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Message from Rosemarie McClean and Pedro Guazo on the UN Pension Fund

31 December 2020

Dear Participants, dear Retirees and Beneficiaries,

As 2020 comes to an end, we wanted to provide you with an update on the Fund as the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has just adopted its yearly resolution on pension matters*.

First, let us stress that the Fund is in very good shape.

After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, pensions have continued to be paid on time and the rate of processing initial pension cases within 15 days has been kept at over 90%, even though most of our Staff have been working remotely since March 2020.

Today the preliminary market value of the UNJSPF assets is more than US$80 billion. This is 11% higher than the value at the end of 2019, placing us well above the long-term real rate of return goal of 3.5%. The UNJPF is fully funded, a privilege that not every pension fund has, with a 107.1% actuarial funding ratio at the end of 2019, and 127% when measured against the market value of assets.

We are pleased to see that the UNGA resolution has recognized that the Fund is well administered, together with our efforts to ensure the continuity of services to our clients, our investment performance as well as our modernization undertakings.

Indeed, the UNGA approved the Fund’s 2021 administrative budget with little changes compared to the Pension Board’s proposal, allowing for the implementation of the Pension Administration’s strategic priorities and the recruitment of additional workforce needed for a growing investment portfolio.

The UNGA welcomed the three strategic goals established by the Chief Executive of the Pension Administration for 2021-2023, with emphasis on simplifying our clients’ experience, the modernization of pension services, and building a strong, global partnership with our partners and stakeholders.

The creation of a Business Transformation and Accountability Unit has been endorsed, and resources are provided to ensure the streamlining and the digitalization of our processes, aiming at making the Fund paperless. The digital certificate of entitlement, which is part of this strategy, will be operational in a few weeks and will considerably simplify the administrative burden on our retirees.

As for the investment side, the UNGA gave the Secretary-General the authority to use exchange-traded futures, swaps, and foreign exchange forwards on a trial basis for two years, which will further strengthen risk management and efficiency and help us lower the transaction costs and hedge risks while implementing various investment strategies. The General Assembly also authorized to establish securities lending programmes and enter into repurchase transactions.

2020 has been a challenging, yet successful, year for the Fund. We realize that we still have a lot of work ahead, but the achievements of 2020 provide us a solid foundation for the future, aiming at serving you best.  We want to thank the entire UNJSPF team for all their effort this year.

We wish you and your loved ones all the best in 2021. Stay safe.

Rosemarie McClean

Chief Executive of Pension Administration

Pedro Guazo

Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the assets of the UNJSPF

* The UNGA resolution will only be published in a few weeks as it needs to be translated in all UN official languages first.
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