Bulletin 42

Spring 2012

  1. A few words from the President
  2. Editorial
  3. Committee Activities
  4. Permanences
  5. ESO Activities
  6. Obituary
  7. The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)
  8. The Pension Fund
  9. SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees

A few words from the President

As announced by the outgoing President in the Autumn 2011 number of our Bulletin, a new name appears at the end of these few lines.

The rejuvenated elected committee (all is relative…) has started work on ongoing projects with emphasis on certain priorities.

Communication with you, our members, is one of the points that we wish to improve: you will again receive two paper Bulletins per year. In addition, we will try to keep you up-to-date more frequently by posting events which could be of interest to you on our web site www.gac-epa.org and by e-mail message to your mail address (providing of course you have communicated this to us). We also plan to make more use of the Echo, the bi-monthly publication of the CERN Staff Association (AP), in paper form as well as electronic.

In order to defend our interests as efficiently as possible, we plan to optimise our relations with the Staff Association using all means at our disposal with the aim on one hand that the active staff is aware of our point-of-view and takes it into consideration and on the other hand that active and retired staff pull together in the same direction vis-à-vis the Management and Member States in discussions regarding our social protection.

We will certainly not forget more convivial subjects such as organising the end-of-year drink, which is an occasion for retired people to get together, or integrating our ESO colleagues into our activities.

During our Annual General Meeting at the end of March, we expressed our gratitude to the five members who have decided to leave our committee after many years of presence: Edith Deluermoz, Jean-Paul Diss, Pierre Lazeyras, Antoine Blin and Horst Wenninger and I would like to profit from these few lines to express this again in writing. Thank you!

I invite you to participate actively in the life of our Association by informing us of your observations, wishes, suggestions and criticism.

Gertjan Bossen

Editorial

(Original French)

It is always a pleasure to make contact again with you all, members of the CERN family and proud to have participated in the take-off of our Organization: also proud to see that our successors are not unworthy and that CERN remains a pinnacle of scientific research and human co-operation : isn’t that wonderful?

I was also struck by the solidarity which many of you have shown towards our young colleagues who are at a disadvantage due to the revision of Pension Fund benefits : we must certainly defend our acquired rights but equity between members of the family, a source of unity in the face of our authorities, must be upheld just as much.

I should like to invite you to applaud loudly, wherever you are, all the elected Members of your Committee: defending you requires time and effort on their part which they give willingly and with a smile, sometimes until a very advanced age (it seems that this keeps you fit!). When it comes to the next elections, sign up! The atmosphere in the Committee is super and there is work for everybody.

Finally, if you do not want to see the (beautiful) black eyes of our Treasurer, pay your dues quickly (by standing order if possible).

Bernard and I have worked together on this issue of the Bulletin: I think that for the next one there will be fresh blood!

Jean-Marie THOMAS, Bernard DUCRET

Committee Activities

(Original French)

November 2011 to April 2012

As was custom in the past, we are again publishing a spring bulletin this year; the minutes of the last General Assembly held on 23 March 2012 are also included in the same mail, so there may be some repetition of certain information.

The Committee, which at the end of 2011 included 23 elected members, 2 co-opted and an informatics expert (the seat foreseen for an ESO retiree was still vacant but one of the co-opted members was an ESO retiree), met 10 times during 2011 with an average participation of 18 members, under the presidency of Hort Wenninger or one of the vice-presidents. The main points treated by the Committee were as follows:

Statutary Activities:

Results of the elections, composition of the new Committee and assignment of duties

Committee and Auditors

The present Committee is officially in place since 1 January 2012, and was voted during the elections which took place in the autumn of 2011 to renew 13 elected or co-opted members whose mandate ended on 31 December 2011. In total 15 candidates stood for election of whom 9 were outgoing members (7 elected and 2 co-opted). 5 outgoing members did not stand for election, these were:

The Committee warmly thanks them for their efforts during many years to defend the pensioners' interests.

There were also elections in 2011 to renew the auditors. 2 candidates presented themselves, of whom one was the only 2011 outgoing candidate.

Counting of the votes by the scrutineers took place on 24 November 2011 and gave the following results:

Name First Name candidature Votes %
Committee
WITTGENSTEIN François outgoing candidate re-elected 498 92%
HÄUSERMANN Monique outgoing candidate re-elected 496 92%
BOSSEN Gerrit outgoing candidate re-elected 493 91%
THOMAS Jean-Marie outgoing candidate re-elected 490 91%
SANTIARD Gunilla outgoing candidate re-elected 476 88%
THEVENET Françoise newly elected candidate 451 83%
NAUDI André-John outgoing candidate re-elected 445 82%
JACOBS David outgoing candidate re-elected 439 81%
ROEBUCK Eddie outgoing co-opted candidate elected 439 81%
DUCRET Bernard newly elected candidate 401 74%
GENIER Claude newly elected candidate 380 70%
MICHAUD Jean-François newly elected candidate 369 68%
CULLUM Martin outgoing co-opted candidate elected 350 65%
RADERMACHER Ernst new candidate not elected 334 62%
DALP Pierre new candidate not elected 303 56%
Auditors
BOUDINEAU Christian newly elected candidate 492 91%
SALOMON Guy outgoing candidate re-elected 493 91%

The global result of these elections was announced at the extraordinary General Assembly held on 24 November 2011, the minutes of which were sent out on 25 November 2011.

The 2012 Committee is composed of 21 elected members and 2 invited members, with informatics and medical expertise respectively.

The ESO seat is allocated for the first time to an ESO retiree.

The composition of the 2012 Committee is given above on page 2 of this Bulletin; the duties of the Committee members are also mentioned.

General Assembly of the GAC-EPA

a. Extraordinary General Assembly of 24 November 2011

At the invitation of the Committee, an Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) was held on 24 November 2011 with about 200 members attending. Our outgoing President presented the agenda for this meeting which comprised a formal part, covered by a report, and an informal part.

In the formal part, the main point was the necessity to modify the GAC-EPA rules to facilitate the election of an ESO retiree; the modifications were presented and did not meet with any opposition amongst the members present. A presentation of the 2011 election results to partially renew the Committee and Auditors closed the formal part of the meeting.

In the informal part, we were informed about the new CHIS rules coming into force as of 1 January 2012, as well as the situation of the Pension Fund; the minutes can be found on: http://www.gacepa.org/History/OGA/EGA2011-11-24/EGA2011-Minutes-fr.html.

The minutes of this EGA were sent you together with a letter addressed to all members of the GAC, asking you to respond in writing, to agree to the new rules, according to article 33 of the old rules. You responded favourably to this request and the new rules were therefore adopted as of 1 January 2012. Herewith the results:

b. Ordinary General Assembly of 23 March 2012

The Ordinary General Assembly (OGA) was held on 23 March 2012 in the presence of about 200 members and with 118 members represented by proxy. It was also possible this year to follow the meeting live by webcast; 117 people chose this method, of whom 30 simultaneously, as no doubt they could not attend the meeting. The Agenda of this OGA is classic and you were all able to acquaint yourselves with it on reception of the invitation letter sent to members at the end of February. Since the drawing up of these minutes coincides with the writing of this Bulletin, we shall not make any comments here and invite you to consult them to learn the details.

Relations with the Staff Association

In accordance with our Statutes, our Association is linked with the Staff Association and as such 9 members of our Committee are delegates of the Staff Council and participate in commissions set up by the Association which mainly deal with the protection of our Social Security system. Thus we participate in the following commissions:

Moreover, we remind you that we have a representative for retirees on the Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB) as well as two representatives on the Supervisory Committee of the Health Insurance (CHIS Board). We have also nominated a successor to our PFGB representative; we now have to make sure that he can consult the documents and attend the meetings of this governing body.

We are also stakeholders in the Mutual Aid funds as well as in a sub-group of the CCP set up to study the conditions for pension guarantees; unfortunately we regret that the latter have hardly advanced in their work; we believe that the Staff Association should be more incisive on this matter and put more pressure on the Administration.

We recall that in 2011 we supported the Staff Association in their opposition to the conditions pertaining to pensions which will be applicable to new recruits as of 1 January 2012; this, however, did not prevent the Management and CERN Council from overriding us without any concertation and deciding in June 2011 to adopt very unfavourable mesures for new recruits. We think it important to recall these here:

Moreover, the TREF now proposes to increase the total contribution of 28.33% to 31.60% to take into account the increase in life expectancy and this proposal was accepted by Council in March 2012.

However, the "soap opera" concerning pensions will not stop here since the next 3-year actuarial study, which will take place end 2013 and the results of which are expected beginning 2014, should calculate the effect of the increase of life expectancy on all members of the Fund, staff post-2011, pre-2012, and retirees and also take into account the updated values of the other parameters of the actuarial model. This will be the time to remain vigilant and to vindicate our rights so that under-indexing resulting in a reduction of our pensions up to a maximum of -8% is not put to question.

Relations with CERN's Management

For us retirees, it is not always obvious that the CERN Administration thinks of informing us in the same way as active members of staff when it takes organisational decisions. We have to accept that we are no longer part of the staff and our links are essentially through the CHIS/UNIQA and, of course, the Staff Association.

For this reason, our President met with the Director of Administration to draw his attention to this question; it seems that the message passed and it was decided to designate a member of our Committee and a substitute to be contact persons with the Administration on these questions.

During this encounter, our President also expressed the retirees concerns about the somewhat precarious health of our Pension Fund and the methods of control; the Director of Administration holds a similar view that contrary to what takes place at present, the internal audit at CERN should be able to audit the Pension Fund.

We drew the attention of the Staff Association to this subject, proposing that we send a joint letter signed by the presidents of the SA and the GAC-EPA to the President of the PFGB (Pension Fund Governing Board). This letter was sent end March.

We also expressed our desire to ensure an efficient continuity by naming a successor to our representative at the PFGB whose mandate expires in the autumn of 2013; the Director of Administration also agreed with us on this point; we now have to ensure that the designated successor can attend the PFGB meetings; the internal rules of this authority, which are at present being changed, should foresee this possibility; to this end, we have approached the Legal Service at CERN who is undertaking these modifications, so that they integrate the possibility for each member of the PFGB to have a designated successor ou even better, a deputy. We reminded this service that we are keen to see the working group on the guarantee of pensions reactivated.

We also wanted to ensure that the Staff Association figures on the list of places to visit in the departure procedure for future retirees, so that they can be informed of the existance of the GAC-EPA and of how to join. The Administration took note of our request.

Through the Medical Service of CERN and our medical expert, member of the GAC-EPA, we maintain a close contact with the HUG (Geneva University Hospital); the conferences on the theme of cerebral aging in 2008 and 2009 were extended with a questionnaire-study sent out in 2010 to retirees of CERN, and a discussion during a conference held on 19 January 2011; about 800 people responded to this study; these people will now be contacted by the HUG to propose continuing the study with a series of examinations.

Relation with the retirees present and future

The members of the Committee are your elected representatives and they work in the interests of retirees by ensuring that their point of view is taken into consideration by the decision-making bodies at CERN; this happens through our fully-fledged-membership of the Staff Council and Staff Association, PFGB and CHIS Board where we have our delegates and representatives. However, we are not present in the CCP, nor the TREF where the proposals to be submitted to CERN Council are determined; here we have to make ourselves heard through the Staff Association.

We make sure that we keep you informed of our activities in different ways; this bulletin aims to give you a review of the global situation of the CERN retirees and to allow you to see the tendancies for the future mainly concerning our social protection; the Ordinary General Assembly is an important source of information for members as well as the opportunity to approve the activities of our Committee.
Since November 2010, we have also put in place an informal meeting which takes place before our end of year drink; in 2011 you were more than 200 attending this meeting which took the form of an Extraordinary General Meeting (see above); the drink itself united far more than 200 people who were happy to get together again.

A chapter of this bulletin is dedicated to the permanences run by 3 members of the Committee who do their best to deal with your preoccupations.

From time to time we send you information through the post, the ECHO, the bi-monthly bulletin of the Staff Association, or also by e-mail, if you have given us your electronic mail address; you can do this by sending an e-mail to: gac-epa@gac-epa.org.

Finally you can always consult our web site which contains plenty general information but also new facts about our social protection; you will also find announcements about conferences being given at CERN or elsewhere.

At the beginning of this article we brought up the subject of the election of committee members and auditors last autumn; We now conclude on the same subject with a worrying observation: the low participation in these elections (34%) and an even weaker participation recorded at the end of 2011 for the vote on the new statutes (25%); what is the reason? We are thinking this over and would also like to know your opinion.

Mario Danesin

Permanences

(Original français)

Please consult the minutes of the OGA on this subject.

René BARTHELEMY, Antoine BLIN, Gunilla SANTIARD

ESO Activities

Since the GAC became the GAC-EPA in 2008, there has been no elected ESO representative in the committee. Apart from the 600km distance from Munich to Geneva that makes it inconvenient to participate in GAC-EPA meetings, the originally foreseen voting procedures made it difficult for an ESO member to be elected onto the committee. Thanks to support from ESO for travel and the new voting procedures that came into force this year, these problems have been overcome and, since 1 January 2012, there is now a duly elected ESO representative on the committee.

Although the number of ESO pensioners is still small compared to CERN, the number has been growing rather rapidly over the last few years. Also, the number of GAC-EPA members from former ESO staff has roughly doubled over the last year. This is mainly due to the increased awareness of the role of the GAC-EPA and appreciation of the common concerns of all beneficiaries of the CERN Pension Fund, whether ex-CERN or ex-ESO, such as the stability and future liquidity of the pension fund. Even on issues like the health insurance, where CERN and ESO have different schemes, the principles and rules of these schemes are very similar and the sharing of experience is valuable.

Another ongoing issue that affects all ESO and CERN pensioners living in Germany is the tax situation. Following a change in the German tax law in 2005, there was a considerable variation in the interpretation of this law by the various local tax offices. This resulted in some ESO pensioners having a much higher tax burden than others, depending on which tax office they dealt with. Following interventions by ESO and CERN administrations, a clarification was issued by the Bavarian State tax office in 2009 that recommended that a tax exception clause (Öffnungsklausel) could be applied to beneficiaries of the CERN Pension Fund allowing a more advantageous income tax rate. In 2011 this clause was accepted by almost all German tax offices, although sometimes after appeal by individual pensioners.

Martin CULLUM

Obituary

For the list of deceased beneficiairies of the Pension Fund, please note that from now you can consult the entire list of deaths.

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.

Tributes have been written for Malcolm Dykes, René Oberli and CJ "Kees" Zilverschoon.

The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)

(Original French)

The statistics of the CHIS regarding 2011 are the principal subject of the Minutes of the AGM held on 23 March 2012. Some points to be retained are taken up here.

Measurable effects of solidarity.

There were 5063 pensioners and their families insured with CHIS as at 31 December 2011, i.e. 37.6% of the total number of insured persons. The reimbursements they received in 2011, i.e. 45.0 MCHF, represent 68.7% of the total. It should also be noted that 3.9% of insured persons had to have very expensive treatment and each one benefited from reimbursements of over 25000 CHF, totalling 30.4 MCHF, i.e. 46.4% of the 65.5 MCHF paid out by the CHIS in 2011.

Some trends to be observed:

The growing number of non-professional accidents needing treatment is noteworthy especially regarding the supplementary cost of 1.0 MCHF compared with 2010, of which 900 kCHF concerned the pensioners.
There has been an important rise in the number of persons being treated for a long illness, of which the cost has reached 80 kCHF at least. There were 54 at the end of 2011, compared with 28 at the end of 2010. Our insurance scheme reimburses 100% of outpatient treatments for this type of illness.

The evolution of the CHIS Rules.

With a new way of calculating reimbursements, with no direct deduction but with a progressive reimbursement rate, 2012 began easily for UNIQA whose computer program underwent the transformations necessitated by this change. We shall pay attention to the rate of global cover (reimbursements/medical costs) which in 2012 should stay at the same level as before, i.e. 87.9% in 2011.

The revision of the rules is being carried out within the supervising committee of the CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS Board), notably to propose adjustments to the contributions payable by spouses where one is a pensioner and the other is still a member of staff. The schemes proposed to CERN users are also being examined.

The financial situation at the end of 2011 :

The 2011 financial year allowed the CHIS reserves to be reinforced by 15 MCHF to 126.7 MCHF. These reserves are intended for exceptional situations, which are always likely with this type of insurance. It is far from being sufficient to cover the long-term commitments of the scheme, valued according to the IPSAS standard at 2500 MCHF by the actuary. The External Auditors, i.e. at present the Italian Revenue Court, in their 2010 report, expressed their concern on this subject.

Pierre LAZEYRAS, Jean-Paul DISS, David JACOBS, Michel BABOULAZ

The Pension Fund

Since our last minutes, the Governing Board (PFGB) held meetings on 17 November 2011 and on 16 February 2012. The next Informaton Meeting of the Pension Fund will take place on 11 September at ESO and on 12 September at CERN (Council Chamber). However, nearer the time, please check that these dates are still valid.

The Pension Fund site is : http://pensionfund.cern.ch/en

You will find there documents pertaining to the financial reports and the usual statistics.

The Administration of the Pension Fund can be contacted on +41 22 767 8798

A few days ago the Vice President of the PFGB announced her resignation to the President with immediate effect and we will probably discuss this at the next meeting on 26 April 2012.

The main subjects treated were:

Below a few of the slides shown at the AGM of 23 March 2012, for those who do not have access to the internet or were not able to attend the meeting:

This first slide expresses the author’s view of the little world gravitating - around the Fund.

As a matter of fact the Fund is not a special case and the majority of public pension funds are in a similar situation.

The second slide reminds one of the fundamental parameters that should be applied to bring the Fund back to a 100% cover rate :

Options to reach full funding
(analysis of actuarial results)

Some orders of magnitude

• Return on investments

30yrs ↔ 7.5%

• Regular Contributions

30yrs ↔ 54%

• Special contributions

• 80MCHF/y   (stabilisation)

• 115MCHF/y (catching up)

16sept 2009. présentation FF au CF (mod)

this in the light of longevity tables that are no longer applicable…

The third slide gives the preliminary results of the 2011 financial year:

2011 in numbers (Performance unaudited on 31.12.2011)

Annual performance ( actual restructured Portfolio: -2.54%
Lowest point: -5.4%
Annual theoretical performance (portfolio before restructuring): -4.48%
Lowest point: -11.81%
Combined performance over 2009-2011: +4.40%
Reference 3% over inflation: +3.17%
Combined performance over 2007-2011: -0.49%
Reference 3% over inflation: +3.57%
CAPITAL
Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
MCHF 4613 3589 3903 3957 3665

As can be seen the start of - restructuring - the portfolios had a beneficial effect, in the sense that even if the global result was not brilliant (-2.54%), it would have been much worse (-5.4%) without restructuring. However, the stock exchange crash that shook the markets has left its mark on our accounts: in 5 years our capital shru nk by 1000MCHF! One should not forget that our Fund started on a bad footing because it was under-capitalised at the beginning of this storm…
Regarding indexation of pensions Council decided to consider 3 categories of pensioners as shown in the fourth slide:

(note from the webmaster: this slide was NOT shown at the Ordinary General Assembly)

All categories are subject to a loss of buying power of 8%… but adapted to the date when they became a beneficiairy.

Finally, taking into account the use of new actuarial tables, based on a generational profile (see Bulletin 41), causes a drop in coverage of about 10%

VZ 2010GEN 29.9%     VZ 2010CERN GEN 31.1%      …31.6%

Longevity table Liabilities 2010
(PBO, MCHF)
Funding
ratio 2010
Funding ratio 2040
Contribution 34%
VZ 2010 Gen
(Discount rate 5%)
5'737 67.2% 80.8%
VZ 2010 CERN Gen
(Discount rate 5%)
6'074 63.5% 65.3%
ICSLT + VZ 2010
(Discount rate 5%)
5'879 65.6% 74.0%
EVK 2000
(present table, 4.5%)
5'557 69.4% 115.2%

Longévité

With a technical rate of 5% the table used until now (EVK2000) resulted in a 69.4% coverage at end 2010, whereas the new table (VZ2010 CERN Gen) makes this coverage drop to 63.5%. The technical rate of 5% is completely disconnected from the real market rates -, which today are around 3 to 3.5%. In order to respect 5%, the “sponsors” would have to refinance the Fund by injecting -around 600MCHF… which seems improbable given the government debt situation in the Member States.

François WITTGENSTEIN

SCC Working Group on Pension Guarantees
part 2

(original French)

Please consult the minutes of the OGA on this subject.

Edith DELUERMOZ, Carlo VANDONI

Presence on the internet

The GAC-EPA provides a number of data via the internet:

Our activities on the net are hosted outside CERN by an independent hosting service, and we own the name gac-epa.org.

The public site (http://www.gac-epa.org) is accessible to anyone anywhere. We publish some more or less static information such as the structure of the Committee, the by-laws, useful links, but also the minutes of the Ordinary General Assembly, the calendar of meetings and information sessions (permanences), announcements of conferences that may be useful for our members, and any other information that may concern the CERN-ESO pensioners.

The newsletters are short communications sent by e-mail to all of our members who have given us their e-mail address. Depending on the subject matter, they may be sent to one of the two groups CERN or ESO, or both.

The members data base was introduced in 2011. It is accessible only to certain members of the committee and its access is protected by identification and encryption.

The data base of deceased persons is another item introduced in 2011. It aims to replace the lists published in the bulletins by a single base in which search is possible. This data base is public. Any information in this data base is also available by other means elsewhere (e.g. the site of the Pension Fund). The objective is to allow members to read an up-to-date list and to search it. Note that the list contains only names of beneficiaries of the CERN Pension Fund whose data have been declared public. The list makes no distinction between those who were members of the GAC-EPA and those who were not.

The private site is for the use of the members of the committee and is accessible only by identification. It is used for internal committee e-mail, shared documents and the mailboxes attached to committee functions (which you can find on the public site).

In 2012 I will put in place a new version of the site. The intention is to make access to information faster and more precise and make more data available.

Call for Volunteer Translators

From 2012 onwards we will make an effort to provide all material we publish in the two official languages of CERN: French and English.

Until now we have relied on a team of dedicated volunteers to help translate material. But the task has gradually become larger and especially more time-bound. Indeed, you expect the site to be up-to-date and you expect every bit of information to be available in both languages, be it in the Bulletin or on the web.

Therefore we would like our current team of volunteers to be enlarged, and appeal to you for help. The more you are, the lighter the task for each. There are a few points to note:

The amount of text to be translated is usually short, of the order of an article from the Bulletin or a page of our site.

If you are interested, please write a message to webmaster@gac-epa.org (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service)

Thank you in advance.

Robert Cailliau

Message from the Treasurers:

We should like to remind you that membership fees should be paid at the beginning of the year concerned. Unfortunately this is not the case for around 20% of our members. In some cases we still receive in Decem-ber the fee for the year about to finish ! You will not fail to understand the ensuing complications in our efforts to keep our accounts up to date.

In order to avoid such difficulties, we recommend that you establish with your bank a standing order to autho-rise them to transfer CHF 25,- each year on January 7 into the GAC-EPA account of which the reference is :

IBAN CH47 0027 9279 C710 9245 0 « Groupement des Anciens du CERN »

For 2012, those persons who have not paid their membership fee by March 31st will receive a reminder at the beginning of May requesting them to do so by June 30, 2012 at the latest.

In this case, payment can be made either into the UBS account mentioned above or by a postal order into the Groupement des Anciens du CERN’s account with the Swiss Post, the number of which is :

from within Switzerland:

No 12-20556-6

from other countries:

Swiss Post – PostFinance,
Nordring 8,
3030 Bern, Switzerland
BIC : POFICHBEXXX
IBAN : CH3709000000120205566

We also remind you that any new address or change of address, both postal and e-mail, any modification of telephone numbers etc. should be notified to :

GAG-EPA
Treasurer
c/o Staff Association
CERN
CH-1211 GENEVE 23

or to the e-mail address : treasurer@gac-epa.org

We thank you in anticipation of your collaboration.

Monique Häusermann, Eddie Roebuck