Bulletin 38

Spring 2009

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

President's remarks

The Committee was saddened by the death of two of its members:  Robert Muzelier and Jim Allaby.  These two colleagues, having spent most of their professional lives at CERN, on their retirement decided to represent and defend the interests of the pensioners.

This commitment to the Association represents a heavy voluntary workload:  we shall remember Robert and Jim!

I should also like to thank those members who have left the Committee after several years of active participation, those who continue to contribute actively and our newly-elected members.

Horst Wenninger

Editorial

(Original French)

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of two of our Committee members.  We sorely miss them!

Four of our members, Susan Maio, Eddie Roebuck, Patricia Shinnie and Suzanne von Wartburg have offered to translate this Bulletin into English.  Many thanks to all four!

Please take the opportunity to send us your e-mail address at comittee@gac-epa.org.

Whilst you prepare to leave for a stimulating, relaxing or cultural holiday, it only remains for me to wish you Godspeed and plenty of wonderful and warm encounters:  go with an open heart and mind and you will surely come back enriched.

PS: don’t forget to take this Bulletin along with you to read on the beach!

I am also thinking of those whose failing health restricts their lives and everyday contacts. May you also find a little joy to brighten the gloomy days.

Have a good summer everybody – till next autumn.

Jean-Marie THOMAS

Committee Activities

(Original French)

October 2008 to April 2009

The 2008 Committee, presided by Horst Wenninger or Philippe Bernard, consisting of 20 elected members and one appointed member (the seat foreseen for ESO retirees being vacant), met six times during the period in question, with an average participation of 17 members.

The most important points covered during these meetings are as follows:

Statutary Activities:

Results of the elections and composition of the new Committee

The present Committee has officially been in office since 1 January 2009.  It results from elections, which took place in the autumn of 2008, to renew ten members whose term of office came to an end on 31 December 2008. The Vice-President, the Treasurer and three Staff Association delegates were among the past members. The deputy Treasurer and the Secretary (also a Staff Association delegate) did not wish to be re-elected. The ten other Committee members, of whom five were Staff Association delegates, were elected in 2007. We do not have to elect auditors this year since their term of office only finishes at the end of 2009.

A call for candidates for this election was sent out to GAC-EPA members at the beginning of September 2008.  Ten candidates applied for the ten posts to be filled in the Committee, to replace the seven retiring members and three new members.

Counting of the votes by 16 scrutineers took place on 26 November 2008 and gave the following results:

Elected as new committee members:  (note: NC = new candidate)

  Votes % of votes
BERNARD Philippe 717 97%
BARTHELEMY René 716 97%
JACOB Robert 690 93%
VANDONI Carlo 688 93%
GOUACHE Jean-Claude 682 92%
BURLET Alain 680 92%
MUZELIER Robert 671 91%
HOWIENC Gillian Mary 658 89%
VIALISNC Jean-Claude 652 88%
DANESINNC Mario 647 87%

Participation rate: 42% (742 of the 1750 voting forms distributed were returned)

The new Committee, comprising ten newly-elected members, ten members elected in 2007 and two members who did not stand for re-election, Françoise Beetschen-Buttay and Stephan Pichler, met for the first time on 5 December 2008.  Horst Wenninger was unanimously re-elected President and proposed that Philippe Bernard should remain Vice-President.  The Committee then modified certain functions for 2009:

In conformity with article 14 of our rules, the new Committee also approved Horst Wenninger’s proposal

The President and the Committee thanked Gilles Lindecker and Stephan Pichler for numerous services rendered during their years of mandate. The Committee finally noted that the seat allocated to a representative of the ESO retirees, who are members of the Pension Fund, remains vacant for the time being.

As you have read, our Committee was deeply affected by the deaths at a few weeks’ interval at the beginning of 2009 of Robert Muzelier and Jim Allaby. At the meeting which took place on 6 March, the Committee decided that Alain Burlet would take over Robert Muzelier’s duties as delegate to the Staff Council of the Staff Association and would also participate in the CHIS Board and the Social Protection Board. The social and cultural activities have been transferred to Jean-Claude Vialis, who is also the Committee’s representative to the Mutal Aid Fund.

Inspect the Structure Chart of the Committee resulting from these decisions.

Relations with the CERN Administration

As we informed you, we have managed to obtain the resumption of the “Preparation for Retirement” seminars. A representative of the HR Department came to our last General Assembly to speak about the coming seminars. They will take place for half a day on 11, 13, 25 and 27 November 2009. Interested persons aged between 58 and 65 are invited to attend and will be contacted by HR Division to enrol. We also had several meetings with E. Mosselmans/HR in order to set up a place/reference person from the Administration where retirees’ questions can be treated. Finally a cycle of conferences on cerebral ageing was organised in collaboration with CERN’s Medical Service. These conferences were well received.

Relations with the Staff Association

In close collaboration with the Staff Association, the GAC-EPA has been keeping a strict eye on the work of the Administration Council of the Pension Fund, which is under new management, during the current financial crisis.

As you can see in the following pages, the benefits from our assets which were supposed to rise by 5% in 2008, in fact came in as a loss of 19%, i.e. 24% below the objective.  Our Pension Fund is however not exceptional since the reference Funds to which it can be compared are at the same level.  This underlines yet again that the Fund is unbalanced by a structural deficit which implicates all our Member States and its exposure to market fluctuations make it particularly susceptible to the greater variations going on at the present time.

The appeals to ILO which were launched by the Staff Association and in the preparation of which the Committee assisted, have all been rejected. Concerning the appeal on the under-indexation of pensions, the reason for which we think may be found in the structural deficit, it is regrettable that the Tribunal should choose not to look closely at the content but simply based its rejection on a formal legal argument.

Another important subject to which the Committee, together with the Association, contributed is our health insurance scheme.  You will see later on that our scheme had a deficit in 2008.  Our participation in the working group on the future of the CHIS, whose mandate is to present proposals to remedy this situation, is therefore crucial if, as you have expressed in your replies to the questionnaire that we submitted to you, the quality of the benefits is to be preserved.

Our nine delegates to the Staff Association Council took part in the commissions set up by the Association.  The structure chart will remind you of the areas where we participate.

In order to widen our knowledge of the problems which retirees from the international organizations can encounter, the Committee had a meeting with the President of the Association of Former International Civil Servants from the UN family, accompanied by the person in charge of pension questions in this Association.

Relation with the retirees present and future

Four members of the Committee were on call at four different times during the period covered.  The principal preoccupations concern fiscal declarations and taxes.  We must remind you that the Group can only play an advisory role and cannot intervene directly with the fiscal authorities and that the members must consult their respective administrations with the references to the regulatory texts with which the Group can provide them.

A number of retirees replied positively to the invitation to our Christmas party on 26 November 2008.  On this occasion Horst Wenninger had asked the President of the Administrative Council of the Pension Fund and the Administrator to comment on the market situation and its impact on our Fund.

Our website has been improved again during the recent months.  Robert Cailliau demonstrated during the last General Assembly the wealth of information and services now available.  In particular, the request of several members who wished to be able to consult the main presentations given during the General Assembly have been taken into account.

Finally in order to communicate quickly with as many of you as possible in case of necessity, we urge you to send us your e-mail address by sending a mail to GAC-EPA: gac-epa@gac-epa.org .

Jean-Claude GOUACHE

Treasurer's Report

(original: French)

 

Profits and loss account 2006/2007

Receipts 41'357.75 CHF
Expenses 41'792.86 CHF
Reserve -435.11 CHF

Subscriptions amount to 40'687.00 CHF

The Committee decided to contribute 13,50 CHF per
member of GAC to the Staff Association, i.e. 21'384.00 CHF

The provisional budget for 2007 amounts to 47'000.00 CHF

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

Members as of 31 december 2008 1'811 persons

Robert JACOB, Stephan PICHLER

Permanences

(Original français)

November 2008 to April 2009

Reminder: the exchange rate necessary for the 2008 income tax declaration is 0.64€/CHF.

Since Bulletin 37 was printed around 20 colleagues have come to consult us. Fiscal questions keep coming back regularly so we consider it useful to speak about them again.

Liability to pay the CSG and the CRDS is regulated by Article L136-1 of the Social Security Code which reads: (original: French)

“Article L136-1, modified by “Ordonnance” 2001-377 2001-05-02 art. 1 JORF 2 May 2001

A social contribution on active incomes and replacement incomes has been set up to which are subject:

  1. Those persons who are domiciled in France for income tax purposes and for whatever reason, come under a compulsory French health insurance scheme.
  2. For the State employees of local authorities and their public administrative establishments who exercise their functions or are sent on missions outside France, if their remuneration is taxable in France and/or they, for whatever reason, come under a compulsory French insurance scheme.

Only the first paragraph of this article concerns CERN retirees

In order not to be subject to the CSG and the CRDS it is only necessary

In practice, this means that if someone is able to benefit from the services of the health insurance of the Social Security, they must contribute to it, i.e. pay the CSG and the CRDS.

So, if your are not affiliated to the health insurance of the Social Security and if you are asked to pay the CSG and/or the CRDS, go to the tax centre where you reside (where you submitted your declaration) and ask to be exonerated in application of Article L136-1 of the Social Security Code.

It would seem that certain colleagues are still being required to pay these social contributions.  Following Regulation No. 2001-377 of 2 May 2001, which relates to the application of the social security schemes to salaried workers, the text which appeared in the official journal JORF/LD, p.06991, or the official site Legifrance should be referred to.

Therefore those persons who are still having to make this social contribution must take this Regulation to the Tax Service of their town (where they submitted their income tax declaration) and ask for the reimbursement of this contribution.
NB – a colleague has just informed us that he did this and that the fiscal services sent him a notification of “tax relief and reimbursement of the sum paid”.

So here is what results (still concerning those domiciled in France!)

We invite you again, if you have particular questions or wish to have some additional information, to contact your Tax Centre: its details appear at the top of your income tax declaration form. You have three years in which to make a claim.

During the “permanences” we can help you “verbally” to complete your tax form but in no case will we fill in the form: thank you for your understanding of our position!

As to the “young” retirees, we advise them to read carefully the brochure “When you leave CERN” which they received on their departure: this will give them much useful information.

Young/future retirees: do not forget on 11, 13, 25 and 27 November in the afternoon the seminars on “Retirement preparation”. Information from HR Departement.

The dates fixed for the “permanences” are now regularly mentioned in the “Echo Bulletin” attached to the CERN Bulletin, thanks to our colleague Nicola Finn from the Staff Association.

We hope that this “general” information is useful and remain at your disposal. Looking forward to seeing you, except in July and August, when we too will be on holiday!!

René BARTHELEMY, Françoise BEETSCHEN-BUTTAY, Antoine BLIN,

Obituary

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

Adelina CAVALLI (1932) ex-IT 18 September 2008
Horst BLAHA (1938) ex-LHC 12 October 2008
Armand BARISY (1934) ex-SL 6 November 2008
Giuseppe PREVOSTI (1924) ex-ST 13 November 2008
Robert DUPARC (1928) ex-SB 19 November 2008
Janko JAMSEK (1926) ex-PS 21 November 2008
René GENTIL (1930) ex-SB 2 December 2008
Jean BUFFAZ (1928) ex-LEP 10 December 2008
Franco BONAUDI (1928) ex-ECP 21 December 2008
Elena BIANCHI (1943) ex-EST 2 January 2009
Pierre BILLAULT(1921) ex-PS 3 January 2009
Domingo SORIA (1932) ex-PPE 12 January 2009
Marie-Anne HUBER-REPELLIN (1939) ex-EP 29 January 2009
Pierre Jules EMERY (1927) ex-FI 9 February 2009
Leslie KING (1924) ex-EP 15 February 2009
Robert MUZELIER (1933) ex-FI 15 February 2009
Yves GERARD (1922) ex-SB 19 February 2009
Dirk BAKKER (1947) ex-AB 28 February 2009
Ronald FORREST (1943) ex-AB 2 March 2009
Léon BLONDIN (1932) ex-ST 11 March 2009
Gérard MONTMAYEUR (1928) ex-LEP 17 March 2009
Serge CABEL (1937) ex-AS 3 April 2009
James ALLABY (1936) ex-EP 7 April 2009
Cristobal SANZ MARTIN (1935) ex-LHC 27 April 2009

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

Odette GRUTTER (1915) (widow of M. Grutter, ex PS) 15 October 2008
Jeanne EYMANN (1927) (widow of Mr Eymann, ex-SB) 24 October 2008
Marie-Yvette SIGAUD (1927) (widow of E. Sigaud, ex-PS) 2 January 2009
Anna MARCK (1924) (widow of H.-W. Marck, ex-ESO) 20 January 2009
Anne-Marie DERVEY-AEBISCHER (1925) (widow of G. Dervey, ex-SB) 7 March 2009
Colette BILLAULT (1923) (widow of P. Billault, ex-PS) 23 March 2009

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)

Hereafter important new information concerning our Health Insurance Scheme

Already at the Ordinary General Assembly, we presented the most important data concerning our health insurance for 2008. Since 25 March 2009 there has not been much information to add to the list of items discussed except for the results of the questionnaire requesting your opinion on the future of the health insurance and the main topics to be taken into account at future discussions under the Five-Yearly Review (see point 3).

1. Finances

2. Management Contract

CERN’s financial rules require that the contract for the management of the CHIS is periodically submitted for a call for tender. This tender is being prepared and a management proposal is foreseen for submission to the September Finance Committee with a view to having a new contract from January 2010.

3. Future of CHIS

The Council has decided that the question of health insurance will be one of the main subjects studied under the five-yearly review. To prepare for this a questionnaire was sent to all members of the GAC-EPA.

As of 2009-04-14 we had registered 675 replies which unfortunately only represents a low participation in the region of 40%. Despite this we have made a complete analysis of the replies and also of the numerous comments received along with the questionnaire since more than 89 comments have been formulated. A fuller report will give details of these replies but on the whole it is quite clear that the majority wish to keep the current level of benefits while increasing the contributions (88.04%), that 91.75% do not agree with a reduction in the level of benefits while keeping the contributions at their current level, that 92.31% think that the increased financial outlay necessary should be borne by both the insured persons and the Organization in proportion to the current commitments. These results are identical to those registered from the questionnaires received from the present staff members. Numerous remarks were also made by our colleagues who use a different insurance scheme from UNIQA as their first insurance and who would like to see their situation taken into account by, for example, a reduction of the franchise deducted from our UNIQA reimbursements.

A subgroup of the CHIS Board has been set up to find and formulate new adjustments and modifications to the rules of the CHIS with a view to stricter control of increasing costs. The replies to the questionnaire will help us to make our views clearer; in no case do we wish to make concessions on the quality of the insurance. We will be keep you informed regularly on the progress of this work.

4. Long Term Care

In 2008 we registered an increase in the number of persons benefiting from this insurance. At the end of 2008, 118 persons were dependent. The EHPAD establishement in Ornex, where CERN has priority for five beds, is currently housing 14 of our dependent members.

Jean-Paul Diss, Pierre Lazeyras, Robert Muzelier

The Pension Fund

What is happening?
State at 2 May 2009

(translation in progress)

Depuis notre dernier compte-rendu, le Conseil d’Administration (CACP) s’est réuni les 24 octobre, 1er décembre 2008, 11 février et 1er avril 2009.  Les No 2/12/14/15 2009 du Bulletin CERN en rapportent les éléments et la Caisse publie les nouveaux documents (aussi auprès de l’administration de la Caisse, tél :+41 22 767 2742)

Dans un récent papier l’OECD a estimé que les Caisses de pension privées avaient abandonné $5.4tn(1tn=1000 milliards) soit 20% de leurs avoirs dans la récente crise dont le point bas semble avoir été atteint le 9 mars dernier.  Rappelons que le G20, réuni à Londres début avril, n’avait traité que d’un plan de $1.0tn.

De ce fait la majorité d’entre elles devaient se trouver en état de sous-financement.

Il suffit de jeter un coup d’oeil à l’un des indices boursiers (S&P500) les plus caractéristiques pour évaluer l’ampleur de la chute des marchés de mai 2007 à

mai 2009

Le même indice tracé avec une autre échelle, sur la même période et comparé au VIX (CBOE volatility index), une mesure de la nervosité des marchés et de l’incertitude des traders qui semblent se rasséréner.

La période qui s’ouvre maintenant sera particulièrement intéressante car un dicton boursier dit «Sell in May and go away!» et une étude statistique toute récente démontre que depuis 1929 sur un cycle de 3 ans, le dicton se vérifie régulièrement sur 2 ans!

A vrai dire, notre Caissse n’a pas échappé à cette lame de fond et comme vous pourrez le lire en détails dans le prochain rapport annuel qui sortira fin juin, le rendement annuel brut de l’exercice précédent qui se montait encore à plus de 6% s’est effondré à - de 19%. De ce fait, le rendement TWR (Time weighted return) qui dans l’exercice précédent était pour la période 1957-2007 de 5.1% tombe pour la période 1957-2008 à 4.5%, donc en dessous du rendement actuariel escompté.

Durant l’exercice écoulé la distribution des actifs s’est fortement modifiée car le Comité d’investissements avait pris des mesures pour diminuer l’exposition du fonds et protéger la couverture des fonds exprimés en Euro par rapport au franc suisse qui a connu une forte réévaluation, stoppée récemment par une décision de la Banque Nationale Suisse.

Evolution du rapport CHF/EURO

Sur la période 2008 l’investissement en actions est tombé à 26% du total de la fortune, alors que celui des obligations, qui sont fortement montées suite à la chute des taux, culminait à 46%.

Si on considère la totalisation des résultats, les comparaisons sont plus difficiles à établir, car le CERN ayant décidé d’introduire de nouvelles normes comptables IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards), la Caisse de Pension a été obligée d’adapter sa comptabilité en fonction de cette décision et de retoucher les paramètres actuariels pour être en concordance avec l’Organisation. Les résultats catastrophiques des marchés boursiers sont amplifiés par l’application de la nouvelle méthode comptable (en caisse fermée) qui fait tomber le taux de couverture à 72.7% alors qu’il aurait été de 82% selon la méthode précédente car les engagemnts totaux passent de 4'376MCHF à 4'934MCHF alors que la fortune nette de prévoyance chute à 3'589MCHF alors qu’elle s’établissait à 4'613MCHF à la fin de l’exercice 2007 soit une baisse de 1'024MCHF. Cette méthode est cependant fortement sujet à caution car elle dynamise les traitements sans tenir compte des recettes supplémentaires qui vont être perçues sous forme de cotisations !
Le groupe de travail du CACP en charge de la préparation d’un rapport sur la politique de financement de la Caisse n’a pas encore remis de document de travail.

Et maintenant ?

Pour réanimer le marché du crédit complètement bloqué par les évènements de ces derniers mois, tous les gouvernements ont massivement inondé les marchés en masses monétaires. A titre d’exemple, on voit par exemple la croissance du marché monétaire américain sur le graphe ci-dessous (Finanz und Wirtschaft) :

Si cette inondation ne peut être résorbée, il s’ensuivra un développement inflationniste très inquiétant qui touchera en priorité les retraités, mais les salariés aussi car les compensations intégrales seront impossibles.

L’inflation reste cependant pour les gouvernements le meilleur moyen de réduire les dettes considérables qu’ils ont créées pour relancer l’économie. Il est donc probable que dans quelques années, l’inflation sera sévère et qu’elle nous touchera directement, sachant que l’indexation des pensions est liée à la santé financière de la Caisse via un processus qui prévoit tous les 3 ans un facteur de réduction de l’indice de référence. Pour le moment, cet indice, COLGE(08/08), est connu à fin mars 2009 (COLGE03/03) et sur une année, il était négatif et se fixait à -0.7%.

Cette baisse est la plus forte jamais enregistrée à Genève depuis que cet indice existe, soit depuis septembre 1966!

Sur le graphe suivant on voit l’évolution du pouvoir d’achat d’un retraité ayant pris sa retraite le 1er janvier 1978, alors que la Caisse ne comptait pas 300 retraités et d’un autre retraité en pension depuis le 1er janvier 1997 alors que la Caisse comptait déjà 1600 retraités (il y en a plus de 3000 aujourd’hui):

Dans les deux cas la perte de pouvoir d’achat s’établit à 3…4%. Cette tendance pourrait s’accélérer dans les années qui viennent.

François WITTGENSTEIN, Jean-Claude GOUACHE

SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees

(original French)

A new management structure of the Pension Fund has been operational since the end of 2007. The question of pension guarantees will be looked at in a working group of the Administrative Council.

These changes question the work of the SSC Working Group on Pension Guarantees. So the working group has not really made much progress in its mandate for some time.

A fair distribution of the tasks to be achieved needs to be found between the no. 2 working group of the Administrative Council and the SSC Working Group.

The burning question remains the health insurance.

It must be remembered that:

The health insurance scheme is entirely under our responsibility and only the management of the scheme is looked after by an outside source.

It is therefore important that our rights are guaranteed in the future.

A meeting of the SSC Working Group on Pension Guarantees is foreseen in June to clarify the situation and to continue studying the problems linked to our social cover.

Edith DELUERMOZ, Carlo VANDONI