USS / Changes to the USS Pension Scheme
This area of the website has been designed to give you easy access to information about proposed changes to the USS pension scheme intended to address the scheme’s deficit and the anticipated rise in the cost of future pensions. Having a clear understanding what changes are proposed to the USS is important to your future financial planning and your ability to influence what happens next.
The formal employer consultation process with scheme members and eligible staff scheduled to start in March 2018 was cancelled and the proposal for change to scheme benefits agreed in January 2018 was withdrawn. More information can be found on the USS website. These changes were in response to the last valuation of the scheme in 2017 which indicated that which found that the cost of continuing to accrue the level of benefits currently offered by USS has increased significantly since the last valuation in 2014. More information about the valuation can be found on the USS website.
A Joint Expert Panel (JEP) was set up by Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU) to review the USS valuation, processes and assumptions and to agree key principles to underpin the future joint approach to the valuation of the USS fund. The JEP has published its executive summary and first report in September 2018, however, any agreement on future benefit structures is unlikely to be put in place until after April 2019, the statutory deadline for the trustees to complete the 2017 valuation. The JEP has created a dedicated website about the panel and its work.
In the meantime, the USS trustee has a statutory duty to act upon the last valuation and in the absence of any agreement, is proposing to act in line with the scheme rules (76.4-8) to implement increased contributions. This is referred to as cost sharing, split 35:65 respectively between employers and members in order to maintain the current benefit structure until new arrangements are put in place.
The cost-sharing process proposed by the trustee took place as a formal consultation between the University and affected staff and their representatives. This ran from 3 September 2018 and closed at 5pm on 2 November 2018. A dedicated webpage has been set up where more information on the consultation process can be found, including minutes of the local consultation meetings and the collective response from Kent to the proposals..
It is important to remember that your accrued pension (the pension you have built up prior to any future changes in USS pension provision) is protected under law and will not be affected by any future changes to the Scheme.
A number of information sessions for staff were commissioned from Willis Towers Watson during December 2017 and January 2018 to provide background information and help members to understand the need for scheme change, the main issues as highlighted by the parties, the constraints and the potential options for change. A copy of the slides can be found under the University Events and briefings tab.