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The thoughts of the Pension Fund staff go out to all those affected by the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria, and the devastation that it caused.
As with similar events in the past, the Fund will facilitate the processing of an emergency payment to those directly impacted by the earthquake. This will be a one-time fixed payment to help offset damage and/or loss of property suffered as a direct consequence of the disaster.
Retirees or beneficiaries who suffered hardship as a direct result of the earthquake and would like to be considered for this one-time payment from the Emergency Fund should submit the duly completed, dated and hand-signed "Special Emergency Fund Application Form", which can be found here.
This payment of USD 500.00 will not preclude those affected from submitting additional requests for assistance, should expenses attributable directly to the earthquake be beyond this amount. Such additional claims would be addressed under the Emergency Fund's normal administrative guidelines and arrangements, as published on the Emergency Fund webpage and related resources.
In such cases, the normal guidelines would apply, and the claim would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Any claims for the one-time payment should be sent to the dedicated email address UNJSPF-EmergencyFund@unispf.org. Please write "Türkiye/Syria Earthquake, February 2023" as well as your full name and nine-digit Unique ID or five-digit alphanumeric Retirement number in the subject line of the email.
For more information, click here.
The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board held its 73rd session, virtually on 16-17 February 2023.
Below is a summary of the main issues discussed and decisions.
Election of new Chair, Vice-Chairs and Rapporteur
The Board elected Ms. Annick Van Houtte (FAO/WFP Executive Heads Group) as chair, Ms. Carolina Bascones (WHO Participants Group) and Mr. David Traystman (United Nations General Assembly) as first and second vice-chairs, and Ms. Kathryn Alford (United Nations Executive Heads Group) as Rapporteur for the year 2023.
Performance of the Fund
Ms. Rosemarie McClean, the Chief Executive of Pension Administration, highlighted some of the many achievements of the Pension Administration throughout 2022, including the record figure of 93.3 percent of initial separation cases processed within 15 business days. Ms. McClean also reported that pension payments have continued to be issued on time despite operational challenges, and provided updates on the award-winning Digital Certificate of Entitlement app. With more than 15,000 digital certificates received since 1 January 2023, the number of submissions for 2023 is already close to the number of submissions received using the app in 2022.
Mr. Pedro Guazo, Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the assets of the Fund (RSG), reported that 2022 was a very volatile year for financial markets all around the world, with both the global bond markets and the global equity markets experiencing negative returns. Despite a decrease in the market value of the Fund’s assets by 14.6 percent in 2022, this was less than that experienced by global markets overall, and there has been a recovery of almost 5 percent so far in 2023. He further stressed that the performance of the assets remains above the benchmark of an annualized 3.5 per cent real rate of return over the long-term ensuring the financial sustainability of the Fund.
Pension Board Work Plan for 2023
The Pension Board took note of the priorities for its work plan for 2023, including the items requiring further action requested by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in its 2022 resolution.
Ethics Policy Review Group
The Board established the Ethics Policy Review Group to review the Fund’s ethics policy and make relevant recommendations to the UNGA.
Plan Review Group (PRG)
The Board established the Plan Review Group in April 2022. The Chair of the Plan Review Group reported on progress in the review of various suggestions that have been made by Staff Pension Committees and past recommendations on the plan that have not yet been implemented.
2022 Self-evaluation Survey results
The Board noted the outcomes of its 2022 self-evaluation survey.
This annual exercise has been implemented since 2010 and its focus is to provide lessons learned and guidance on how to improve the conduct of Board sessions and the engagement of Board members.
Participants who elected or were deemed to have elected a “deferred retirement benefit” now have the option to add the value of their prior contributory service relating to that deferred retirement benefit to their current service, under certain conditions. This new option follows the approval by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 77/258 of an amendment to article 1 and the addition of article 24 bis to the Fund’s Regulations.
What has changed as of 1 January 2023?
As of 1 January 2023, participants who had a prior period of contributory service for which they elected or were deemed to have elected a periodic deferred retirement benefit under Article 30 of the Fund’s Regulations, which is not yet due in payment, now have the possibility to elect to add such prior contributory service to their current participation, within one year of re-commencement of participation. That election is referred to as ‘restoration’ under Article 24 bis.
The value of the contributory service to be credited shall be determined to be equivalent to the actuarial value of the deferred retirement benefit not yet in payment. This means restoration in the case of a deferred retirement benefit may not result in the restoration of the full period of contributory service initially earned for the prior period of participation, because the restoration must be carried out at no cost to the Fund.
Those participants who are in service as at 1 January 2023 and have an entitlement to a deferred retirement benefit that was established on or after 1 April 2007 and that is not yet due to be in payment, are also allowed to restore. However, such election must be made by 31 December 2023.
What should I do if I am interested?
Practical details for implementation of the new measure are currently being worked out by the Fund and further guidance will be issued in due course. In the meantime, participants can register their interest to find out if the new measure would fit their situation by sending a message to the Fund using the official Contact Form here. In the Contact Form, you should identify yourself as ‘Participant’ and select the query topic “Restoration”; in the text box, you should indicate “Article 24bis” and your request.
What is restoration?
Restoration is an option for former participants who separate and then re-enter the Fund, to elect to add their prior contributory service to their current participation. By restoring, participants combine the prior period of contributory service with their current one, which may increase the total number of years and months of their contributory service and thus increase their future pension.
In recent years, restoration was only possible for former participants who took a withdrawal settlement upon separation. This restoration option and related conditions are still in force and have not been affected by the above-mentioned change. Check here to learn more about restoration.
What is a deferred retirement benefit?
A deferred retirement benefit is an option for participants who separate before reaching normal retirement age to defer payment of their pension typically to their normal retirement age, or earlier except that it cannot commence into payment before age 55/58. Check here to learn more about the deferred retirement benefit.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 77/258, which contains the guidance and decisions of the General Assembly on pension matters, has been published here. Below are the highlights of this resolution.
The UNGA welcomed the continued implementation by the Pension Board of the governance reform plan and acknowledged that the Board considers that the reform plan has started to contribute to improving efficiency and effective decision-making.
The UNGA welcomed and approved the establishment of a Risk Management Unit aimed at strengthening the risk management capabilities of the Pension Administration.
The UNGA noted that the annual real rate of return for the Fund’s investments for the 10-year and 15-year periods remained markedly above the long-term objective of 3.5 per cent and encouraged the Fund to continue its efforts to improve the performance of its investments.
The UNGA requested continued diversification of the investments among developed, developing and emerging markets, ensuring that decisions concerning the investments of the Fund in any market are implemented prudently, taking fully into account the four main criteria for investment, namely, safety, profitability, liquidity and convertibility.
The General Assembly further approved an extension of one year for the trading of derivative instruments.
Changes to the Fund’s Regulations, Rules and Pension Adjustment System
The UNGA approved amendments to articles 1 and 24 of the Regulations of the Pension Fund to allow restoration of all or partial contributory service in the case of deferred retirement benefits.
More details about these changes can be found in the 2022 Board report. The revised Regulations and Rules in English and French will be published soon on the Fund’s website.
2023 Administrative Budget of the Fund approved
The UNGA approved the Fund’s 2023 administrative budget, with minor changes to the Pension Board’s proposal (see the 2022 Pension Board report to the UNGA here). The 2023 administrative budget will provide the necessary resources to support the Fund’s pension administration and investment, addressing a growing client base and an increasingly complex portfolio.
The UNGA requested the Pension Board to provide the requisite framework for extension of the guidelines to allow retrospective recognition of beneficiaries arising from marriages, in cases where changes under national legislation occurred after the time of the former participants’ separation from service and they separated prior to the adoption of the revised guidelines in 2016. The Board should report on this matter to the UNGA in the context of its next report (2023).
Printed versions of the 2022 Statements of Benefits, covering the period from January to December 2022, are starting to be dispatched by postal mail to retirees and beneficiaries who have opted for this service.
For retirees and beneficiaries who have a Member Self-Service (MSS) account, they can view and download it directly from there. The Statement of Benefits is available under the ‘Documents’ tab.
If you have not yet registered in MSS and don’t want to wait for the printed version of your Statement of Benefits, you can easily create an MSS account, please check this page.
The annual Statement of Benefits is made available to retirees and beneficiaries who formally request it, using the contact form here. It is then automatically generated every year after the initial request. The Statement of Benefits shows the gross amount of periodic benefits and lump sum payments (if any) that a retiree or a beneficiary has received during one calendar year.
Please note that the Fund does not submit the Statements of Benefits to the tax authorities of any country since taxation is an individual taxpayer’s responsibility. For more information on taxation of UNJSPF benefits please refer to the following resource: https://www.unjspf.org/general-principle-of-taxation-of-unjspf-benefits/.
Dear UNJSPF Participants, Retirees and Beneficiaries,
As the new year starts, let us briefly look back at 2022 and provide you with an outlook for 2023.
The Fund is in a solid financial situation and services to clients have never been more effective, while modernization efforts continue.
The actuarial valuation as at 31 December 2021 reviewed this year by the Pension Board reported a strong surplus. Even at the most recent market value of the portfolio, the Fund continues to be well-funded with the funding ratio still higher and stronger than in 2019, when the previous actuarial valuation was performed.
It is a fact that 2022 was a challenging year in terms of investment performance. However, the Fund has partly avoided the extreme volatility in the global markets due to the effective strategic diversification launched more than a decade ago that has also resulted in a stronger performance relative to the benchmarks for the second consecutive year. When compared to our peers, we have been systematically more effective and more efficient for a sustained period.
At the same time, the Fund’s efforts in sustainable investing have strengthened and were internationally recognized. The Fund was ranked first in the 2021-2022 Responsible Asset Allocator Initiative (RAAI) Index and Leaders List Report. The Fund also became a signatory to the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) Statement from the financial sector – a global initiative committing the financial community to contribute to the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems through financing activities and investments.
In terms of pension administration, more than 90% of initial pension cases have been processed within 15 business days. All payments have continued to be issued on time while, in relation to geopolitical challenges, the Fund has explored and set up new payment channels to ensure the transfer of benefit payments in some affected countries.
Meanwhile, the Fund has continued to modernize its operations, further simplifying and digitalizing interactions with its clients. We are particularly proud that one of our flagship projects, the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE) app, won the 2021 United Nations Secretary-General Award for innovation and sustainability.
These efforts not only yielded great efficiency gains for the Fund, but they also saved thousands of pieces of paper and mailing costs for our clients.
In 2023, the Fund plans to further improve services to clients by expanding call centre hours, the deployment of a modern customer relationship management system and the introduction of e-pension forms.
All these efforts are made possible thanks to the strong support of the Pension Board and the UN General Assembly (UNGA), which has just adopted its 2022 resolution on pension matters, including the approval of our 2023 administrative budget. Our Governing Bodies’ sustained support in providing us with guidance and adequate resources translate immediately into outstanding results.
Along with the Fund’s 25 member organizations and the UNJSPF staff, we stand committed to serving you. We thank you for your trust and send you our best wishes for 2023.
Rosemarie McClean is the Chief Executive of Pension Administration and Pedro Guazo is the Representative of the Secretary-General for the investments of the assets of the Fund
Each year, retirees and beneficiaries have to send to the Fund their proof of life and location, the Certificate of Entitlement. Since February 2021, this can be done with the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE) app using a smartphone or tablet.
Retirees and beneficiaries can enroll and issue their 2023 Digital CE from 2 January until 31 December 2023.
Guidance materials on how to enroll in and use the Digital CE app are available on the Digital CE page.
Using the Digital CE app to issue your 2023 CE
If you have successfully enrolled in the Digital CE app, you can use the same device to open the app and issue your 2023 CE in a few minutes.
If you have not yet enrolled in the Digital CE app, you can follow these instructions to enroll in the app and proceed with your 2023 CE exercise.
Please note that a video call with the Fund’s Call Centre is required as part of the initial enrollment process.
2023 paper CE form
If you prefer to submit the 2023 CE in paper form to the Fund, please note that the Fund will mail the form to you in June 2023. If you are not paid under the two-track system, you will also be able to download the CE from your Member Self-Service account. The Fund will announce the mailing of the 2023 CE forms on our website when the process begins.
We strongly encourage you to try the Digital CE app. Since its launch last year, more than 15,000 retirees and beneficiaries have issued their CE using the app.
This week, the Fund became a signatory of the UN biodiversity Conference (COP 15) Statement from the financial sector – a global initiative committing the financial community to contribute to the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems through financing activities and investments. The Statement was also a call for action sent to world’s leaders for clear and mandatory alignment of financial activities to biodiversity goals.
“We are proud to take this step in our continuous efforts to address the climate and biodiversity challenges through our investments. As a universal asset owner, we play a critical role in supporting the global shift towards net zero and this cannot be achieved without strong commitments to address biodiversity through issues such as deforestation and nature loss, as these crises are strongly entwined,” said Pedro Guazo, Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of UNJSPF assets.
The COP 15 Statement emphasizes the need for action from all stakeholders, including governments, corporations, and financial institutions. By supporting this initiative, the Fund commit to continue contributing to global efforts in protecting and restoring biodiversity, alongside our existing ambitious climate targets.
COP 15, which ended on 19 December 2022, reached a landmark agreement to protect 30 per cent of the world’s lands and oceans among other ambitious goals and targets adopted. It adopted a new set of goals to guide global action through 2030 to halt and reverse nature loss, including finance for biodiversity and alignment of financial flows with nature to drive finances toward sustainable investments and away from environmentally harmful ones.