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New Year's message from Rosemarie McClean and Pedro Guazo on the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund

3 January 2024

Dear UNJSPF Participants, Retirees and Beneficiaries,

As the new year starts, let us briefly look back at 2023 and provide you with an outlook for 2024.

We have reason to celebrate our 75 years of history, with the Fund in a solid financial situation and with effective services to clients, while modernization efforts continue.

In terms of pension administration, performance was excellent in 2023, with nearly 93% of benchmarked initial entitlement and recalculation cases processed within 15 business days. All payments have continued to be issued on time while, in relation to geopolitical challenges, the Fund has explored and set up new payment channels to ensure the timely transfer of benefit payments in some affected countries. The Fund today provides payments in 18 different currencies in more than 190 countries.

With regard to investment performance, the value of the Fund assets has significantly recovered, with a preliminary value of US$88.3 billion as of 29 December 2023. This represents an annual increase of more than US$10.4 billion from December 2022. In respect of the Fund’s short-term (3-year) investment objective, our performance was on average 0.48% per annum above the institutional policy benchmark. As a crucial element in the Fund’s financial sustainability, the long-term (15 years and longer) real rate of return was more than 1 percentage point above 3.5% per annum, which is the Fund’s current long-term investment objective. The long-term sustainability of the Fund will be formally appraised through the next biennial actuarial valuation, which will be undertaken during 2024 and results will be reported later in the year.

Additionally, the most recent comparison of the UN Pension Fund's investment performance with other global pension funds, mandated by the UN General Assembly, revealed the UNJSPF’s effectiveness, with management cost 30% lower than its peers.

At the same time, the Fund’s efforts in sustainable investing have strengthened and were internationally recognized. As a member of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, the Fund hosted their Annual General Meeting in September 2023. The Fund also became an investor participant of Nature Action 100, the first global investor engagement initiative to address the urgent crisis of nature and biodiversity loss around the world.

Meanwhile, the Fund has continued to modernize its operations, further simplifying and digitalizing interactions with its clients. In addition to expanding our outreach through our public website, social media channels, educational videos, e-learning, and extranet with member organizations, we strengthened our transparency efforts by organizing a UNJSPF global townhall meeting and through our key publications: the Annual Letter, Annual Report, The Fund in brief, The UNJSPF at 75, the TCFD report, and our first Voting and Engagement reports.

We are particularly proud that one of our flagship projects, the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE) app, has been awarded the Government Blockchain Association’s Social Impact Award, and hit the mark of 30,000 retirees and beneficiaries submitting their proof of life digitally in 2023.

This initiative not only yielded great efficiency gains for the Fund, but it has also saved thousands of pieces of paper and mailing costs for our clients.

In 2024, the Fund plans to further improve services to clients by enhancing its client survey capability, and deploying UNJSPF-Connect, a modern customer relationship management system.

All these efforts are made possible thanks to the strong support of the Pension Board and the UN General Assembly, which has just adopted its 2023 resolution on pension matters, including the approval of our administrative budget for 2024.

Our governing bodies’ sustained support in providing us with guidance and adequate resources translate immediately into outstanding results.

Along with the Fund’s 24 member organizations and the UNJSPF staff, we stand committed to serving you. We thank you for your trust and send you our best wishes for 2024.

Rosemarie McClean is the Chief Executive of Pension Administration and Pedro Guazo is the Representative of the Secretary-General for the investments of the assets of the Fund.

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