1 JULY 2014
|PENSION FUND: MAIN CONCERN OF GENERAL MEETING OF FORMER U.N. STAFF
The General Meeting of AFICS (Association of Former International Civil Servants) had a long list of items to review. Yet the main subject of interest
was the status of the Pension Fund. For several months, there were questions raised about attempts to control it or influence its investments. Those
gathered in Conference Room II of the U.N. New York compound on 3 June knew their subject well and did their homework.
Aware of the wide concern, the "Chair" tried to contain the issue by giving the Chief Executive Officer of the UNJSPF, Sergio Arvizu, about an
hour to speak. He wanted more, perhaps, hoping his listeners would doze-off, listening to figures and seeing lists of tables. Backed by facts,
Mr. Arvizu repeatedly confirmed that: 1) the Fund was doing very well at a time when many funds in the U.S. and Europe were failing, and (2) that
status was not by accident but because of hard professional inclusive wide-range efforts.
No one disputed the elaborate presentation. Some thought that precisely because the Fund was doing well when others failed that some outside sources
would be angling to exercise practical influence to control it. Attempting to contain the atmosphere, the "Chair" insisted on getting only questions
but no comments. Experienced former staff placed their comments in the form of questions: "Why do you think there is such anxiety amongst our
colleagues?" (Wide applause.) "Would you feel confident despite political intervention?" The question: "What is the role of the Secretary General or members of
his office in directing the Fund?" signaled a determination to keep eyes wide open.
Incidentally, six members of AFICS' Executive Committee were elected. A newly-elected colleague is Deborah Landey, a dynamic experienced manager at
UNDP. A new President will be selected. Let's hope that will be one step towards fixing AFICS.