urges Pension Fund to reduce payment backlog, 11 November 2018

Welcoming Increased Market Value of United Nations Pension Fund Assets, Speakers at Fifth Committee Urge Action to Reduce Backlog in Payment to Beneficiaries


"Speakers today welcomed a surge in the market value of the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, 70 years after its establishment, but reiterated concerns about a backlog of payments to beneficiaries as well as governance issues, as the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) tackled the Organization’s multibillion‑dollar pension system, its operations and performance."

Some things to note in the summary of the Fifth Committee meeting on 9 November (link below to the full press statement):
See also the link to UN TV below and watch the full statements:
Several speakers flagged the continuing backlog in pension payments which Japan said “risked undermining the overall credibility of the Organization’s pension system”.
On the comprehensive OIOS governance audit (A/73/341) Uganda said “the OIOS recommendations are a road map for much needed improvements to the Pension Board’s structure and processes and the General Assembly must ensure the Board addresses issues raised by OIOS as a matter of urgency.” It’s noteworthy that Russia “voiced concern about the recommendations of OIOS, saying his delegation is unable to support most of them.”
The RSG for Investments noted that “While investment performance exceeded the long term rate of return goal of 3.5 per cent during the biennium 2016 2017, thanks largely to investment returns of 16.2 per cent in 2017, the Fund cannot realistically expect to always meet that objective, he said. Returns so far in 2018 are running close to zero amid significant financial market volatility. The Fund’s fully funded status provides a financial cushion to withstand a period of low returns, he said, confident that the Office of Investment Management, with the General Assembly’s support, can address whatever challenges the market presents.”





UN internal auditors call out Pension Board's distortions of governance audit, 11 November 2018


UN internal auditors call out Pension Board's distortions of comprehensive governance audit (A/73/341)


It's difficult to  recall a UN document where the words "This statement is not true" appear once, let alone several times, as is the case with OIOS responses to the Board's comments on the governance audit. The Board, with the exception of the UN participant representatives, seems to operate on the basis of incompetence covered up by distortion and manipulation of facts. It's a shameful display by a UN body and particularly one charged with oversight of the life savings of active UN staff and retirees.




Thursday, November 1, 2018

UN pension fund: FFOA, ILO, FAFICS: Unable to refute facts? Throw a tantrum! 1 November 2018



UN retirees and staff deserve to know the pathetic caliber of our pension representative/pension officials

Unable to refute facts (because they're facts!) in UN Pension Blog articles, as contained in the reports of UN oversight bodies, such as the Board of Auditors, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), concerning mismanagement, conflicts of interest, and the appearance of collusion, between the Pension Board and our Fund management?

No problem, Do as the FAO retiree association president; an anonymous UN staff member at the ILO pension office; and the former FAFICS president (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) do:

Throw a tantrum! And scream "racism" (Pension/ILO)!


 “Your rubbish is dumb”, Gyongyver Prien, FFOA president

“A racist attack”, Pension/ILO

“Spiteful and vicious yarns”, Linda Saputelli, former FAFICS president 

“I would not share your rubbish with anyone”, Gyongyver Prien, FFOA president

Fortunately for the members of the Fund, the UN oversight bodies, such as the General Assembly's Fifth Committee and ACABQ, the Board of Auditors, OIOS, and the SG, have consistently demonstrated their concern with facts -- not tantrums.  

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Six "Pinocchios" for the FAFICS President, 20 October 2018




SIX “PINOCCHIOS” FOR MARCO BRESCHI, FAFICS PRESIDENT (FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF FORMER INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SERVANTS), 20 October 2018

Respect for facts is a prerequisite for any constructive "dialogue." There are numerous examples in Marco Breschi's dismal response to Lowell Flanders that demonstrate the consistent FAFICS approach of "Truth is not truth", i.e., the Pinocchio effect.

To demonstrate, here are six "Pinocchios" identified in his letter and factual responses for each (ref. OIOS governance audit A/73/341. https://undocs.org/A/73/341

Pinnochio 1: “I clearly stated that out of 13 provisional audit recommendations, FAFICS supported in varying degrees 7 while rejecting 6. No antagonism on our part.”

Fact: On the claim of “no antagonism”, FAFICS joined “The great majority of Board members [in expressing] serious concern regarding the process by which OIOS had conducted the audit, which many viewed as being flawed and unprofessional”, including claiming that the audit was "not based on fully verified facts" while, OIOS notes, "provid[ing] no evidence of factual inaccuracies." (Para. 88, table 3).

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pension Fund Information Meeting, 2 October 2018

PENSION FUND INFORMATION MEETING
TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2018
1.15 TO 2.30 PM, CONFERENCE ROOM 12


"From: STAFF UNION BROADCAST New York
Sent: Tuesday, 02 October, 2018 3:10 PM
Subject: Your Pension Fund - What's happening now, what future does it have?
Importance: High
Dear Colleagues,
We would like to invite you to an information meeting on the Pension Fund, this Wednesday, 3rd October 2018 from 1:15
pm to 2:30 pm in Conference Room 12. Retirees and delegates are also welcome.
At the session we will discuss the strongly critical OIOS audit of the Board of the Pension Fund (http://www.undocs.org/A/73/341http://www.undocs.org/A/73/341), which highlighted conflicts of interest, lack of representation, and a poor performance culture, and the implications this has on the future sustainability of the Fund. We will also discuss our concerns with how the Fund is being run outside its own regulations and rules.
This is an opportunity for you to learn what is happening at your Fund and ask questions to three of your representatives on the Pension Board.
Come and hear what happened at the 65th Session of the Board and what we hope will be accomplished over the next few months.
The agenda is below:
Remarks on the Report of the Pension Board 65th session
OIOS Governance Audit Report - highlights
Pension Fund Regulations and Rules - change alert!
Q & A
Panel members:
Ms. Patricia Nemeth (Moderator), 1st Vice President, UN Staff Union-NY
Ms. Michelle Rockcliffe, Participant Representative, United Nations Staff Pension Committee, (also Staff Council Member, Staff Union)
Mr. Ian Richards, Participant Representative, United Nations Staff Pension Committee, (also President of CCISUA and UNOG Staff Coordinating Council)
Mr. Ibrahima Faye, Participant Representative, United Nations Staff Pension Committee, UNSPC Vice Chair, (also Staff Council Member, UN Staff Union-NY)
Ms. Lorraine Rickard-Martin (Guest speaker), UN Retiree (Consultant on International Sanctions and Former Sr. Political Affairs Officer for the Security Council, DPA)
Mr. Aitor Arauz Chapman (Rapporteur), Secretary, UN Staff Union-NY
We kindly request that any technical questions you may have be emailed to: rockcliffe@un.org, ian.richards@un.org and fayei@un.org. However, this is not a requirement.
We look forward to your participation and thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
Patricia Nemeth
1st Vice President
United Nations Staff Union"

Friday, September 21, 2018

Smoke and mirrors in the UN Pension Board's communique, 21 September 2018


After roundly rebuking the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and rejecting its findings and recommendations in July, the UN Pension Board has put its efforts in full swing to discredit OIOS and its governance audit (requested by the General Assembly) along with any publicity about its own dysfunction. https://www.passblue.com/2018/08/27/the-un-pension-fund-board-rejects-an-audit-of-its-work/

First the Chair of the Board, John Levins (WFP), joined in August with UN officials from management, human resources and legal, to block the UN participant representatives to the Board from disseminating information to their 85,000 constituents about the Board meeting through the UN internal broadcast system. http://unpension.blogspot.com/2018/08/what-un-participant-representatives-did.html

Now the Chair and his cohorts have taken the unusual step of publishing a communiqué that elevates the art of smoke and mirrors, being much more notable for information it omits than for what it includes. http://unpension.blogspot.com/2018/09/pension-board-communique-21-september.html

Readers will be none the wiser that the Board did not even consider three prior audits by OIOS (on the pension payment backlog; implementation of the troubled IT system; or irregularities in procurement management), because it’s audit committee didn’t submit them for consideration.

Pension Board communique, 21 September 2018








1. It has not been normal practice for the Pension Board to issue a Communique at the conclusion of its annual session. However, with information on matters considered by the Board not being generally available until the release of the Sessional Report and the Report to the General Assembly, some two months after the Board, and the need of Board Members to report to their constituents in a timely manner, this Communique is being issued.

2. The 65th meeting of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board (the Board) took place at the premises of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, from 26 July through 3 August 2018.

3. MATURITY: The Fund was established almost 70 years ago and presented its first financial statements in 1949. It has all the features of a mature defined benefit plan. The Board is confident that the Fund is actuarially and financially sound. The current strong situation is due largely to the initiatives developed by the Board’s 2013 Working Group on sustainability, endorsed by the Board and approved by the General Assembly, together with prudent management practices of the past.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Passblue: The UN Pension Board Rejects An Audit of Its Work




"The United Nations Pension Board’s recent meeting in Rome ended with a record number of disagreements and much acrimony. The chief cause of distress was the results of the internal governance audit requested last December by the General Assembly.
At the meeting, held July 29 to Aug. 3, board members directed much of their angst against recommendations to adjust the makeup of the board of the $65 billion fund to comply with General Assembly resolutions. The resolutions called for fairer and more equitable representation of member organizations, given that the UN secretariat, funds and programs control only a third of board seats despite accounting for two-thirds of pension fund members...."


Thursday, August 23, 2018

UN Pension Board Chair: Lacking an "appropriate tone of integrity and ethical values", 23 August 2018


Pension Board Chair: "Our Fund is under attack from without from, frankly, nutcases.....".

Or how not to "set the appropriate tone with regard to integrity and ethical values" as called for by the OIOS governance audit of the Pension Board under GA resolution 72/265.





This is the Pension Board that, under this Chair's leadership, decided to "refer OIOS to the UN’s Independent Audit Advisory Committee on apparent grounds of unprofessionalism", a decision about which the UN participant representatives noted in their 14 August 2018 message:

"We felt OIOS had carried out its work correctly as per the mandate assigned to it by the General Assembly. We did not believe that the Fund should engage in a political campaign against OIOS nor take measures to undermine its authority."

UNJSPF: Broadcast to WFP staff from the Chair of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board, John Martin Levins, WFP
Quote “Our Fund is also under attack from without from, frankly, nutcases, who intend for their own twisted purposes to create a narrative of a “Fund in crisis”. Unfortunately, it is also under attack from the inside by similar people in cahoots with the external nutters. The Fund is not perfect. It can improve many things just like WFP can; I will be making sure it does. If you hear a different narrative, please be skeptical. Ignore the haters. Check in with me.”

Monday, August 20, 2018

What the UN participant representatives did to defend your interests at the Pension Board, 20 August 2018


Message from UN participant representatives to the Pension Board (scroll down for the French version)

What the UN participant representatives did to defend your interests at the 65th session of the Pension Board

14 August 2018

Dear UN Family Colleagues,

The Pension Board met from 26 July to 3 August in Rome. This was the first meeting since action was taken by us last year to prevent the full extension of the CEO’s contract. At the same time, the Deputy CEO announced he would not seek a second term. 

Our campaign to reform the Fund is slowly bearing fruit and we acknowledge the efforts of the Secretary-General’s representatives to the Board for trying to build a consensus for change, as well as the appointment of a new head of investments. However, our work is still in progress. So while important decisions were taken by the Board, we do not believe all of them will benefit the current and future beneficiaries of the Fund. For this we made sure to put our disagreement with those decisions on record; our positions are explained below.

Friday, August 10, 2018

UN retiree association: Transparency hits the wall, 10 August 2018



TRANSPARENCY HITS THE WALL

I’ve posted below for information, a report dated 8 August 2018 from Lowell Flanders, newly elected member of the Governing board of AFICS/NY (Association of Former International Civil Servants) about pertinent issues of concern to all Fund stakeholders; an admonition from the AFICS/NY president, John Dietz, and Lowell Flanders’ reply to John Dietz in which he notes:

“…..this is part and part and parcel of an ongoing pattern of confidential and personal dealings that in no way represents the interests of Fund participants. This is also an obvious attempt to distract from the findings of the OIOS report and the entirely irresponsible circular by FAFICS leadership called “Pension Fund Alert: Retiree Rights in Danger,” distributed once again under the auspices of the Pension Fund Secretariat. This circular can only cause consternation among the thousands of retirees who are not Members or FAFICS, or have no idea what FAFICS is. This Circular should be discussed by our Board because it is false and entirely misleading…”

UN SG must reject the push to appoint a Deputy CEO of the Pension Fund in the face of audit report of deviations and arbitrariness in the process, 10 August 2018

Open letter to the United Nations Chef de Cabinet, Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti

10 August 2018

Subject: Shortcomings in the search process for a Deputy Chief Executive Officer, United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund

Dear Ms. Viotti,

1.         As you know, with the absence on sick leave for almost a year of the Chief Executive Officer of the UNJSPF Secretariat and the impending departure on retirement of the Deputy CEO on 31 August 2018, the management vacuum in the Fund is a matter of great concern to all Fund stakeholders.

2.         I am writing to request that you kindly advise Secretary-General Guterres to resist the push from the Pension Board for the appointment of a Deputy Chief Executive Officer under conditions described by the UN internal audit (entrusted to OIOS by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 8 of resolution 72/265) as containing “deviations and apparent arbitrariness”.

3.         Indeed, OIOS recommends (recommendation 12) a restart of the entire process:  “The Board should assess the composition and procedures of the search panel for the Deputy CEO in light of the deviations and apparent arbitrariness in the process and determine whether the search should be restarted to ensure the integrity and fairness required in a competitive exercise.”

Monday, July 23, 2018

Internal (OIOS) governance audit: Time for UN Pension Board members to step up to ensure accountability, integrity and ethical values, 23 July 2018



At the upcoming meeting in Rome from 26 July to 3 August, UN Pension Board members will be chewing over the OIOS (UN Office of Internal Oversight Services) comprehensive governance audit called for by the General Assembly under para. 8 of its res. 72/262  (now in provisional format pending editing and publishing --see summary of some of the audit's findings below).

The members of various Board factions must dig deep, access their higher selves,  move beyond self interest,  and work toward unified positions that place the collective interests of members above their own self interest.  

It'll be a challenge, not least in considering the composition of the Board, which the audit notes needs to be “fair and equitable …to reflect the actual distribution of active participants in the Fund”. Currently the UN family has 68 per cent  of active participants and only 36 per cent of voting members, while other members including Specialized Agencies, have 32 per cent of active participants and 64 per cent of voting members.

The Specialized Agency representatives must consider that having a majority of voices and a minority of Fund members works against the overall interests of the Fund and rise above any tendency toward illogic in thinking of the audit as a plot to deprive them of their surfeit of seats and influence on the Board.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Highlights of today's pension briefing by the New York-based UN participant representatives to the UN Pension Board, 18 July 2018

Note that UN participant representatives represent active UN staff on the Pension Board. UN retirees have had no such briefing from FAFICS, our purported representatives to the Board, on policy positions they intend to take at the upcoming 65th session of the Pension Board in Rome (starting on 26 July)


Highlights from today’s pension briefing by the New York-based UN participant representatives to the Pension Board, 1.15 pm, ECOSOC Chamber

18 July 2018


Ibrahim Fay gave a summary of activities and outreach undertaken by the UN participant representatives in the past year, in keeping with their fiduciary responsibility to keep participants informed.

He noted that, in addition, several meetings had been held with the Deputy CEO of the Fund Secretariat to discuss the backlog, including sustainable means of addressing the increased number of separations; and with the Representative of the Secretary-General for Investments to discuss the Fund’s ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) policy, and other matters. 

UN participant representatives had participated in the Staff Pension Committee’s meetings on disability benefits and had requested that regular additional meetings be held to focus on governance matters. There are conflicting interests between UN family members and other members of the SPC and most of the backlog affected UN family members.

The issue of conflict of interest pertaining to two Fund staff members (himself and Ms. Rockcliffe) who had won their UN Administrative Tribunal cases was reopened, in order to have a more streamlined policy to manage the issue. The need to align Pension Board rules with GA-adopted regulations was also discussed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Calling on FAFICS members: Vote for effective leaders, 17 July 2018


Open letter to FAFICS (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) and associate members

17 July 2018

Dear FAFICS members and associate members,

As you know, the AFICS/NY governing board has acceded to the FAFICS president’s request for support of her candidacy for the position of FAFICS vice president, in the upcoming election on 20 July 2018.  I am writing to request that you kindly consider the following information in casting your vote. 
            
You may recall the General Assembly’s request to the Secretary-General to entrust the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) with a comprehensive audit of the governance structure of the Pension Board (resolution 72/262, para. 8).
         
Among the audit’s findings are conflicts of interest between FAFICS representatives to the Board and the Fund management; a discrepancy (for the last two biennia) in the absorption by the Fund of the cost of six retiree representatives to attend each Board session instead of three as approved by the GA and the Board; the dissemination of erroneous information by the FAFICS president, including about the backlog in pension payments; electronic circulation to beneficiaries (including the vast majority who were not FAFICS members) by the Fund Secretariat of a letter from the FAFICS president of January 2018 that “gave the appearance of “collusion between FAFICS and the Fund’s Secretariat to challenge the authority of the Secretary-General and the General Assembly in governance matters of the Fund…”; and attendance of two retiree representatives to the meetings of Staff Pension Committees “which are essentially a forum for participants…. further increase[ing] the influence of FAFICS in the Fund’s governance structure.”   

Sunday, July 15, 2018




PENSION INFORMATION SESSION
Wednesday, 18 July 2018, 1.15 to 2.30 pm
ECOSOC Chamber
"Dear Colleagues,
There will be an information session on Wednesday, 18 July 2018 for all current staff members and retirees of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF). The session will be held in the ECOSOC Chamber from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm.
This is the fourth in a series intended to update and increase the knowledge of participants and retirees with regards to pension matters and how they affect them. It is also an opportunity for participants to question the two New York-based representatives on the United Nations Staff Pension Committee and be updated on preparations for the 65th Session of the Pension Board which starts on 26 July.
Preliminary agenda
Pension Board
Status Report – Last year in review
Items for the Agenda put forward by UNSPC participants’ representatives
Provisional/Partial payments to former participants
Composition of the Board
Retiree elections
Standing Committee
Q & A
Michelle Rockcliffe
Ibrahima Fay
UN participant representatives to the Pension Board"

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Lowell Flanders elected to the AFICS/NY Governing Board

Congratulations, Lowell Flanders, on winning election to the AFICS/NY Governing Board! (Results were announced yesterday, 25 June 2018, at the AFICS/NY annual assembly. See his mission statement posted below on the blog on 19 April 2018). We wish you all success in this endeavor.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Calling for an end to complicity of UN retiree representatives, 25 June 2018


Open letter to the AFICS/NY president, members of the Governing Board and to AFICS/NY members, 25 June 2018


Dear colleagues,

Subject: Calling for an end to complicity of UN retiree representatives 

Today, on the occasion of the AFICS/NY annual assembly, we recall that while the issue of chronic underperformance in investments was addressed by the Secretary-General in his appointment of his new Representative for Investments in 2017 and that we must remain vigilant, serious issues related to the Fund Secretariat remain unresolved.

Since 2014 when concerns arose about the leadership of the Fund Secretariat, there have been General Assembly resolutions, internal and external audits, and ACABQ reports[1], that collectively confirm issues of mismanagement in the Fund Secretariat, including in the implementation of the new IT system in 2015; procurement irregularities; massive understatement of an unprecedented delay in pension payments to new retirees, separated staff, and survivors; and severely inadequate client servicing.

Finally, after years of insisting that the backlog in pension payments consisted of a mere few hundred cases, the Fund acknowledged in its March 2018 newsletter that the backlog consists of 15,000 cases related to retirees and separated staff, and survivors.[2]  Yet, selective sharing and control of the flow of information by our retiree representatives continued, as indicated by a letter from the president of AFICS Canada to his constituents dated 7 March 2018.[3]

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Attempts to stall vital UN pension fund audit and how the Fund invests your money, 13 June 2018

UPDATE FROM UN STAFF UNIONS: ATTEMPTS TO STALL VITAL PENSION FUND AUDIT + HOW THE FUND INVESTS YOUR MONEY
From: broadcast-unhq
Sent: Wednesday, 13 June, 2018 10:26 AM
To: HQ_NY_Secretariat; UN_Funds; DPKO; OAH%UNHQ
Subject: UPDATE FROM UN STAFF UNIONS: Attempts to stall vital pension fund audit + how the fund invests your money
Dear Colleagues,
We would like to update you on important developments at the pension fund.

Audit raises serious questions on how our fund is governed and led

You may remember that last fall we called for a review of how the pension fund is governed, having seen first hand the July 2017 board session. The General Assembly heard our concerns and requested OIOS to conduct a comprehensive review of the governance structure and related process of the pension fund’s Board.
OIOS swung into operation and the draft audit has been shared with members of the Board.
While its contents are confidential for the moment, we look forward to it addressing the issues that we have brought to OIOS’ attention, such as:
· conflicts of interest between Board members and the fund’s CEO;
· A Board that meets just once a year, with no meetings of its Standing Committee that is supposed to meet to act in between;
· lack of direct representation for retirees;
· a weak performance evaluation system for the CEO;
· lack of transparency and spurious confidentiality rules that prevent Board members from seeking external expertise;
· retaliation against pension fund staff; and
· unjustified increase in senior level positions.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Vote for Lowell Flanders for the AFICS/NY Governing Board

VOTE FOR LOWELL FLANDERS FOR MEMBER OF THE AFICS/NY GOVERNING BOARD (FULL BIO BELOW)


CALLING ALL AFICS/NY MEMBERS

2018 Elections to the AFICS/NY Governing Board (Association of Former International Civil Servants)

Dear AFICS/NY members,

Some of you have already received the ballot for the 2018 election. Others may still be on the way. Please note that you may vote for one or more, but not more than six candidates. If you vote for more than six, your vote will be INVALID. The deadline for submitting your ballot is 31 May 2018.

I urge all AFICS/NY members to get out the vote for Lowell Flanders. Lowell has been consistent and committed in his efforts to safeguard our Pension Fund.

See his full bio below. Call and email your AFICS/NY friends and colleagues and urge them to vote and to submit their ballots on time.