I joined the Fund as acting CEO in January 2019 and, as the year ends, I want to thank you for your trust and the opportunity to serve the Pension Fund in this very special year of its 70th anniversary.
The Fund remains in a very good financial position and it has continued to improve its operational performance in 2019. I am very proud to report that over 85% of the new separation benefits where payments are due were processed within 15 business days of receipt of complete separation documents, thereby exceeding the Fund’s benchmark of 75%. This confirms the stabilization of the pension administration after the introduction of a new Enterprise Resource Planning system in 2015.
As we are in the last days of the year, you probably know that this is an important moment as the UN General Assembly (UNGA) makes binding decisions that guide the Fund’s work in the short and medium run.
I have summarized below the main lines of the 2019 UNGA resolution as they were communicated to me, bearing in mind that the final version will be published very soon.
Overall, I believe the 2019 resolution is well balanced and built on the Board’s proposals from its July 2019 session, especially with regard to the 2020 budget.
Finally, let me note that leading the UNJSPF has been both a challenging and a rewarding experience with many successes, including the selection of a new Chief Executive, Rosemarie McClean, who is expected to take over as head of the organization shortly.
Let me wish you a very happy new year to you and your family.
Highlights from the UNGA document A/RES/74/263
1 – CEO and Secretary of the Board
You may remember that the 2018 UNGA resolution separated the CEO function in “Pension Benefits Administrator” and “Secretary of the Pension Board”.
The 2019 UNGA resolution defined the name of the head of the UNJSPF secretariat as “Chief Executive of Pension Administration.” This essentially resulted from discussions that the title “Pension Benefits Administrator” was neither consistent with standards of the pension industry nor with the role accorded to the head of the UNJSPF.
2 – Governance
The UNGA requested the Chief Executive to engage promptly an independent external entity to conduct a comprehensive and objective analysis, giving due regard to best practice standards of pension funds on governance matters.
The Pension Board will submit the report of the external entity along with its comments in the context of its next report to the UNGA.
3 – Pension Administration
The UNGA requested us to continue to adhere to the target of 15 business days for benefit processing and to make every effort to reduce the number of open workflows, including establishing benchmarks to measure progress in their reduction.
The UNGA further stressed the importance of having a consistent benefit processing rate as well as maintaining the quality of service provided to clients and requested the Chief Executive to maintain appropriate parallel characteristics of the Geneva Office.
4 – Budget
The UNGA approved expenses, chargeable directly to the Fund, totaling 92,899,100 dollars net for 2020 and the amount of 7,782,200 dollars as the United Nations share of the cost of the administrative expenses of the Fund for 2020 as well as the decrease of 2,306,300 dollars in the United Nations share of the cost of the administrative expenses of the central secretariat of the Fund.
For the Fund secretariat, 9 new posts are approved (including 2 conversions). 3 posts from the Fund’s secretariat will be redeployed to constitute the Secretary of the Board’s office, and 2 will be redeployed to the Office of Investment Management. 23 new posts (including 11 conversions) were approved for the Office of Investment Management.