Annual General Meeting 2016

Minutes of the Meeting of 16 March

(pdf version)

 

Agenda

  1. Welcome, introduction and election of the Chairperson of the meeting
  2. Approval of the agenda
  3. Approval of the minutes of the 2012 OGA
  4. Report on the 2013-2014 Activities and Presentation of the New Committee
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Auditor’s report
  7. Approval of the three preceding reports
  8. Scrutineers for the 2014 Elections
  9. Report on the Pension Fund
  10. Report on the Health Insurance Scheme
  11. Report on Pension Guarantees
  12. Report on the Information sessions “Permanences”
  13. Activities for the next 12 months
  14. Approval of the 2016 budget and fees for 2017
  15. Any other questions

N.B. The presentations of the speakers are given partially in these Minutes; they may also be consulted in their entirety.

 

Welcome, introduction and election of the Chairperson of the meeting

The GAC-EPA President, Gertjan Bossen, opened the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held this year in the CERN Main Auditorium from 14:30 to 16:30.

He welcomed some 220 members present and thanked them for their participation. A further 112 proxies had been received and he also thanked all those who were following the meeting by webcast, especially our colleagues at ESO.

He then paid tribute to all those retired members who had passed away since the last AGM, a list of whom appeared on the screen, and invited the audience to observe a minute's silence in their memory.

The list of deceased beneficiairies of the pension fund since the last AGM was shown on the screen (an updated list is published in the printed version of the Spring Bulletin which will be distributed with the printed version of these Minutes to those members who still want paper communications).

Gertjan Bossen then mentioned especially Francois Wittgenstein and Christian Roy, both of whom died during this period; both had been committee members and contributed to support the interests of retired members in their own way and with great enthusiasm and conviction.

Gertjan then proposed Bernard Ducret as Chairperson of the meeting. This was unanimously adopted.

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Approval of the Agenda

Bernard Ducret, Chairperson of the meeting, welcomed the audience and proposed the adoption of the Agenda.

The agenda was adopted unanimously.

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Approval of the minutes of the 2015 AGM

Bernard Ducret asked if there were any remarks to be made on the 2015 AGM Minutes.  There were none.

The Minutes of the AGM of 18 March 2015, distributed at the beginning of June 2015, were approved unanimously.

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Report on the 2015-2016 Activities and Presentation of the New Committee

Bernard Ducret gave the floor to Gertjan Bossen, re-elected President at the last elections in November 2015. Gertjan wished to mention the presence among us today of the former President of the Staff Association, Michel Goossens, who had retired at the beginning of 2016. He then presented the following report :

Gertjan proposed to give an overview of the items which had preoccupied the Committee most of all and which would be fully developed in the later reporting on each item. He noted that 1775 retired members from CERN and ESO belong to GAC-EPA, representing more than half the total number of retirees. He stressed that the Committee had met 9 times with an average attendance of nearly 80% of its elected members (16-17/21).

Subjects to be reviewed

Conviviality

Various occasions offered us the chance to meet and communicate, creating an atmosphere of conviviality, for example:

Financial Affairs

Various matters occupied us and in particular:

Health Insurance

A few items caught our attention:

Pension Fund CERN/ESO

This topic has been in the line of fire with CERN Council and we informed you about it at the previous AGM on 18 March 2015. See below the evolution and main twists and turns that have taken place:

The danger of damaging our acquired rights seems to have been avoided but it is not entirely sure since Council is mulling over the conclusion of the experts and the subject has not been taken off their agenda as can be seen by reading the "Minutes" of the last Council meeting in December 2015.

WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT

Moreover, the governance of the PF, the PFGB, Pension Fund Governing Board, is under fire from the External auditors' report and we must take care that representation of both active staff and pensioners is not minimalized.



Recently, Council set up a working group to study the subject and it is not on a joint commission basis, contrary to our expectations. The mandate of this group needs to be clarified and possibly, in agreement with SA, our disapproval registered.

Take note that the 2016 Actuarial review of the PF has started and, according to criteria retained, the funding level for the PF in 2041 would be 104%.

GAC-EPA COMMITTEE

The President thanked all those who had put forward their candidature for the autumn 2015 elections.

You were informed at the informal meeting on 23 November, before the end-of-year drink, of the results of the elections (shown on screen) for the renewal of the Committee and one Auditor.

The next Spring Bulletin will give once more full details of the new Committee and the elections.

Fourteen candidates (including the 12 members whose mandates were due to end 31 December 2015) came forward for the renewal of 12 seats ; all 12 outgoing members were re-elected. All Committee members were renewed in their functions (apart some minor changes).

In January 2016 the Committee had 21 elected members but, as announced, Christian Roy died on 31 January.

At present the Committee consists of 20 elected members, 1 co-opted member to increase female and anglophone participation and 1 permanent guest, our computer expert, in all 22 members.

The election of one auditor was needed; two candidates came forward, the outgoing auditor and a new candidate, Adrianus Van Praag, who was elected for 2016-2017. He will exercise his functions in 2016 with Ernst Radermacher. (See the Spring Bulletin).

The President wished to point out the very low rate of participation at the last elections (23%) and he invited all members who abstained to participate more in the future and thus give an unequivocal legitimacy to the Committee. He also encouraged members to come forward for election, if they are able to, so that the renewal of the committee can be guaranteed since a certain number of elected members have been in service for many years and may wish to step down soon.

To conclude, Gertjan thanked all committee members for their devotion to and continued support in defending the interests of pensioners.

Bernard Ducret thanked Gertjan and invited Monique Häusermann to take the floor and present the next report.

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Treasurer’s Report

Monique presented the 2015 Accounts, clarifying each point in the tables shown below:

Profit and Loss Account at 2015-12-31

E X P E N D I T U R E 2014 2015 BUDGET 2016
Staff Association  21'000.00  22'150.00 22'100.00
Bank Charges 18.80 37.60 40.00
Postal Charges 112.80 97.80 180.00
Receptions, Donations 12'275.02 11'446.09 13'000.00
Printing 11'727.70 9'035.00 10'000.00
Administration costs 40.00 54.60 60.00
Computing costs 380.00 417.50 400.00
Expert fees * 1'379.54
Total Expenditure 46'933.86 43'238.59 45'780.00
Surplus 1'801.59 6'465.20 5'370.00
TOTAL 48'735.45 49'703.79 51'150.00

*As decided at our Committee meeting of 5 February the Experts fees of CHF7'732.32 were debited to the Legal Costs Reserve account.

R E V E N U E 20142015 BUDGET 2016
Membership fees 48'539.00 49'558.59 51'000.00
Donations
Bank Interest 193.40 144.45 150.00
Postal Interest 3.05 0.75
Total Revenue 48'735.45 49'703.79 51'150.00
Excess expenditure
TOTAL   48'735.45 49'703.79 51'150.00

Balance Sheet as at 2015-12-31

ASSETS
Postal Account 8'716.00
UBS Current Account 11'680.35
UBS Savings Account 101'087.90
 
TOTAL FUNDS 121'484.25
LIABILITIES
Capital 98'582.37
Transitional Liability 4'169.00
Legal costs reserve * 12'267.68
Results for 2015 6'465.20
TOTAL FUNDS 121'484.25
* Reserve account for legal costs decided by Committee at December 2014 meeting: 20'000.00
Fees for 2015 of Me Teissier Gérard: −7'732.32
Legal costs reserve at 2015-12-31 : 12'267.68

The clear presentation by Monique did not give rise to any questions.

Monique finished with the subject of membership fees and urged all members to pay their annual fees of CHF30 and NOT CHF25; those who do not comply will receive a “frowning” reminder from the Treasurer.

The Chairperson thanked Monique for her clear presentation of figures and asked the Auditor, Guy Salomon, to take the floor and present his report.

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Auditors’ Report

Guy Salomon, speaking for Ernst Radermacher and himself, stated that they have audited the accounts and found them to be correct. They congratulated our treasurer for her immaculate keeping of the books. They presented the following report :

Under the mandate entrusted to us at the last AGM, we have proceeded with the auditing of the accounts for 2015.

After checking, we have found perfect agreement with the justifications at our disposal and the written accounting indicated in the books. We can but recommend to the present Assembly to give approval of the accounts to our Treasurer.

We congratulate Monique Häusermann for her management and immaculate presentation of the accounts.

Ernst RADERMACHER and Guy-Roger SALOMON, Auditors

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Approval of the three preceding Reports

Bernard Ducret thanked Guy Salomon and invited the Assembly to approve the previous three reports (Activity Report 2015-2016, Treasurer's Report, Auditor's Report) simultaneously.

There were no votes against and no abstentions.

These three reports were unanimously approved.

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Scrutineers for the 2016 Elections

Bernard Ducret presented this item of the agenda based on information received from the Secretariat.

First he warmly thanked all the scrutineers for their help each autumn in the counting of votes for the elections.

Then he showed the current list of scrutineers (2015), 17 in total all of whom will continue in 2016 barring news to the contrary.

Scrutineers for 2016 elections

First NameSurname
OlivierBAYARD
NormanBLACKBURNE
EdithDELUERMOZ
RolandGAY
RuthHAAS
LouisHENNY
JeanHUGUENIN
Jean-FrançoisMALO
YolandeMARTI
GuyMOMEUX
JeanPASQUALI
LuisaPASSARDI
BernardPERRUCHON
CarlosPINTO-PEREIRA
KeithPOTTER
PeterROHMIG
BernardTHONY

Then the usual call for candidates was announced as the Rules of GAC-EPA allow for a total of 20 scrutineers; members who may wish to register were requested to come forward, with thanks.

Call for new candidates

If you wish to be a scrutineer:

Contact the Secretary after the meeting

OR

Send a message to the Secretariat using the contact form

OR

Write to the GAC-EPA Secretariat

Bernard Ducret then asked Michel Baboulaz to present his report on the Pension Fund.

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Report on the Pension Fund

Michel reminded us that he has been our representative on the PFGB (Pension Fund Governing Board) since the beginning of 2015 after Claude Genier stepped down from this function.

Then he began by giving us some reminders and some new information about the Administration of the Fund.

Administration of the Fund

Personnel

After the departure of Th. Economou, Thierry Lagrange oversaw the administration of the fund ad interim until the end of June 2015.

The new administrator Matthew Eyton-Jones, recruited from the United Kingdom, took over on 1 July 2015. In particular, he presented the state of the Fund at the information meeting in September.

New management software for the Fund

The complete overhaul of the computer systems is almost finished. The data have been tested in liaison with the personnel database. An interface for the beneficiaries and a new payment program for pensions are ready. They are expected to come into operation in September 2016.

As an anecdote, Michel mentioned the problems faced by the new retirees of the UN after the commissioning of new software for pensions. He thinks we will not be subject to such a misadventure.

The Table below shows the breakdown of beneficiaries of the Pension Fund.

Breakdown of beneficiaries on 31-12-2015

Retiree26002005 spouses128 children
Surviving Spouse713
Invalid3027 spouses14 children
Orphan43
Benevolent Pension1
Deferred Pension177

He noted that deferred pensions are on the rise; this is certainly because these people can continue to be insured by the CHIS.

He continued his exposé with the 2015 financial results :

The policy of asset allocation continued, unchanged, increasing the proportion of shares and real estate and reducing speculative funds.

The return of investments managed by the Fund was 3.91% at the end of 2015. The rate of price inflation in Geneva was -0.7%, the net yield was 4.61%. The objective fixed at 3% above inflation was thus exceeded.

With the table below he showed us that the average return since 1985 has been positive despite the years marked by stock market incidents, even quite serious ones (2008).

Annual inflation rate and net return since 1985

It illustrates the consequences of the stock market incidents.

The annual average net return over the last 31 years is +3.34% above inflation.

Annual percentage – inflation and net return from 1985 to 2015.

As you can see below, the yields are very variable depending on the asset class and the risk limit set by the PFGB.

Performance by asset class (2015)

Bonds−1,41 %
Equity+3,18 %
Real Estate+12,58 %
Private Equity+25,67 %
Alternative Investments+8,16 %
Cash−0,52 %

Risks

The consultant in charge of the risk level of the Fund reckoned that the limit fixed by the PFGB had not been reached, which meant that the risks taken were limited.

The year 2015 was fairly fruitful for our holdings despite the current very unstable financial environment and the risks to which the investments of the Fund are exposed.

At the end of his exposé, Michel informed us that the PFGB is placing all its current attention on the 2016 actuarial revision. The principal criteria retained by the actuary of the PF, Buck Consultant, are as follows:

Principal parameters for the periodic actuarial revision

This triennial study must show the Board the capacity of the Fund to face its long- term liabilities, i.e., to pay out pensions to the beneficiaries.

For the 2016 revision, based on the number of beneficiaries as at 1 January 2016, the PFGB has retained the proposals of the Actuary:

The mortality tables (probability of death by age and by sex) drawn up by the Swiss consultancy company VZ are based on the Swiss population and take into account the expected variations in life expectancy for each generation.

The Fund’s Actuary has compared these tables with the statistics of our Fund over a period of 12 years and has noticed a difference in mortality that reduces the probability to 90%. In addition he has also taken into account the amount of the pensions of the deceased to weight the probabilities given in the VZ 2010 tables. The result is a reduction factor of 83%, applicable to future estimations of financial liabilities.

A member of the audience, Gilbert Drouet, said that he thought that the return and discount rates were far too high; he was told that these rates were proposed by the external consultants to the Fund (Buck Consultants and Ortec Finance) and accepted by the PFGB.

End of the exposé by Michel Baboulaz.

Bernard passed the floor to David Jacobs to report on Health Insurance.

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Report on the Health Insurance Scheme

David began his presentation with some information about the CHIS Board:

CHIS Governance

Since the beginning of last year the CHIS Board has a consultative role only (see Minutes of AGM 18 March 2015). The Board was not consulted often in 2015 but a working group on para-maternity met several times in the autumn.

Next David informed us on the Financial Status of CHIS which gives no need to worry:

Financial Status of CHIS

In 2015 contributions remained at: 4.86% for the insured party and 8.51% for CERN. Total contribution paid 13.37% based on the reference salary.

David stated, as Gertjan Bossen did, that following the conclusions of the 5-yearly review the financial situation of the Health Insurance Scheme will be monitored regularly through the actuarial reviews.

It is also clear that the return on the reserve fund has not recovered completely from the financial market upsets at the beginning of the year and, contrary to 2014, remains negative.

David gave news of tariff agreements with a few new approved care providers (Hospitals and clinics).

Agreements with Approved Health Care Providers

The latest CHIS Bull of February 2016 gives all the details of conditions for reimbursement at public and private establishments.

To see all approved care providers please consult the website: www.cern.ch/chis

David drew attention to the increase of CHIS benefits which since 1 March includes treatments for contraception under certain conditions, in case of doubt, please ask UNIQA.

CHIS Benefits and Revision of Rules

The CHIS Board set up a working group in August 2015 to look into the reimbursement of medical expenses for contraception, sterilization and treatments for sterility. (Morna Robillard participated)

Results:

Revision of CHIS Rules: slow progress, CHISB has not seen any draft yet.

The study group set up by CHIS on contraception, sterilisation and fertility treatment had in view the idea of aligning CERN with other International Organizations (IO); the working group is chaired by Dr. Veronique Fassnacht and we are represented by Morna Robillard

David had nothing to say about the Statistics for 2015 as they have just been published by UNIQA and not yet discussed in the CHISB but there will certainly be some mention of them in the Spring Bulletin.

A study concerning medical costs in relation to the age of insured persons is underway. It is slowly making progress but has already revealed discrepancies between the CERN database and UNIQA's database. Solutions are being sought (now apparently understood and resolved).

David then spoke of the new procedures for reimbursement of medical expenses which have been introduced with the aim of simplifying and speeding up payments.

Procedures for reimbursement of medical expenses

Detailed description of use of the form is printed on the back of the new forms which are available on the website www.cern.ch/chis (and in LARGE PRINT).

Please also take note of the following concerning these procedures:

Bernard Ducret thanked David.

Gertjan Bossen took the floor on behalf of Martin Cullum, representative of the ESO pensioners on the committee in order to give feedback on the Health Insurance (CIGNA) at ESO.

Changes in medical costs covered in 2016

Insurance Contributions

The next subject should have been presented by Michel Vitasse; unfortunately he could not be with us today so Bernard passed the floor to Gertjan Bossen.

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Report on Pension Guarantees (and Health Insurance)

Gertjan said straightaway that in this never-ending story nothing had really changed; what Michel explained to us last year is still valid, so you are invited to look at last year’s report. He did, however, show us some complementary tables.

Pension Guarantees: it is urgent to mark time... (AGM 2015) We are not starting from scratch

Even if much remains to be done:

It is urgent to mark time...(AGM 2015)

With the current attacks on our system of social security, it was decided not to formulate new demands, especially not to ask to transfer the management of our social security system to another international organization.

During 2015, the SSC sub-group on pension guarantees (and health insurance) was inactive.

But since the beginning of the year we have learned that the SSC is thinking of reactivating the working group on pension guarantees.

Bernard thanked Gertjan and asked Jean-François Michaud to present his report on the information sessions.

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Report on the Information Sessions ('Permanences')

Jean-François explained that three people run these sessions: René Barthélémy, Michel Boffard and himself.

These sessions are held on the first Tuesday of the month except in January, July and August. (Consult the calendar)

You can also consult the Staff Association’s bulletin Echo under GAC-EPA.

Jean-François showed the following Tables.

Subjects treated

FAQs

This year again

As noted above (para 4) questions related to the CSG and CRDS taxes are dealt with by the Social Security Collective (C2S). It should be noted that the Collective deals only with tax related to pensions. It does not deal with personal wealth: it only advises on this.

Status of the Information Sessions this year

What next?

This is the end of Jean-François’ presentation.

Bernard passed the floor to Gertjan for the following subject.

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Activities for the next 12 months

For Gertjan, on the whole the Committee will develop its activities around the same topics as in the past. The main subjects will be:

Pension Fund:

Health insurance will also be closely followed by the Committee:

As for access to the site, access to CERN documents that concern us and our IT identity at CERN, some questions need to be resolved:

Finally for the Group itself and its Committee some points need to be raised.

This is the end of the presentation of the programme for the next few months.

Bernard thanked the President and gave the floor back to Monique Häusermann for the next topic:

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Approval of the budget for 2016 and membership fee for 2017

Monique returned to the tables for the accounts presented in item 5 of the agenda and asked us to approve the budget for 2016 and to keep the membership fee for 2017 at CHF 30.

The budget and membership fees were unanimously approved.

Monique underlined the great aid of the Deputy Treasurer, Françoise Thévenet, by her rigorous maintenance of the membership database.

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Any other business

The Chairman of the meeting asked if anyone had any questions.

There were no further questions.

The Chairman closed the 2016 Annual General Meeting and invited all present to come to the drink.

The meeting was declared closed.

Editor: Mario Danesin, GAC-EPA secretary

NB: These Minutes must be kept for the next Annual General Meeting

There will not be another distribution

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