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.

Click here for participation on the English language Teams Live platform 

Click here for participation on the French language Teams Live platform 

In the last couple of weeks, we have witnessed a lot of turbulence in the financial markets, especially related to the banking sector and during these weeks, we had the opportunity to meet with the Audit Committee, the Fund Solvency and Asset and Liability Monitoring Committee, with participation of the chairpersons of the Actuaries Committee and the Investments Committee, and finally with the Investments Committee, as part of our regular governance and oversight mechanisms.

As reported to these committees, our Fund is in a strong operational and financial situation. There were no disruptions in payments to retirees and beneficiaries and none are expected. As at today, the market value of the assets is above US$80 billion dollars, more than 3 per cent higher than the closing of 2022. The last biennial actuarial valuation as at 31 December 2021 reported a strong surplus. This surplus has meant that even with recent market conditions and the high inflationary environment, the Fund expects to continue to be in a well-funded position. This will be fully assessed again at 31 December 2023 through the next actuarial valuation.

Regarding the management of the fixed income portfolio, as you may remember, the new benchmark for fixed income implemented in September 2022 introduced a corporate bond component broadening our asset mix to capture a wider range of market opportunities and the related returns. In addition, we took the decision to partner with external service providers in the successful management of part of this portfolio, equivalent to 6 per cent of the total portfolio, while we further develop and strengthen our in-house capabilities. Over time it is expected that the internal fixed income team will progressively assume a larger management of the portfolio as resources and capabilities are added.

It is worth highlighting that OIM prefers to manage assets internally where feasible or appropriate. However, when we lack resources or expertise, partnering with external managers can be a valuable approach, from both a skill transference and performance perspective. Indeed, we have been using this approach for small cap investments for more than two decades, and it has contributed significantly to the Fund’s overall performance.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that Mr. Pako Thupayagale joined our team as the new Director for Fixed Income on March 1, 2023. He brings a wealth of experience to the team and portfolio, having worked in the private sector, central bank, and sovereign wealth fund. His fresh perspective and insights will be invaluable as we continue to optimize our investment strategy. As part of our ongoing commitment to provide the team with the necessary resources to manage the portfolio effectively, we are currently filling the three new posts approved for this year, which will take us to six new posts filled over the past two years. Once these posts are filled, we will be better positioned to manage the portfolio in-house and consider reallocating the portfolio structure to optimize performance.


In closing, please rest assured of our commitment to managing the Fund’s investments and pension administration in the best interests of all our stakeholders.

Enhancing the staff experience when they retire from the United Nations was one of the key areas of focus of a two-day event hosted on 16 and 17 March by the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. Over 30 Pension Focal Points and HR Partners from the UN system attended the first in-person, post-pandemic gathering on pension matters.

The UNJSPF Pension Administration serves as secretariat of the UN Staff Pension Committee, which is responsible for the administration of pension matters for the entire UN. “This event is crucial to strengthen the partnership between the Fund and entities of the UN system”, said Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration at the Fund.

On the first day, the Fund updated the UN family member organizations on pension activities, newest technologies, and ongoing projects to help pension focal points promote pensions excellence and client satisfaction. Participants had an opportunity to share, learn and benefit from each other’s knowledge, experience, and best practices on the separation process.

On the second day, discussions and interactive dialogues provided the Fund and its partners in UN entities with an opportunity to share, learn and benefit from each other’s knowledge, experience, and best practices on the separation process and to consider how to streamline it in view of shortening the time between date of separation until the first payment. This was an occasion to recognize the efforts of the UN entities since 2018 to reduce the time of submission of separation notifications, and the joint strive for further improvement.

Sunni Ystroem, UNOPS Manager of Personnel Administration at Shared Services Centre in Bangkok commented: “I found the event to be both timely and useful. Both collaboration and communication with the Fund have improved dramatically in the last two years and will undoubtedly continue in this manner following the success of this in-person event, which served to both strengthen existing partnerships and establish new ones.”

The successful event included Fund-wide contributions from Senior Management, Operations Service, Finance Service, Legal Office, Client Services Service, Information Management Systems Service, Business Transformation and Accountability Unit, and Data Analysis Unit.

On International Women’s Day, nine female staff of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) shared their experience as women in finance or IT, and thoughts about the Fund’s efforts and achievements in terms of gender equality. 

Read their views below. 

Anastasia Rotheroe, Director of Public Equities at the Office of Investment Management: “The Fund is a better place to work than my previous workplaces. I've been at the Fund for 20 years. Prior to that, I worked for Wall Street bankers. There were no women there, so it was a breath of fresh air to come to the Fund. When I joined OIM, we were a very small team. We grew over time and being on recruitment panels gave us the opportunity to help recruit more women staff. This has been a positive about being a focal point for women at the Fund. Six years ago, we started the practice of having one-woman focal point per office; I was one of the first ones. We have expanded the roster both on the Pension Administration side as well as the Office of Investment Management. We now have several members who are focal points, we have all received the UN Women training and participate in recruitment panels. Having a panel that’s diverse is not just good for the organization, but also for the candidate. In all our interviews, we ask a question on gender balance so that candidates immediately see that we take this topic very seriously. At the Office of Investment Management, we have more women working on investments in comparison to other organizations. It’s so important to have that gender balance, particularly when it comes to investments. The Fund has a very good track record with most of our portfolios performing well over the long term, and I think that gender balance really helps contribute to that. We are a long-term investor and we do take that long- term view. I think the dialogue that we have and what we all bring to the table; that diversity really helps to have a positive outcome for the Fund. I think that where we probably could improve the gender balance is in technology. It's not easy to recruit women who have a background in IT. Since the technology field is a growth industry, why not have men and women equally participate in that growth, which is exciting. I think that society in general has to gain from it.”  

Miharu Goto, Chief of Section, Information Systems at the Pension Administration: “I worked for a Japanese financial company and an American Investment bank about 30 years ago before joining UNJSPF. Both Japanese society and American investment bank industry in those days were rather male-oriented and chauvinistic. There was considerable discrimination against women. Almost all managers and executives were male, and different career paths were defined from the beginning based on gender. In addition, female workers were expected to resign either when they were married or got pregnant. When I joined UNJSPF in 1993, the UN was not an exception.  Most managers were male and there were many incidents of power/sexual harassment against female workers. However, I must admit that the UN offered better maternity leave even then and colleagues were generally supportive of working mothers. Since then, the UN has made significant progress in promoting gender equality, women’s empowerment, reducing power/sexual harassment, supporting flexible work arrangements, and encouraging work-life balance. I am a witness to seeing the UN transform over the last 30 years. I feel the current workplace is far better than what I used to know. We should appreciate those who have fought hard to making the UN a better place for women. It is also important for women to continue to strive as the equal treatment means one is evaluated based on the ability and performance, not on gender.”  

Sandhya Peerthum, Chief of Programme Administration at the Office of Investment Management: “As a female staff member, I have worked in different offices of the United Nations. I can see a significant increase in opportunities for women at the Office of Investment Management, in comparison to previous workplaces. We are given equal opportunities and are recognized for our contributions. There is a clear effort to ensure gender diversity in all teams, and there are active initiatives to support and promote women in the workplace. There is still a lot of room for improvement, and I continue to be personally involved in some of those initiatives.”  

Sarah Gail Mathieson, Senior Statistician at the Pension Administration: “The Fund is investing a huge amount of money in the wider investment markets – for which we need to be investing responsibly. At the same time, we are meeting the long-term financial needs of former staff and their families – which, due to women living longer than men, will inevitably mean our older client base is skewed towards women.”  

Denise Gustin-Gardella, Head of Client Services Team at the Pension Administration – Geneva Office: “The Pension Fund sets a good example in promoting gender balance. Women are represented in leadership positions in the Fund. The head of the Pension Administration is a woman, as are the Chiefs of numerous sections and units in the Fund, including myself as the head of the Client Services team in the Fund's Geneva office.”  

Claribelle Poujol, Chief of Business Transformation and Accountability: "The UN Pension Fund is committed to achieving the targets for equal representation of women and men set by the UN System-wide Gender Parity Strategy (SDG 5). I am glad to have been nominated as the UN Pension Administration representative to the UN Anti-Racism Advocates Network. I consider myself as a Woman in STEM given my IT background and having worked in big tech companies. At the UN, I had the opportunity to develop professionally in different roles as Chief of ICT Operations, Chief of Partnerships and now Chief of Business Transformation. The UN provides the opportunity to develop professionally as broadly and as deeply as one wishes."

Sonia Beharovic, HR Team Lead at the Pension Administration and nominee for the 2022 Secretary-General awards in the category “Collegiality”: “Having been a staff member of the UN for over 22 years, worked in 9 entities and 17 positions, I may say that the Fund is not only a better place for women to work, but the best, and not only for women, but also for men…” 

Maria Tsimboukis, Compliance Officer at the Office of Investment Management: “Blessed are those who plant trees under whose shade they will never sit. On this International Women’s Day, I am reflecting on all those who came before me, breaking barriers for the benefit of all of us. After years of working in the private sector, I had climbed the corporate ladder but found myself in search of a greater purpose. In many meetings there was little to no representation of women and most troubling of all this constant search for short-term profits. In 2018, I moved to NYC from Montreal for an opportunity to serve as Compliance Officer for the Fund. Shortly after joining, I had the honor of being selected as a Women's Focal Point. I am proud of the work we do at the Fund and applaud the recent progress from the revised UN policy which expanded parental leave benefits to the continued hybrid working environment.” 

Kenza Himmi, Associate Investment Officer at the Office of Investment Management: “More than half OIM is made up of women. And women also are represented at almost all levels of the organization. This is definitely very different to where I was previously. I have previously worked in the private sector, in investment management. It’s a male-dominated environment and usually what we see is that there have been efforts to increase female representation, but this is usually at entry and mid-levels, with very few women at the top. Even within companies that take action to promote gender diversity, diversity and equity still seemed like an uphill battle for some of my colleagues. What I like about the fund is the diversity of it and being able to see so many inspiring women in decision-making positions. It makes it seem like a more attainable objective, more of a natural possibility for me. Finance is a male-dominated industry, which I joined as soon as I graduated and where I often found myself to not only be the only woman but also the only woman of colour. It often felt intimidating, being the only woman in the room and feeling like I had to work extra-hard to have my ideas heard or my presence noticed. But at the same time, I also feel extremely lucky that this is at a time where diversity is a topic that’s being increasingly addressed. Slowly, but it’s happening. I have been mentored by incredible women who have had an inspiring journey to the top, facing a lot more hardship that I did. It’s always refreshing to be able to be supported by them and I really hope to one day return that favour.” 

Adelfa Hernandez-Chavez, Information System Assistant at the Pension Administration: “This year’s IWD theme is very appropriate to promote gender equality. Women should be given the opportunity to be involved in technology as they can innovate, provide new ideas, and make a system work better. Women can learn, develop, grow, and become leaders of the future. Women should have the right to reach their full potential and become who they want to be. Women have the right to dream and fulfil their dreams. Women are part of our society, and thus should be well represented with their talent, and work. If only men create and do everything, how will it appeal to women? Gender equality is key to a better and happier world. A world without women cannot exist because they are essential for the birth of a child. Similarly, women’s contribution, and inclusion into society can make a nation become more powerful.” 

The UN Pension Fund is a member of the UN family, but also part of the finance industry, traditionally male dominated. What is this institution doing to address gender equality, with its USD 80 billion+ portfolio, managing future and current pensions for more than 220,000 staff and retirees around the world?

Leveraging the Fund’s portfolio

We want to push for gender equality in the companies we invest, through engagement as a shareholder” Mr. Guazo, Representative of the Secretary-General for the Assets of the UN Pension Fund, underlines, ”and we can already see that we are making a difference.” In the direct equity portfolio, the percentage of women on the board of the companies in which the Fund invests has increased by over six points between 2019 and 2022 (from 25.4 per cent to 31.2 per cent).

Gender diversity has been a key topic for the Office of Investment Management (OIM) in terms of engagement with companies. In 2022 alone, OIM engaged with more than sixty companies on gender.

A technological divide between retired men and women?

Ms. Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration, explains that she has recently realized that “there is a gender gap between men and women in the retiree and beneficiary population the Fund serves when it comes to digital solutions.”

Ms. McClean has been promoting digitalization and modernization at the Fund since her arrival at the Fund in 2020. One of the Fund’s flagship initiatives in this area is the digital certificate of entitlement (DCE), an app which is an option available for retirees and beneficiaries that have to send a proof of live annually.

According to a recent internal study, “less retired women use the DCE app than men, whatever their age range, and we have to understand why,” Ms. McClean explains. “This should not be the case, because there are more women than men in our retiree/beneficiary population.”

“This is food for thought as this year’s International Women’s Day is focused on innovation and technological change. I certainly want to bridge this “gender-digital” gap that we have just identified within our beneficiary population” Ms. McClean stresses, adding the Fund will examine how to improve its communication or features of the app to make it more appealable to women.

Gender equality inside the Fund

Miharu Goto, Chief of the Enterprise Applications Section, remembers about the past decades: “I started my career for a Japanese financial company and an American Investment bank about 30 years ago. Both, in those days were male-oriented and chauvinistic. When I joined the UN Pension Fund in 1993, it was not an exception.”

“Since then, the Fund, following the UN path, has made significant progress in promoting gender equality, women’s empowerment, reducing power/sexual harassment, supporting flexible work arrangements, and encouraging work-life balance. I feel the current workplace is far better than what I used to know,” she adds.

Anastasia Rotheroe, Director of Public Equities, Office of Investment Management, shares a similar experience: “I've been at the Fund for 20 years. Prior to that, I worked for Wall Street bankers. There were no women there, so it was a breath of fresh air to come to the Fund. When I joined OIM, we were a very small team. We grew over time and being on recruitment panels gave us the opportunity to help recruit more women staff. This has been a plus about being a focal point for women at the Fund.”

Still, Ms. McClean, notes “in its 72 years of existence, the Fund had only two females in top or CEO positions apart from me, and only for short periods of time. We have more female than male staff in the Fund. We still have work to do to reach gender parity at the senior and middle management levels.”

We have made great progress in the past years” says Mr. Pedro Guazo, “and we must set an example for the industry” adds Mr. Guazo, stressing that at U.S. financial services firms, women accounted for just under 22 percent of leadership roles in 2019[1]. At the Fund, the proportion of female staff in the Professional category reached 44% as at 31 December 2022.

Both leaders of the Fund have pushed for the Fund to adopt a gender strategy in 2021 to promote gender-responsive policies and practices and to integrate gender perspectives into all areas of work. A network of Women Focal Points has assisted in making the Fund a better place for women, but not only.

I may say that the Fund is not only a better place for women to work, but also for men…” states Sonia Beharovic, Human Resources Team Lead and nominee for the 2022 Secretary-General awards in the category “Collegiality”.

If you want to read more testimonies from female colleagues working for the Fund, check our LinkedIn posts.

[1] ‘Mediocre’ men get ahead in finance more easily, say women in the industry, the New York Times, 17 June 2021

In accordance with the UNJSPF Pension adjustment system and based on CPI (consumer price index) data from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics (MBS) published by the UN Statistics Division, there will be a 6.4 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the US dollar track of periodic benefits for this year, effective 1 April 2023.

Please note that the CPI increase calculated from the MBS differs from the CPI increase published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of 6.5 percent. This discrepancy of 0.1 percent was due to a rounding issue since the CPI data in the MBS retains one decimal place while the CPI data from the US BLS carries three decimal places. However, the Fund is bound by its adjustment system to use the MBS CPI data. In the April 2018 COLA update, there was an opposite rounding discrepancy. At that time, the Fund applied a 2.2 percent increase based on the MBS, whereas the US BLS published a 2.1 percent increase. The Fund has consistently applied CPI data from the MBS as its source data, so rounding discrepancies may occur from time to time.

More on Cost-of-Living is Adjustment

The applicable COLA adjustments for all countries of residence will be applied effective 01 April 2023. Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) letters with these details will be issued by the end of April 2023. All beneficiaries who registered for access to their UNJSPF Member Self-Service (MSS) account will be able to access their COLA letter in MSS under the DOCUMENTS tab. Your initial benefit is adjusted over time for movements of the consumer price index in the United States if you are on the dollar track. If you have opted for the two-track system, your pension amount will be adjusted also taking into account the movements of the CPI of your country of residence. For more information about the two-track system, click here.

How often is my benefit adjusted for the cost of living?

Normally, benefits are adjusted for the cost of living once a year, provided that the CPI has moved by at least 2 per cent since the date of the last adjustment. Such adjustments are normally undertaken in April of the following year. However, in high-inflation situations, i.e. where the consumer price index has moved by 10 per cent or more since the date of the last adjustment, benefits are adjusted semi-annually, on 1 April and 1 October.

For more information on cost-of-living adjustment, please click here.

Are you a participant or retiree/beneficiary of the UNJSPF? We would you like to hear from you!

We are looking for test users of the Fund’s website who could also provide feedback on the Fund’s communication. 

You can express your interest in joining the Fund’s communication test group by filling in this short online form.

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 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.

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