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ILO access for retirees – badges

Category : News

Message received from the INTSERV Secretariat:

Dear Retired Colleagues,

Following the announcement made by the DDG/MR through broadcast dated 15 September 2022 (document attached) the ILO Building is once again open for entry to ILO retirees,
To be able to access the ILO, retired officials must update their access badge.
To do so, it will be necessary to go to the Accreditation office to activate the access rights of their respective badges.
Accreditation office’s opening hours: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. / 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Localization: Parking P1, R2-North.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Best regards.
INTSERV secretariat.

Pension Fund

Category : Message69

1 July 2022

Pedro Guazo is the Representative of the Secretary-General for the investments of the UNJSPF assets.

Dear participants, dear retirees and dear beneficiaries,

As confirmed by the last actuarial valuation, our Pension Fund is in a strong financial position and fully funded, even under the difficult global financial circumstances we are all facing. At the Office of Investment Management (OIM), we are ever mindful of our responsibilities not only as employees of the Fund, but also as participants and future retirees. Please be assured that the interests of the Fund are of paramount consideration in every decision we take.

Our Fund operates according to these three important values stemming from the values and principles of the United Nations:

1) we embrace our fiduciary duty to protect the assets of our Fund;

2) we are open and transparent and will always share information in a truthful way;

3) we are accountable to all our stakeholders, and we value productive and respectful dialogue.

As such, in keeping with our continuous commitment to transparency, we want to update you on the status of the plan to migrate – safely and effectively – the fixed income portfolio to the new asset allocation and benchmarks by September 2022, as endorsed by the Fund’s governing bodies in 2021.

Given the recent positive trend in the performance of two sub-asset classes of the fixed income portfolio, US Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities, OIM Fixed Income team will continue to manage 100 per cent of these two portfolios internally, compared to the previous plan to manage 50 per cent internally and 50 per cent externally.

Regarding the fixed income credit portfolio, the team will temporarily manage between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of this portfolio internally, and between 80 per cent and 85 per cent externally. This is a shift from the previous plan to temporarily manage the credit portfolio 100 per cent externally. Overall, the total part of the fixed income portfolio that will be temporarily managed externally will represent between 5 to 7 per cent of the Fund’s total assets, compared to 18 per cent under the previous plan.

As we have previously stated, these are short-term tactical decisions that will provide additional support in the management of certain portfolios to bridge capacity gaps inside the Office of Investment Management and ensure the safe and efficient management of the portfolios. Our Pension Fund has done this several times over its many years of successful operations without any issues in portfolios such as small capitalization public equities and even fixed income.  As such, it is foreseen that once the Fixed Income team reaches full capacity, including the recruitment of additional investment officers with the necessary expertise, the credit portfolio will be entirely managed on an internal basis. The OIM Fixed Income team will reassess this whole approach by 31 March 2023.

We are committed to the principle of managing the maximum percentage of our portfolios internally, since it is the most cost-effective approach.  However, we must also continually seek to mitigate risks in the management of those portfolios.

We are aware of the cost-benefit analysis undertaken by a group concerned about the plan to use external managers on a temporary basis for a part of the fixed income portfolio. We have reviewed the analysis and find it to be static and partial, without consideration of implementation risks or the current capabilities of the team, even suggesting that we tolerate underperformance for certain portfolios.

For those who wish to better understand what the fixed income portfolio is and the factors that the experts consider in its management, we once again invite you to follow the sessions being conducted by Mr. Tomasz Wojciechowski, Head of OIM Fixed Income team. You can find the recordings of the first five of the eight sessions and the meeting links to follow the forthcoming sessions on our website here. The remaining sessions will take place every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. New York time in the next three weeks.

Let me reiterate that the use of external managers is a short-term tactical approach to support the OIM teams with the capacity to manage specific portfolios or sub-portfolios. There is no strategy nor plan to completely outsource the management of the Fund’s assets. We are committed to continuing to manage the Fund’s portfolios safely and efficiently as ever. We hope that such assurances will provide peace of mind regarding the financial health of your pension.

Programme guidance letter from the Director-General-elect – 8 July 2022

Category : News

The newly elected Director General addressed to the staff on July 8, 2022 a letter of orientation for the Program and Budget for 2024-25.

Download the PDF file :
Programme guidance letter from the Director-General-elect Geneva – 8 July 2022

Report on the 80th General Assembly of AAFI-AFICS

Category : Message69

(Association des anciens fonctionnaires internationaux/Association of Former International Civil Servants)

On Tuesday 21 June 2022, after a three-year hiatus, AAFI-AFICS held its 80th General Assembly at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG).

The Former Officials Section is a member of the AAFI-AFICS Committee through its status as a “sister association”.

Participation in AAFI-AFICS meetings is of interest for several reasons. It allows us to keep in touch with the associations of former officials of other international organizations in Geneva, keep ourselves informed about their activities and familiarize ourselves with the role of the umbrella organization, FAFICS (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants).

Focusing on the activity report, without going into every agenda item, we should highlight an interesting presentation (especially as a comparison with our own SHIF) on the functioning of the health fund of UN Geneva, UNSMIS (United Nations Staff Mutual Insurance Society). After many years of struggle, AAFI-AFICS succeeded in getting the Executive Committee of this fund to agree that a representative of retired members, who previously had the status of observer, could now sit with full voting rights. This is clear progress, but as if to show that nothing is perfect in the best of all possible worlds, the member in question is chosen by co-option, unlike in the SHIF, where for many years there have been six members, either active or retired, who are ELECTED. We also learned that after a few years as members of the Cigna private fund – whose reputation needs no comment from us – insured staff at the ITU (having quit the SHIF a decade or so ago) noticed the exponential growth in their insurance premiums and the limits on the benefits received and decided to join the rather more solidarity-based and mutual UNSMIS fund. This is good news and brings things full circle.

At this session, in addition to the regular agenda items, participants were able to attend a presentation by representatives of the UNJSPF. An update was provided on the progress of computerization and facial recognition enabling the annual DCE (Digital Certificate of Entitlement) to be introduced alongside the existing system of submission by post or via the internet (Member Self-Service). The DCE app has so far been downloaded by about 11,000 retired staff out of a total of 60,000. To facilitate access, measures to simplify the process are under way: step-by-step videos are available in English and French on the UNJSPF website. For those who do not like the automated approach, the original paper-based system is still available.

Another point of clarification, intended to be reassuring, was also offered by the UNJSPF representatives concerning the controversy last spring (2022) over the possible outsourcing of part of the investment portfolio and the petition circulated against it. This is a thorny issue on which not all current or former staff associations and unions necessarily agree with their elected representatives on the Joint Staff Pension Board: some justify the need for external expertise lacking within the Fund, while others warn of the risk of opaque investments attracting the voracious wolves of finance. As for the Board itself, following its recent reform, it met for the first time in April 2022 and will have its plenary meeting, as usual, this summer. We will follow its developments and decisions closely.

Aperitifs in hand, the meeting ended on a festive and musical note, much appreciated by participants starved of opportunities to get together for the past three years.

Catherine Comte Tiberghien, 28 June 2022

Tribute to Robert Falaize (1925-2022)

Category : Message69

Robert Falaize’s coffin was bedecked with the tricolour of France at his funeral ceremony in the church of Notre Dame in Geneva on 8 March 2022. Robert had begun his life of activism at an early age: as mentioned in his ILO job application, at just 17 he became a member in 1942 of the civil and military organization known as the Resistance. Robert was born in Caen in 1925 and his city experienced weeks of fierce fighting and destruction after the June ’44 Normandy landings. He then volunteered for the Free French Forces and was a trainee pilot from 1944 to 1946.

As a teenager, Robert obtained a commercial education diploma. After his military service, he worked for various French local papers as a reporter and subeditor, as well as on the technical side and in sales, and held a press card. In 1949 he was accepted by the ILO for a job as a French-language shorthand typist, category III. In parallel, between 1953 and 1957 he resumed his studies in political science, obtaining a doctorate in Lausanne.

An article he wrote for a French newspaper in 1955 on working conditions in the textile industry brought him to the attention of his superiors. He became secretary/registrar of the ILO Administrative Tribunal. From 1960 onwards, he carried out several missions in Latin America, in particular to the Autonomous Trade Union School in Lima, then to Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, becoming a point of reference in the area of workers’ education through the publication of manuals and bulletins. In 1969 he was assigned to the Mexico Office, then returned to Geneva before being seconded in 1974 to the Paris Office as Deputy Director. He was appointed Director of the Mexico Office in 1979 and awarded the Medal of the Order of the Aztec Eagle of Mexico. In 1982 he retired.

I first met Robert when I joined the Bureau of the Former Officials Section. I was 60 and he was 85. Still a very active member of the ILO’s retiree structure, he had been a founding member of the Section in 1982, feeling the need with a few Union colleagues to set up a body where retired staff could voice their concerns as well as allowing a valuable link to be maintained with ILO employees, the Staff Union and the administration. Robert was, at the time I knew him, still a member of the Editorial Board of Union, the Staff Union magazine, and continued for several years until his strength began to fail him. In 1987 he was the first editor of the Letter to Former Officials, which was succeeded by Message. He was available in 2012 to help revamp the ILO Arts Circle whose president had just passed away. When he left the Bureau of the Former Officials Section in 2016, he was made an honorary member. His wife Carmen, a member of the Arts Circle, was always very much alongside him and a great support.

Robert leaves us at the age of 97 after a long and fulfilling life of service to others and many years of struggle with illness and the inexorable ageing process. His fight for life was the equal of all his engagement over the best part of a century. Robert has entered into our consciousness and remains the exemplar of a militant for us all to follow.

François Kientzler
Executive Secretary
ILO Former Officials Section