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.