On 7 December 2023, the UN Joint Staff Pension fund will turn 75. For the first time, a comprehensive history of the Fund is being published to highlight decades of service to participants, retirees and beneficiaries and sustainable investment. You can download and read the publication here.
The UNJSPF is a diverse and complex global public pension system, with benefits being paid to pensioners in 18 different currencies in over 190 different countries. Over the course of its 75-year history, the Fund has faced volatile markets, fluctuating currencies and difficult technological change. The Fund has weathered global food, fuel, and financial crises.
For over seven decades, it has been providing peace of mind to international civil servants as they go about their mission to make the world a better place.
The Fund’s resilience
The Fund is built to last, and this is testament to the dedicated people who have worked for it over the years to ensure its core missions of processing and paying pensions, to modernize its services to clients and to safeguard and grow its investments despite the numerous economic and social challenges.
Strong governance, underpinned by robust decision-making, has helped the Fund to grow and thrive. The Pension Board has checked its solvency through regular actuarial valuations, updated regulations and rules and supervised the administration of pensions, in agreement with member organizations and the UN General Assembly. The Fund’s investments have remained safe, profitable, convertible and liquid as per the Fund’s investment policy.
The Fund’s global reach
As a global fund, the Fund pays pension in more than 190 countries and in 17 currencies. It has investments in more than 100 countries and 27 currencies and in different asset classes. This protects the Fund from changes in the market and the economy and improving its returns over the long-term.
A leader in responsible investing
From the start, the Fund has prohibited investments in arms and tobacco companies. More recently, it divested USD 2 billion from the heaviest polluters in fossil fuels. It’s leading the way for climate action investment, having already reduced the financed emissions of its global equity, corporate bond, and private real estate portfolios by 39 per cent, ahead of target, using indexes, data, and analytical tools to identify companies in every industry that are taking concrete steps to reduce their emissions.
21 April marks the World Creativity and Innovation Day. The United Nations designated this observance to raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.
What role do creativity and innovation play in the UN Pension Fund? We have interviewed Dino Cataldo Dell’Accio, Chief Information Officer at the Fund, to find out more.
Why are creativity and innovation important for the Fund’s modernization efforts?
A.: Creativity and innovation are important drivers that are enabling the Fund to adapt and respond in a timely manner to the needs of its clients.
The use of the Digital Certificate of Entitlement is growing among beneficiaries. Can you tell us more about it, and how it was designed to encompass new technologies?
A.: At its core, the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE) is a “digital identity" solution, which represented a foundational budling block in the modernization journey of the Fund. For over 70 years, retirees and beneficiaries provided their proof-of-existence to the Fund using paper-based/manual processes, which were often affected by delays and exposed to potential errors. With the DCE, the Fund implemented a secure and reliable tool to digitally identify retirees and beneficiaries, with the use of state-of-the-art technologies (i.e., biometrics and blockchain), while creating immutable, traceable, and auditable evidence of each transaction.
Artificial Intelligence is becoming accessible to wide audiences. How do you think it will shape the future of work and in particular our services to clients in the years to come?
A.: The concepts of creativity, innovation, and artificial intelligence (AI) are distinct but complementary. Creativity is the ability to generate new and unique ideas, innovation is the process of turning ideas into tangible products or services, and artificial intelligence is the application of technology to solve problems and automate processes. In combination, these three concepts can be used to identify new opportunities for creating or optimizing services and processes. At UNJSPF, we are already piloting the adoption of AI to both internal and external processes, to automate repetitive tasks and create efficiencies in end-to-end processes. Client services are the first area where we will experiment the use of AI to provide more personalized and timely responses to queries and requests for services, as well as analyzing large volumes of data to better understand clients’ needs.
How can UNJSPF participants, retirees and beneficiaries keep abreast of innovative solutions and services at the Fund?
A.: The Fund will continue to expand its communication channels to keep clients abreast of the deployment of innovative solutions and services. A combination of tools will support these efforts, including newsletters and articles published on the Fund Internet website, webinars, town-halls, as well as initiatives in collaboration with Staff Pension Committees of member organizations, and retirees associations.
What are the next innovative projects that the Fund is working on to further enhance its IT systems to better serve its clients?
A.: The Fund’s digital transformation strategy includes short, medium, and long-term initiatives. In the short/medium term, the Fund will focus on the implementation of a modern Customer Relationship Management system, which is expected to support innovative approaches to better serve clients. Other projects include: (i) The deployment of an “ePension” forms solution, offering new options for the digital submission of information, which will co-exist alongside the traditional paper-based process; (ii) The introduction of robotic process automation in data reconciliation processes; and (iii) In collaboration with member organizations, the implementation of the UN Digital Identity solution. In the long-term, the Fund will upgrade its core pension administration system, adopting the newest approaches for data collection, processing, and reporting.
International Days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
To know more about the World Creativity and Innovation Day, visit https://www.un.org/en/observances/creativity-and-innovation-day
Beginning on 30 April 2023, staff of UN Family organizations who are nearing their normal retirement age (NRA) or their mandatory age of separation (MAS) will receive from the Fund essential information to help prepare for retirement, by email. The subject line of these emails will read “UNJSPF – automated pre-retirement notification” and the sender’s email address will be firstname.lastname@example.org. The pension guidance will be attached to the emails.
When should separating staff expect to receive the letter?
The letters will be issued to all staff approaching normal retirement age or mandatory age of separation within three months from the end of the current month.
What information do the letters contain?
The letters will inform participants on how to register with UNJSPF Member Self-Service (MSS), to ensure the accuracy of their personal information, to generate estimates of their future pensions, and to upload and download pension-related documents. The letters will also explain how to enroll in the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE) mobile app to fulfil their annual proof of life obligations, should they opt for periodic benefits.
The letters will help separating participants understand their pension options, entitlements and obligations.
“Pre-separation letters from the UNJSPF are a valuable resource that will help UN staff separating from service to prepare for their future retirement with confidence by making informed decisions,” said Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration.
 UN offices, programmes and funds — such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Many questions were submitted ahead of the UNJSPF Global Town Hall on 6 April 2023 which was recorded and is available on the UNJSPF website and not all of them could be addressed during the event. You can read answers in the PDF below.
New York, April 6, 2023. The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) held a global town hall today. More than 3,000 participants from UNJSPF member organizations, retirees and beneficiaries joined the virtual event to hear from Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration, and Pedro Guazo, Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of UNJSPF assets.
Ms. McClean highlighted the Fund’s modernizing efforts of the past years, including timely pension processing, improving access to information, and a new app for retirees and beneficiaries. Confronted by an unstable economic and high-inflation environment, “the Fund is well-funded, and the purchasing power of pensions is protected with cost-of-living adjustments”, Ms. McClean stated.
Mr. Guazo indicated that the market value of the assets was at US$ 81.7 billion as at 31 March 2023, 5% higher than at the close of the previous year. “The Fund not only meets its long-term real rate of return target, but it also is cost efficient and a leader in sustainable investment”, Mr. Guazo underscored.
To watch the recording in English, click here.
To watch the recording in French, click here.
The 2023 UNJPSF Annual Letter has just been published and can be found here.
The Annual Letter provides participants, retirees and beneficiaries with a summary of important developments of 2022, as well as useful information about the Fund and pensions.
“The Fund continues to be in a strong financial position, and while services to clients have never been more effective, our modernization is underway,” Ms. Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration, stated in her foreword.
“2022 was a volatile year for financial markets around the world. The performance of our assets remained above the benchmark of an annualized 3.5 per cent real rate of return over the long-term (beyond 20 years), ensuring the financial sustainability of the Fund”, added Mr. Pedro Guazo, Representative of the Secretary-General for the investments of the assets of the Fund.
The Letter also includes an update on actuarial matters, and governance, including the outcomes of the two last Pension Board meetings and the 2022 United Nations General Assembly resolution, as well as amendments to the Regulations and Rules in effect as of 1st January 2023.
The dedicated section for retirees and beneficiaries contains relevant information regarding the cost-of-living adjustments, the annual certificate of entitlement, the annual statement of benefits, arrangements in case of divorce, the two-track system, the Emergency Fund, as well as retirees and beneficiaries’ associations.
The section for participants provides information about validation, restoration, transfer of pension rights, the annual pension statement and the separation process.
Other information can be found in the Letter on survivors’ benefits, death of a retiree or beneficiary and how to contact the Fund.
The Chief Executive of Pension Administration, Rosemarie McClean, and the Representative of the Secretary-General (RSG) for the investment of UNJSPF assets, Pedro Guazo, invite all participants from UNJSPF member organizations, all retirees and beneficiaries to a virtual Global Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, 6 April 2023 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (New York time).
This will be a Teams Live event with the option to join on an English or a French language platform with simultaneous interpretation.
Please submit questions ahead of time here before 4 April.
To watch the recording in English, click here.
To watch the recording in French, click here.