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Highlights from the 77th session of the Pension Board

2 May 2024

The 77th session of United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board took place virtually on 25-26 April 2024. The following is a summary of the main issues discussed and decisions reached.

Elements of the benefit system

The majority of the session was dedicated to specific items under the UNJSPF benefit system.  The Board considered an item related to small pensions as put forth by the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS) and a separate item related to the eligibility for spousal benefits as requested by the UN General Assembly in resolution 78/253.  The Board agreed to take both matters up again at its July 2024 session. 

Following a regular analysis of the Two-Track feature across all Two-Track countries, the Board was informed that, effective 1 November 2024, the local currency track benefit will be suspended in Czechia, Estonia, Haiti, Lithuania, Sierra Leone, Suriname and Uruguay. Notices will be issued to the affected individuals by the end of April. The Board took note of the suspensions.

Governance matters

On Governance matters, the Board received updates from the Ethics Policy Review Group, the Fund Solvency and Assets and Liabilities Committee and the Plan Review Group.  The Board also agreed to recommend to the UN Secretary-General the appointment of two new members to the Committee of Actuaries.

Performance of the Fund

The Chief Executive of Pension Administration, Rosemarie McClean, highlighted the continued success of the Digital Certificates of Entitlement (DCE), with over 30,000 clients taking up the DCE option in 2024 and efforts now underway to set up kiosks in Nairobi and Entebbe for beneficiaries who do not have a smartphone or internet access. The Board was informed of enhancements to client support, including through the upcoming arrival of an improved customer relationship management system (“UNJSPF Connect”) and a Multi-Factor Authentication system. Ms. McClean also informed the Board of joint efforts with the UN family organizations and staff pension committees to reduce the time from separation to first pension payments. Finally, she emphasized the consistent strengthening of the Fund’s communication and outreach efforts.

Regarding the investment of the assets of the Fund, the Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the assets of the Fund, Pedro Guazo, highlighted that the Fund's portfolio is in good health and continues to provide steady short and long-term returns with very conservative risk levels. The Board was informed that the total portfolio value reached $91.1 billion on 31 March 2024 and that the annualized 3-year nominal rate of return of 3.3 percent and the annualized 15-year real rate of return of 5.5 percent are above the Policy Benchmark of 3.2 percent and the minimum required 3.5 percent real rate of return, respectively. Emphasis was also made on the existing measures to ensure the Office of Investment Management's operations are effective, efficient, safe, responsible, transparent, and transformational.

The Board appreciated the work of the Fund’s leadership and staff to increase client support through innovation and outreach, as well as to share information on investment performance proactively and transparently.

The next Board session will be held in Bangkok (Thailand), from 29 July to 2 August 2024.

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