On 8 March, Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration, officially inaugurated the UNJSPF Liaison Office in Bangkok (Thailand).
“The Fund is pleased to announce the opening of a liaison office in Bangkok, hosted by ESCAP, thereby expanding its global presence, and enabling direct access to the UNJSPF services to a significant client base in the Asia-Oceana region. The office will be a local representation to provide an additional avenue for communication with the Fund and bridge time zone issues, thus making direct interaction with the Fund easier,” Ms. McClean stated. Around 14,000 UNJSPF participants and 9,000 UNJSPF retirees and beneficiaries are based in the region. The Fund is now present in most of the world’s regions as the Bangkok office complements the UNJSPF offices in North-America (New York, USA), Europe (Geneva, Switzerland), and East-Africa (Nairobi, Kenya).
The Bangkok Liaison Office (BLO) will serve all UNJSPF member organizations, beneficiaries, and retiree associations located in Bangkok and Thailand, including providing pension briefings, training, consultations, and direct support to staff and beneficiaries with their pension related queries. Regionally, the BLO will provide pension outreach, education, and training to UNJSPF clients in the region, with emphasis on new & active participants, soon-to-retire participants, retirees and beneficiaries, Pension Focal points, and administrative staff in UNJSPF member organizations, Staff representatives, Retiree Associations. “I believe that pension specialists and local participants, retirees, and beneficiaries, will appreciate this new service that will provide them with real-time advice and orientation on all questions related to pensions,” Ms. Maria O’Donnell, Chief of Operations, added.
The virtual inauguration was held in the presence of Ms. Armida Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Mr. Neil Buhne, Regional Director of UN Development Coordination Office, Ms. Gita Sabharwal, Resident UN Coordinator in Thailand and ESCAP Director of Administration, Ms. Anne Matthews.
ESCAP was instrumental in the establishment of this UNJSPF office in Bangkok. While a Memorandum of Understanding was signed as soon as February 2020 between the Fund and ESCAP, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the establishment of the Fund’s Liaison Office, until the end of 2020.
The BLO will be staffed by 2 persons, Benefits Officer Mr. Brian Casatelli and one support staff who is yet to be recruited.
Given the size of the office, participants and beneficiaries, particularly those outside of Bangkok, must continue to route their queries to the Fund via the established communication channels advertised on the Fund’s Contact Us webpage: contact-us/. Furthermore, it should be noted that back-office functions such as benefits and payroll processing will continue to be handled by the relevant business units in the Fund’s offices in New York and Geneva.