The 71st session of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board held on 11-12 April 2022 in a virtual setting has just concluded, and the following topics were touched upon.
Update on the Fund’s performance
Ms. Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration, highlighted the performance of Pension Administration as well as achievements in the implementation of the 2021-2023 Pension Administration (C.A.R.E.) Strategy in the first quarter of 2022. The benchmark, measuring processing of initial pension cases within 15 business days, remained above 90% from January to March 2022, in spite of the continuous high volume of separations.
Mr. Pedro Guazo, Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the UNJSPF assets, informed the Pension Board that, despite the multiple crises affecting the financial markets, the value of the assets at the end of March 2022 stood at USD 86 billion, down from USD 91 billion as at 31 December 2021 but up from USD 63 billion two years ago when Covid started.
Mr. Pedro Guazo also added that the Office of Investment Management would be providing additional information sessions concerning management of the fixed income portfolio using external managers and would be holding off implementing this initiative for three months until these had been completed.
Plan Review Group
The Board approved the terms of reference for its newly established Plan Review Group. This Group will consider major developments to be taken into account in defining the future needs of the Fund, as well as proposals for simplification and streamlining of the Fund’s Regulations, Rules and Pension Adjustment System. The Review Group will be composed of eight members, two representatives from each constituent group and two representatives of FAFICS.
The Board welcomed the new ethics adviser who started his term on 1 April 2022. The Ethics Adviser observed the session in order to get a better understanding regarding the working methods and procedures of the Board.
Board Self-Evaluation Survey Questionnaire
In its discussion on the survey questionnaire, the Board confirmed the practice of the annual Board self-evaluation survey as well as the necessity to discuss the outcome of such survey. The Board also agreed on the importance of regularly updating of the survey. A group of volunteers will work with the Secretary of the Board to propose for the Board’s endorsement an updated survey for its 72nd session in July 2022.
Representation of New Member Organizations on the Board
Following a proposal from the SPCs of a number of member organizations, the Board requested the Fund secretariat to prepare a paper for presentation no later than the July 2023 meeting of the Pension Board containing an outline on the current arrangements governing how new member organizations joining the Fund are accommodated on the Board in terms of representation, and how the Board might consider accommodating new entrants into the Fund in the future.
Changes to the Regulations, Rules and Pension Adjustment System
The Board noted the Chief Executive of Pension Administration’s proposal of new provisions in the Regulations and Administrative Rules to allow for restoration in the case of deferred retirement benefits, on a cost neutral basis, and to allow the use of electronic forms and other electronic means in cases where the Regulations and Rules require participants, retirees and other beneficiaries to submit instructions, requests and appeals in writing. The Board decided that these provisions will be further considered at its July 2022 session, noting the Fund’s commitment to providing services in accordance with established international cybersecurity industry standards in respect of the plans for digitalization.