Bulletin 37

Autumn 2008

  1. Editorial
  2. Committee Activities
  3. Treasurer's Report
  4. Permanences
  5. Obituary
  6. The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)
  7. The Pension Fund
  8. SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees

Editorial

(Original French)

Not a stroke of luck!

In the financial storm that hit us, let's light a candle to the wise founders of the Pension Fund and warmly thank those, Association, Administrators of the Fund and our delegates from the GAC-EPA, who today are united to keep the course.   They know how to be firm and also pragmatic to ensure the continuity of the services to the present and future retired staff.

Contact

We are looking for ways to contact each of you to communicate faster and more economically than by post:  useful information, but also requests to support our actions or the morale of your delegates.  For those of you who have not done it yet, please send us your e-mail address by dropping a line to our association's mailbox:  gac-epa@gac-epa.org or: gac-epa@gac-epa.org (indifferently).  To write directly to a member of the committee, see their addresses on the structure chart .  All addresses have the form firstname.lastname@gac-epa.org

Volunteers sought

And here a message for our friends of English mother tongue:

With affection and emotion I say good-bye to Malcolm Dykes and Norman Blackburne who have translated your Bulletin during many years.  For private reasons they would now like to pass this task to young retirees.  Despite his current state of health, Jim Allaby was so kind to help me out for this edition.  As editor, I would like to find help for him when needed. Therefore I thank you in advance if you could signal your availability to give him a helping hand at either jim.allaby@gac-epa.org (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service) or at gac-epa@gac-epa.org

Season's greetings to all!

Jean-Marie THOMAS

Committee Activities

(Original French)

March to October 2008

The Committee comprised 21 members following the elections of Autumn 2007 and the co-option of R. Cailliau.  The seat reserved for the representative of our colleagues of ESO stayed vacant.  The Committee met six times during the period covered with an average presence of 15 members, under the President Horst Wenninger.  The most important points dealt with by the Committee were the following:

Statutary Activities:

Elections

We must go first to the partial renewal of the Committee in December 2008, since the mandate of 10 of the 20 Committee members comes to an end on 31 December 2008.

This concerns:

The Committee thanks them for their help at the two preceding exercises and for some of them for earlier exercises.

We do not need to renew the verifiers of the accounts since their mandates are valid until the end of 2009.

A call for candidates for the elections has been sent out.

General Assembly of the GAC-EPA

The AGM was held on 2 April 2008 with the participation of 320 Members and 142 Members represented.

This AGM was followed the same day by an Extra-ordinary AGM where the modifications to our statutes, made necessary following the adoption by the CERN Council of the new management of the Pension Fund were proposed.

The minutes of these two meetings have been sent to you with the documents relative to the elections of 2008.

Our new Statutes

Following their presentation to the Extra-ordinary AGM, the new Statutes were submitted to an approval in writing by all the members of the GAC-EPA.

The results of this vote were:

Bulletins sent: 1750
Bulletins received: 786
Participation: 45%
Yes: 770   No: 12   Zero: 4

The new rules came into force on 1st September 2008.

Relations with the Staff Association

Our contacts with the Staff Association have depended above all on the problems of our Pension Fund.

As you know the new structure of the management of the Pension Fund has been operational since 1st October, and our representative in the new Administrative Council has become a member with right of vote.

The tasks which fall on the Administrative Council are numerous and have been split up into four working groups dealing with the revision of the statutes, financial principles, selection of experts and the choice of a manager.  From our point of view, as well as that of the Staff Association, the thorny and most difficult problem is that of the structural deficit resulting from the under-financing of the Fund.  This under-capitalisation leaves us very vulnerable to fluctuations in the markets.  We will carry on our efforts with the Staff Association to find solutions to this problem.

The article of F. Wittgenstein gives you more precise information on these topics. It informs you equally on the appeals to the Tribunal Administrative of BIT which contest the under-indexation of our pensions.  There again the GAC-EPA gives us support.

The other articles of our delegates in this bulletin give you the latest information on our medical insurance, and on the advancement of the work on the guarantee of our pensions.

Relation with the retirees present and future

There have been five permanences assured by 4 members of the GAC-EPA during the period covered, to reply to questions touching the retirement of future and new pensioners or retirees preoccupied by a particular problem in this domain.

We have obtained from the Administration the resumption of seminars for preparation to retirement.

Our Web site has benefited from a serious overhaul following the intervention of R. Cailliau.  Please pay it a visit and give us your opinion.  Do not forget that the change in the title of our group carries a change in our site address Web:  http://www.gac-epa.org/

The next occasion to meet us will be at our Christmas drink planned for Wednesday 26 November 2008 at 16:30.

Jean-Claude GOUACHE

Treasurer's Report

(original: French)
Profits and loss account 2006/2007

Receipts 40'208.70 CHF
Expenses 47'047.08 CHF
Reserve -6'838.38 CHF

Subscriptions amount to 39'750.00 CHF

The Committee decided to contribute 13,50 CHF per
member of GAC to the Staff Association, i.e. 20'871.00 CHF

The provisional budget for 2007 amounts to 47'200.00 CHF

The minutes of the General Assembly of
2 April 2008 gives details of the budget.

Members as of 15 October 2008 1'766 persons

Robert JACOB, Stephan PICHLER

Permanences

(Original français)

February to November 2008

The meetings known as “permanences” held periodically, normally on the first Tuesday of the month, remain a real necessity to reply to questions from beneficiaries of the Pensions Fund, above all for future beneficiaries, who do not always find the information which they need before they leave the Organisation.

From April to October 2008, we have received the visit of about thirty persons

The problems raised most of the time, with more or less complexities, were the following, with respect of the confidentiality:

The Office of Permanences is open to all pensioners and to staff members approaching their retirement.  The sessions are one-on-one and confidential.

The Office of Permanences is open from 14:00 to 16:00 on the first Tuesday of the month (changes, if they occur, will be published in ECHO, the Bulletin of the Staff Association).

In 2009 the days are: (not January), 3 February, 3 March, 7 April, 5 May, 2 June, (not July and August), 1 September, 6 October, 3 November, 1 December.

Françoise, who for many years has participated very actively and with all her heart in the activities of the Permanences, has decided to step down at the end of the year.  The Committee of the Permanences and the GAC-EPA Committee thank her warmly for her unrelenting commitment.

The members responsible for the Permanences wish you the best health, and will be happy to receive your visit on some future Tuesday in the new year!

René BARTHELEMY, Françoise BEETSCHEN-BUTTAY,
Antoine BLIN, Alain BURLET

Obituary

We have learned with regret of the deaths of our former colleagues named below:

Paul GAILLARD-GRENADIER (1931) ex-AS 24 February 2008
Paul FAUGERAS (1938) ex-AC 17 March 2008
Frank KRIENEN (1917) ex-EP 20 March 2008
Daniel BOIS (1929) ex-LEP 27 March 2008
Roland FEUILLASSIER (1940) ex-EST 14 April 2008
François GRABOWSKI (1939) ex-SL 19 April 2008
Joseph NEBOUT (1941) ex-EST 24 April 2008
Marcel SERRE (1920) ex-SB 30 April 2008
Jean ARDIN (1930) ex-AC 2 May 2008
Maurice REGARD (1924) ex-SB 4 May 2008
Albert THIELAND (1934) ex-ST 22 May 2008
Robert ROCHAT (1942) ex-SL 22 May 2008
Anthony SULLIVAN (1933) ex-TIS 26 May 2008
Robert VAUDROZ (1917) ex-SB 10 June 2008
Jean GUILLAUME (1941) ex-PS 10 June 2008
Léon GERARD (1923) ex-SB 27 June 2008
Gordon MUNDAY (1922) ex-DG 28 July 2008
René GAILLOUD (1928) ex-PS 5 August 2008
André ROCHEX (1936) ex-PS 9 August 2008
Louis LEVRAT (1910) ex-SB 26 August 2008
René MALEYRAN (1939) ex-PPE 29 August 2008
Horst WACHSMUTH (1933) ex-EP 8 September 2008
Jean-Paul BUATHIER (1918) ex-PS 9 September 2008
Hans ANDERS (1923) ex-DD 11 September 2008
Marianne WITTWER (1943) ex-AS 11 September 2008
Yves GRANDJEAN (1937) ex-ECP 1 October 2008

and of the death of other beneficiaries of the Pension Fund:

Eldegard BRAUNERSREUTHER (1923) (veuve de Eberhardt, ex PS) 20 April 2008
Paula VERHEYDEN-LEFEBURE (1914) (veuve de André, ex-FI) 5 May 2008
Mafalda MENDOLA (1924) (veuve d’Onofrio, ex-EP) 16 May 2008
Hanna BERTHOLET-BÄHLER (1923) (veuve de Pierre, ex-EF) 13 June 2008
Alice NICOLLE (1924) (veuve d’Emile, ex-SB) 20 June 2008
Chantal CRAPON DE CRAPONA (1928) (veuve de Pierre, ex-DG) 28 June 2008
Lina LAYDEVANT (1916) (veuve de Joseph, ex-HS) 10 August 2008
Monique LEROY (1941) (veuve de Jean-Pierre, ex-ST) 2 September 2008
Josiane YERLY-DELY (1936) (veuve de Marcel, ex-EF) 17 September 2008
Giovanni RUOCCO (1939) (veuf d’Yvonne, ex-PPE) 24 September 2008

On behalf of all members of GAC, the Committee sends its sincerest sympathy to the bereaved families.

If you wish to write a word of sympathy to the bereaved family you can send it via the CERN Pension Fund, which has the address but is not authorised to give it to third parties.

The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)

(Original French)

The main developments concerning our Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS) during the last six months are described below.

Administration

Since 1st July 2008, Th. Petterson has replaced S. Weisz as president of the CHIS Board.

Financial situation

The state of repayments at the end of the first semester of 2008 was presented to us by Mme Burcher of UNIQA.  The total increase in payments during this period was 10%.  For the principal posts one has kept 9.3% for hospital care whereby it is difficult to distinguish between increased costs and late bills from HUG.  One has noticed an 18% increase in the costs of dental care, caused by an increased number of cases, linked perhaps to the arrival of visitors insured by the system.  We have had several severe cases which weighed on the accounts given the relatively low number of insured staff.

One observes again an increase of 22% in paramedical charges for dependent persons due to the increase in the number of cases.  The financial incidence is small because these charges only represent 1.3% of the total.

UNIQA observes also the appearance of new techniques and new, more expensive drugs.  By comparison, the Geneva Office of Statistics has just published the corresponding results for Geneva where the global increase is 6.2%, but 34.3% for hospital care.

The future of CHIS

The working group on the future of CHIS has held its first two meetings essentially to establish a list of priorities which need to be treated:  notably the evolution of costs, contributions and re-imbursement tariffs.  It will be necessary to establish precise guidelines which cannot be done without a study of recent actuarial information and a full knowledge of the cost of health in Geneva and in neighbouring France, and their perspectives for the future.

Relations with UNIQA

UNIQA has treated during this first semester 30'450 requests for reimbursement and has received 93 complaints:  it thus seems that those insured with us are happy with the work of UNIQA.

Tender

As you know, we are held by the financial rules of CERN to issue a tender for the management contract of CHIS.  The market study was done and we have the results.  The tender will be launched soon.  The calendar is such that we must make a proposal for the award of the contract by the Finance Committee next June, in view of a new contract from 1st January 2010.

Dependency

On 31st December, 85 persons were recognized as being dependent, 27 at grave level and 42 at average level, or an increase of more than 36% compared with 1st January 2007.

EHPAD

This establishment is now operational and the 5 beds on which CERN has a priority were allocated to 5 dependent persons.

Jean-Paul Diss, Pierre Lazeyras, Robert Muzelier

The Pension Fund

What is happening?
State at 12 October 2008

Since our last minutes, the Administrative Council (CACP) met on 31 March, 17 May, 19 June and 1 September.

During these meetings the main dealings were about the preparation of reports for the Finance Committee and Council on the actuarial report and the recommendations of the CACP.  Working Groups reported on the advancement of their work and Group 3 achived selection of two experts for the Investment Committee.  These two persons started in August but without right of vote, pending the approval by Council of the new rules on the Investment Committee.  One of the two is a Swiss personality, the other British.  The Committee discussed at length the internal and external auditor's reports and the new distribution of the PensionFund's assets.  An appeal against the indexation procedure of pensions is goingn on and a judgement is expected for the beginning of next year. A new appeal was lodged during the summer for the same subject.

Despite the recommendation of the CACP of measures suggested on the actuarial study, the Council postponed its decision about an increase of contributions by 0.76%, which would have cost the Organization 2MCHF (of a total budget of 1000MCHF!) on the pretext that reports on the restructuring of the Pension Fund had still not been presented.

One of the CACP experts will leave, we are looking for a replacement candidate.

The "invisible hand" that should have regulated the markets seems to have put its foot in its mouth (…!) and the crisis that agitates the financial and economic worlds is far from resolved.  Some orders of magnitude may help imagining the problems:

In December 2007 the mass of derived products exceeded a million billions, compared with the 700 billions of the Paulson plan, or the 50'000 billions representing the total annual output of the world or the 100'000 billion representing the total of the planet's values in shares and bonds.

On 1 October 2007 the total value of Swiss shares was estimated at 1'400 billion CHF, amount today reduced to about 850 billion or a loss of 550 billion (-40%) through a succession of stock market crashes.

The VIX index lets one estimate the volatility of the markets:  it goes up if the stock market tradings are expected to be more erratic.

 

The term "Crash" appears in 1873 at the crash of the exchanges of Vienna and Berlin. It is therefore an ancient term.  The most famous crashes are those of 1637 (Amsterdam), 1720 (Paris) , 1873 (Vienna), 1882 (Paris), 1929 (NewYork), 1987 (NewYork), 1998 (Moscow), 1998 (Bangkok), 2000 (New York), 2001 (New York).

The explosion of "derived products" is present in the behaviour of all economic agents, who are hyperactive without producing any added value whatsoever.  This gigantic bubble of derived products is now deflating, producing the collateral damages that we can all observe and the consequences of which we will unfortunately experience.

In the CERN Bulletin 41/42 of 6/13 October the Administrator of the Pension Fund reminded the readers of the principles of investments definded by the CACP and approved by Council, and cites a negative return of 7% at end June.  Since then one may estimate that this figure may have doubled.  Nevertheless, the Pension Fund is at this time very liquid and should be able to profit from the interesting opportunities as soon as the markets have returned to stability.

(the information used above came from La Tribune de Genève, Le Monde, Rue 89, Finanz und Wirtschaft.)

François WITTGENSTEIN, Jean-Claude GOUACHE

SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees

(original French)

The Pension Fund has a new management structure since end 2007.  In this context working groups were created by the Fund's Administrative Council to study in detail certain questions.

The mandate of Working Group 2 was to examine three of the four points that were originally given to the working group on pension guarantees, i.e.:

The fourth point to be examined — the healh insurance of the beneficiaries of the Foundation — remains in principle a task of the working group on pension guarantees. Details of the follow-up of the work are yet to be defined.

Edith DELUERMOZ, Carlo VANDONI