UN Pension Fund Seeks Adviser to Suggest Board Changes

Fund is asking for a wide range of ideas on structural changes to its oversight.

The $67.8 billion United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund is seeking a consultant to advise on its overall governance structure.  The fund has issued a request for expression of interest (EOI) for an “experienced professional adviser” with expertise in pension fund governance matters “to conduct a comprehensive and objective analysis of the governance of the fund.”

Specifically, the fund is looking for an expert adviser in defined benefit (DB) pension plan governance to provide recommendations for changes to structure of the fund’s pension board. The board is the main oversight, policy-making and decision-making body of the fund, and is entrusted with the overall administration of the fund and reports to the UN General Assembly.

The board also provides recommendations to the UN General Assembly for the approval of the fund’s budget and changes in its regulations, including amendments to the plan’s design. It also recommends the appointment of the chief executive and the deputy chief executive of pension administration  to the UN Secretary-General.

The EOI said the fund is looking for firms that can give recommendations on possible changes to the pension board’s size, composition and frequency of meetings; on its allocation of seats, as well as implementation of a review and rotation scheme for the adjustment of the board’s composition on a regular basis; and how to allow eligible member organizations to share rotating seats in a fair and equitable manner.

The fund is also looking for recommendations on terms of reference for the chair and all board members, “including the issue of conflict of interest” as well as suggestions on self-evaluation methodology and any appropriate restrictions or limitations of the board and its standing committee. Additionally, it is looking for ideas on any other aspects that may be identified as relevant for the proper governance of the fund, including the development of a code of conduct for board members.

Following the request of the General Assembly, the adviser is required to provide a recommendation for a reform of the governance structure of the fund. The report will need to provide specific guidance on the size and composition of the board, its roles and responsibilities, and the board’s procedures and its committees.

“The adviser needs to draw on the best practices developed by leading public pension plans and other multiple employer pension funds in the world and provide recommendations to build a reform strategy for the UNJSPF governance,” said the EOI, which added that “the report should include a transition strategy should such recommendations include significant changes to the structure.”

A draft of the report must be provided to the fund at its 67th session in July, and will then be submitted, with the comments of the pension board, to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, which will take up the item in the fourth quarter of this year. Interested vendors must be registered with the United Nations Global Marketplace so they can participate in the request for proposal at a later stage.

The request comes just a month after the start of Rosemarie McClean’s tenure as the fund’s new chief executive of pension administration. She succeeded Janice Dunn Lee, acting CEO, as head of the fund’s secretariat, with the new title that was decided by the General Assembly in December.

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