The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board considered a wide range of topics on its Agenda covering all aspects of the Fund’s activities. Principal among these were;
The Fund is in a strong actuarial position. The current valuation – completed as of 31 December 2017 – revealed a deficit of 0.05 per cent of pensionable remuneration. The Committee of Actuaries noted that this was a second consecutive valuation in which the Fund is seen as being close to actuarial balance.
In terms of investments, the Board noted the Secretary-General’s decision to rename the Investment Management Division as the Office of Investment Management (OIM), effective immediately. As at the end of 2017 the assets of the Fund (investments and cash of the Fund managed by OIM, which does not include cash held by the Fund Secretariat) were valued at US$ 64.1 billion, an increase of US$ 9.7 billion for the year.It was noted by the Representative of the Secretary General (RSG) that strong global equity markets during 2017 and a disciplined approach of adhering closely to the Fund’s Strategic Asset Allocation targets and ranges had contributed to this performance.
For the calendar year 2017 the Fund achieved a nominal return of 18.6 per cent outperforming the policy benchmark of 18.1 and a real return of 16.2 per cent, 12.7 per cent above the long-term real rate of return objective of 3.5 per cent in USD terms.
In this regard, the Board also received the report of its Assets and Liabilities Monitoring Committee which confirmed that the Fund continues to be well funded, since 2003 the actuarial results have remained within the corridor of +/- 2% pensionable remuneration approved by the Board.
The Assets and Liability Monitoring Committee drew the Board’s attention to two moderate risk factors: i) the real rate of return as the most critical for the long term solvency of the Fund; and ii) trends in increased life expectancy.
The Fund’s Audit Committee submitted its twelfth report to the Board. It was noted that the Fund was at a turning point, presenting risks and opportunities. A new RSG had been appointed but the prolonged absence of the CEO and the imminent departure of the Deputy CEO mean that a full leadership team is not in place.
The Audit Committee noted that the Fund is well funded and in a stable financial and operational position. Good progress had been made in reducing outstanding caseload and decreasing processing times. It pointed out that while most of the Committee’s recommendations had been implemented or were being worked on, some areas required continued attention.
In addition, to the Fund’s usual administrative matters, the Board this year received a report from the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in to the Governance of the Fund. The Board, as auditee, decided to consider the OIOS final audit report despite significant reservations with regard to the audit process. As a result the Board decided to submit the report to the Independent Audit Advisory Committee of the United Nations for consideration. The Board established a working group to consider issues impacting its effectiveness in the long term.
During this session, the Board also decided to establish a Succession Planning Committee, which would assist the Board, on an ongoing basis, in selecting Senior Staff, particularly the CEO and Deputy CEO. In this context, the current Deputy CEO agreed to continue until 31 December 2018 and the Board made a recommendation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations with regard to the appointment of a new Deputy CEO.
The Board continues to be confident that the Fund is safe and that its future is secure.
The Board will meet again in July 2019, in Nairobi.