State of the Fund: Finances
As you may know, the equity (or stock) markets have been performing quite well this year and the UNJSPF is no exception, reaching a record high over $63.1 billion (as of 29 November 2017). The year to date return is 16.76%. This is of course great news for all of us, helping to ensure that the Fund continues to be in a well-funded position.
Being well-funded can have a couple of different meanings, depending how the term is used. For accountants and those people who read and use the Fund's financial statements, well-funded means that assets are sufficient to cover the Fund's accrued liability, which is the amount of money needed to cover everyone's benefit if the plan were to terminate today. The UNJSPF currently has enough money to fully pay for the benefits owed to beneficiaries and the benefits earned to date for all participating staff members. (Benefits earned to date means the benefit based on years of contributory service and average PR rates as of today).
This well-funded status is a great situation to be in and you should have confidence regarding the security of your benefit. However, well-funded also has a different meaning for the Investment Management Division and Pension Board who set the investment strategy and monitor the long-term solvency of the Fund. In this case, from a long-term perspective, well-funded means that the current contribution rate of 23.7% of PR (paid 1/3 by staff members and 2/3 by member organizations) is expected to be sufficient for, at least, the next 30 years. That is, the money coming in (contributions and investment income) is enough to cover a) the money going out in benefit payments and b) the ongoing cost of future benefits not yet paid. This is also a great financial situation to be in.
Nairobi Pension Fund Liaison Office
The establishment of the UN Pension Fund Liaison Office in Nairobi, set up in March 2017 at the request and with the support of the United Nations Office in Nairobi’s (UNON) has proven to be very successful. The liaison office in Nairobi is well placed to help a large number of Pension Fund members and their employers.
The UNJSPF Nairobi office addresses all Pension Fund matters, from policy interpretation, understanding options, and in particular, capacity-building with the Human Resource/Finance community and staff at large. There is a large demand for individual consultations and so far the Office has been able to do more than 100 consultations per month. The majority of queries concern benefits options available, registering for online access in order to run estimates, interpreting estimates, preparing for separation, survivor’s benefits and completing the payment instructions form.
The Office has dedicated Wednesday mornings to meet with retirees on a first-come, first-served basis; no appointment is required. Retirees are also welcome to make an appointment for any other day of the week. Please share this information with any retirees or beneficiaries whom you may know and could take advantage of this service.
UNJSPF Nairobi Liaison Office - Contact details:
Focal Point: Ms. Peace Rachel Katimbo can be reached at extension 2-2441 or by direct dial +254 (0) 20 762 2441 and via the E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: HRMS, UNON, Block V - Ground Floor/Lobby Room 130
The UNJSPF New York and Geneva offices continue to provide services to the other duty stations - and resources permitting - conduct additional outreach missions to various field locations.
Second Round of Whiteboards in Development
UNJSPF is in the process of completing another 12 whiteboards in English and in French. In this new series topics to be covered include: Member Self-Service, Marriage, Divorce, non-traditional unions, digital security, what survivors need to know, two track and many other topics. As a plus, this new series of whiteboards, which explain complicated subjects with simple and easy to follow drawings, will have even more animation. The series will be launched in January 2018 through iSeek and the UNJSPF website (https://www.unjspf.org/whiteboard-videos/).
New Developments on the Website
For Participants: Updates on the Fund’s Estimate Tool (found through the Member Self-Service Portal)
Since deploying the new Integrated Pension Administration System or IPAS and launching the Members Self-Service feature in August 2016, the Funds’ estimate tool has had a number of issues that are slowly being resolved. Here is an update of the remaining known-issues that the Fund keeps updated on its website. If you encounter any anomalies concerning your estimate, please contact the Fund - go to the Contact Us tab on the UNJSPF website (www.unjspf.org)
• Please note that the Estimate Tool gives you your Deferred Retirement Benefits values at your Normal Retirement Age (60, 62, 65). If you wish to know the value of your Deferred Retirement Benefits at age 55 or 58 please contact the Fund (through the Contact Us form - https://www.unjspf.org/contact-us/);
• The Fund is aware that some participants who have restored a part of their contributory service have inaccurate estimations. If you believe that you fall into this category, please contact the Fund (go to the Contact Us form - https://www.unjspf.org/contact-us/);
• Estimates run by participants whose periods of contributory service include contributory service corresponding to Transfer-In from an outside international organization could have issues with their estimate using this tool, please contact the Fund (Contact Us form - https://www.unjspf.org/contact-us/) to ensure that your estimate is accurate;
• Estimates run by retirees who returned to active participation status for a new period of participation under Article 40 (Beneficiaries who have returned to work with a UNJSPF Member Organization) might have issues and we suggest you contact the Fund (Contact Us form - https://www.unjspf.org/contact-us/) to ensure the accuracy of your estimate;
• If you cannot see the “Estimate” tab on the left-hand menu on your MSS account, check your “Participation Status” under “Personal Information” and if you see that your “Participation Status” is “Inactive” please contact the Fund (Contact Us form - https://www.unjspf.org/contact-us/) for help;
• Please note, the term “Normal Retirement Age (NRA)” refers to the NRA for Pension purposes, which is determined by the date at which you qualified for UNJSPF participation and might differ from your Mandatory Age of Separation (which is determined by the Staff Regulations & Rules of your employing organization). Detailed explanations in this regard are available here: (“NRA vs Statutory Age of Separation”);
• If the “Proposed Separation Date” automatically filled in on your Estimate Tool is not your Normal Retirement Age (NRA), do not worry, please change the date manually using the drop down calendar;
• The PR rates in the Estimate Tool are updated annually, at the same time that Participants Pension Statements are released. If you wish to do an estimate using your current PR rate which changed since your last Pension Statement was released, please contact the Fund (Contact Us form - https://www.unjspf.org/contact-us/).
How should you contact the Fund?
There are three ways to contact the Pension Fund today.
The first, if you work in New York or Geneva or if you are visiting, you could have a face-to-face meeting with one of our Client Service specialists. For details, addresses and opening hours go the Contact Us page on the UNJSPF.org website.
The second way to contact us is to call the Fund through its Offices in New York or Geneva. Please call the office responsible for your case, if you know which one it is. Because we have a limited number of people, not all calls can be answered immediately, but in 2017 the Fund’s Client Services office in New York made some improvements to its answering capacity by establishing a phone answering center which works from Monday to Friday from, 07:00 am – 07:00 pm (New York time).
The best, easiest and most efficient way to contact the Fund is in writing through the Fund’s e-mail form on its website. Please do NOT send your query to a specific person in the Fund but submit your query through the online Contact Us form on the UNJSPF.org webpage (https://www.unjspf.org/contact-us/).
By using this online method, your inquiry will be identified by topic, tracked and directly routed to the correct UNJSPF office responsible for your case, either in New York or Geneva. An immediate automated response will be sent to you in reply, tailored to the specific topic for which you contacted the Fund, to provide you with an initial response and some helpful information while you await a detailed reply from the Fund addressing your specific issue. If you do not see such first level response within 2 business days, please check your junk mail for such response form the UNJSPF.
In the meantime, your query will be queued for in depth review and personalized response by a Pension Fund expert who will provide you with a reply. Queries are responded to in the chronological order they are received. The Fund aims to respond within 15 business days, but some queries, like Two-Track estimates may take longer, as they are very labor intensive.
All urgent queries relating to death (reporting of the death of a retiree or a beneficiary) or interruption of a monthly benefit payment, can be reported to the Fund through the E-mail Form on the website or you can write to two special email boxes. They are provided on the website on the page URGENT ASSISTANCE: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. These queries will be handled as absolute priorities and the Fund should contact you within 3 to max. 5 business days.
Retirees and Beneficiaries: LAST CALL for Submission of the 2017 Certificate of Entitlement (CE)
If you are a retiree or beneficiary of the Fund in receipt of a regular monthly benefit from the Fund which was in payment before 01 December 2016, you must submit to the Fund a duly dated and signed original, bar-coded 2017 CE form. The CE form must reach the Fund at the latest by 31 December 2017 to ensure the continued payment of your benefit.
For detailed information and guidance about the annual CE exercise and requirements, please refer to the Fund’s dedicated CE webpage on the unjspf.org website (https://www.unjspf.org/certificate-of-entitlement/).