USS releases 2020 valuation timetable and responsibilities

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has published its timeline for the 2020 valuation of the scheme and reiterated the responsibilities for the parties involved.

The statutory deadline for the valuation to be filed with The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been set as June 2021, with the trustee keen to avoid the scenarios seen in the 2017 and 2018 valuations, which were both filed “well after the statutory deadline had passed”.

“We have been clear with TPR that the 2020 valuation will be filed in accordance with the law,” the publication stated.

“We therefore consider it very important that stakeholders are provided with as much clarity as possible on the key milestones and schedule we will need to work to in order to meet the statutory deadline of 30 June 2021.”

It also noted that the scheme trustee has sole responsibility for identifying the contribution rates required to fund the promised benefits.

To meet this responsibility, the trustee said that it will be formally consulting with the employer, Universities UK, and “undertake to engage with and provide regulator communications” with the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), University and College Union (UCU), members and employers.

The JNC, made up of an equal number of UUK and UCU representatives, and an independent chair, has sole responsibility for decided how any increase or decrease in the contribution rate set out by the trustee is managed.

The trustee will begin consulting with UUK in July 2020 and issue the actuarial report with its contribution requirements to the JNC in August 2020.

A USS employers spokesperson commented: “It is vital that the 2020 valuation process allows sufficient time for proper consideration of the Joint Expert Panel’s second report and for employers and members to engage with the development of the valuation methodology.

“Following discussions with USS on the proposed draft timeline, we understand there is significant engagement with stakeholders planned before any final decisions are made on the valuation methodology by the USS trustee board in May 2020.

“Employers expect USS to recognise the importance of full and proper engagement on all aspects of the 2020 valuation.”

UCU members at 60 UK universities went on strike at the end of November 2019 over plans to increase employee contributions from 8.8 per cent to 9.6 per cent of salary.

The union warned that further strike action could follow in the new year if universities “failed to make improved offers.”

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