Back

Transfer Agreements

The UNJSPF currently has agreements for the transfer of pension rights with 24 entities. While the transfer of pension rights remains optional, it contributes to facilitating mobility within the international civil service community. 

You may be eligible to transfer your pension rights if:

  • you are a former participant of one of the UNJSPF member organizations and intending to start, or recently started a new job in an international organization that has a transfer agreement with the UNJSPF or;
  • you recently joined a UNJSPF member organization, are a UNJSPF participant, and are a former employee of an organization that has a transfer agreement with the UNJSPF.

Note that mobility between UNJSPF member organizations does not fall under this concept of ‘transfer of pension rights’. If your service ends in one member organization of the Fund but continues in another or you join another member organization of the Fund with a break in service of fewer than 36 months without a benefit having been processed or paid to you, no action is necessary. The member organization that employs you will automatically report your participation status to the Fund and your entitlements and obligations as a UNJSPF participant will continue.

FAQ

What is a transfer agreement?

Pension transfer agreements are designed, in part, to accommodate the transfer of staff between employers, other than the Pension Fund’s member organizations, by securing continuity of their pension rights.

What do transfer rights entail?

In general terms, the “releasing” Pension Plan calculates the value of the accrued pension rights of the transferring employee. The “receiving” Plan calculates the period of pensionable service credit granted upon receipt of the transfer payment, based on its actuarial assumptions adopted for this purpose.

What are the organizations that have transfer agreements with the Fund?
What happens if I transfer from one of the Fund’s member organizations to another?

If your service ends in one member organization but continues in another, or if you join another member organization with a break of less than 36 months in your Pension Fund participation and without a benefit having been processed or paid to you, your entitlements and obligations as a UNJSPF participant continue and are linked. No action would be necessary on your part since the member organizations in question would automatically report your participation status directly to the Fund.

Transferring with an agreement

How does it work if I wish to transfer my accrued pension rights TO the UNJSPF?

Once you become a UNJSPF participant, you should promptly inform in writing both your former employer and the UNJSPF of your interest in transferring your accrued pension rights to the UNJSPF. After your eligibility to transfer has been verified, you should ask your former employer to inform the UNJSPF of the amount available for such transfer. The UNJSPF would then give you an estimate of the additional pensionable service credit in the UNJSPF that would result from a transfer. You would then have to decide whether or not to proceed with the transfer. After the transfer payment has been made to the UNJSPF, you would be notified of the additional pensionable service credits that you received in the UNJSPF.

If you are transferring in, you can submit an initial request inside your Member Self-Service account.

How does it work if I wish to transfer my accrued pension rights FROM the UNJSPF?

After your eligibility to transfer has been verified, you may request the UNJSPF to provide you with an estimate of the transfer value, to enable you to learn what you would receive under the “receiving” plan if you were to proceed with the transfer of your accrued UNJSPF pension rights. Should you decide definitively to go ahead with the transfer, the precise transfer value under the applicable Transfer Agreement would be determined and the UNJSPF would remit the amount in question to the “receiving” plan.

Can I still transfer my pension rights to UNJSPF if I have withdrawn my benefits from the pension scheme of my former employing organization?

No. In these circumstances the option of availing yourself of the Transfer Agreement would not be open to you. For application of the Transfer Agreement, the payment of the transfer value representing your accrued pension rights would have to come to the UNJSPF directly from the pension scheme of your former employing organization.

Is it compulsory to transfer my pension rights to the UNJSPF?
No, because each participant decides on his or her own whether or not to elect to transfer accrued pension rights under the applicable Transfer Agreement. Any transferring employee who decides not to transfer his or her pension rights will retain all rights to individual benefits under his or her current plan, as they apply upon separation from service.
Is it always beneficial to transfer my pension rights?

No, because often a transferring employee would receive substantially less in pensionable service credits than he or she accrued with the “sending” plan. The decision whether or not to transfer would depend on the combined benefits that you would expect to receive from the “receiving” plan when you eventually separate from that organization, as opposed to taking a benefit from the “sending” plan and then getting a separate benefit from the “receiving” plan.

Is there a deadline to request a transfer of pension rights?
Yes, information on the deadline and other eligibility conditions is contained in each Transfer Agreement. As the terms and conditions of the individual Transfer Agreements differ, it is strongly recommended that you read the agreement relevant to your case.
May I apply for transfer of pension rights while on leave-without-pay (LWOP)?
No, you must separate from service before applying for transfer of your pension rights. Transfer of accrued pension rights at the end of a leave-without-pay period is governed by the provisions of the applicable Transfer Agreement and can be done only after your LWOP is terminated.

Transferring without an agreement

In the absence of a transfer agreement, can I still transfer my pension rights from my former employing organization to the UNJSPF?

No, transfers of pension rights to or from the UNJSPF are only permitted where an applicable transfer agreement is in effect.

Calculations and estimates

Are the same calculation methods applied to the various transfer agreements?

No. As regards transfers to or from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the amount of funds transferred is set forth in the applicable agreements and the period of service credited under the “receiving” plan is equal to that accrued under the “sending” plan on a straight one-to-one basis. These are known as “Inner Circle” agreements.

However, the majority of the Transfer Agreements are so called “Outer Circle” agreements, because the pension schemes of the respective organizations/governments are not substantially equivalent to that of the UNJSPF. For these agreements (i.e., all agreements with the exception of those with IMF, IADB, and WTO), the amount of the transfer value payable by the “sending” plan is computed under the terms and conditions laid down in the Transfer Agreement.

For transfers to the UNJSPF, the transfer value remitted would result in the recognition of additional pensionable service credits in the UNJSPF, with the length of such service being determined through an actuarial calculation performed by the Consulting Actuary for the UNJSPF.

For transfers from the UNJSPF to a “receiving” plan, the transfer payment is determined as the larger of the value of the accrued UNJSPF pension rights or the withdrawal settlement due under Article 31 of the UNJSPF Regulations.

Can I get an estimate from the UNJSPF of my accrued pension rights?

Yes, you should submit a written request for such an estimate. However, a final determination can be made only after your separation from service and confirmation that you are eligible to transfer your accrued pension rights under a Transfer Agreement.

Can I get an estimate from the UNJSPF of the pensionable service credits to be granted in the UNJSPF?

Yes, once you know the transfer amount from your “sending” plan, you can request an estimate of the length of the additional pensionable service credits to be granted in the UNJSPF, before making the definitive decision to transfer your pension rights to the UNJSPF.

Resources

Booklets
Save time!

You can submit an initial request for a transfer-in inside MSS.

Login into Member Self-Service
LinkedIn Twitter