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To: The USS trustee board

USS must show its workings

USS must make all its background papers on methodology and inputs public as a matter of urgency.

Why is this important?

The current valuation of the USS pension scheme is critically important to its members, as the results may well lead to significant benefits cuts or large contribution increases. The assumptions and methods that USS have used in their valuations are causing huge amounts of controversy, and led to the biggest strike in higher education for a generation.

The 'Academics for Pensions Justice' campaign, resourced through donations by 2,000 USS members, are demanding that USS provides full disclosure of the data, assumptions and modelling approach underpinning the 2017 valuation. It is imperative that those wanting to scrutinize the workings, including the Joint Expert Panel established in the wake of the strike action, are able to do so.

The current lack of transparency is indefensible and should be of huge concern to all USS members, who have every right to see the workings behind any figures USS produces and need to be sure that any claims of unsustainability are put under proper scrutiny.



2018-07-19 11:08:29 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2018-07-06 09:11:56 +0100

Academics for Pensions Justice write to the USS board!

Pressure is building on USS, with the Academics for Pensions Justice group writing an open letter to the USS board demanding full transparency. You can read the letter on the USS Briefs site below.

Open letter from Academics for Pensions Justice (#USSBriefs26):

2018-07-04 15:27:29 +0100

USS in transparency shocker!

In a change of heart, USS have decided to make available some documents relating to the 2017 valuation. While this is a step in the right direction, there are still plenty of unanswered questions, so keep signing and sharing the petition!

2017 valuation reference materials:

2018-04-20 09:27:50 +0100

Letters to Bill Galvin

Below are a string of letters I sent to Bill Galvin, USS CEO, and his replies.

  • Letter to Bill Galvin from Sam Marsh, 16 September 2017: here

  • Response from Bill Galvin to Sam Marsh, 25 September 2017: here

  • Letter to Bill Galvin from Sam Marsh, 2 October 2017: here

  • Response from Bill Galvin to Sam Marsh, 3 November 2017: here

2017-09-21 10:45:58 +0100

Encouragement from Frank Field MP!

Frank Field MP has responded to the petition, showing support for our aims.

He writes: "the USS is a singular scheme in many respects, not only by virtue of its sheer size and its multi-employer sponsor base, but also due to the sector it serves and the consequent weight of expertise and intellectual rigour that its members are able to bring to bear on the scheme’s workings".

He also added "I hope that you and your colleagues are successful in your efforts to obtain the greatest possible transparency and accuracy in the assumptions used to calculate the scheme’s funding position. The consultation on the draft valuation report can only be a meaningful exercise if it is based on robust and valid assumptions that are clearly understood by sponsoring employers and scheme members alike", and asked to be kept informed.

We are still awaiting a response from USS...

2017-09-19 19:38:30 +0100

Press coverage: Academics urge universities’ pension fund to explain shortfall

The trustees of the UK university sector’s £60bn retirement fund are facing pressure from academics, including leading statistical experts, to explain a growing funding hole in the scheme.

Read more

2017-09-19 19:34:28 +0100

Petition sent to USS!

The petition was sent to USS a few days ago, with a covering letter to Bill Galvin (USS CEO) copied to all trustees and also to Frank Field MP (Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee).

You can read the covering letter at the link below. Will post any responses when they arrive!

Covering letter to Bill Galvin, USS CEO

2017-09-12 10:07:49 +0100

Success! University of Sheffield posts consultation document online

I'm very pleased to report that the University of Sheffield has decided to post the main consultation document online. Many thanks to all who have signed so far for helping to bring this about!

USS 2017 Actuarial Valuation Consultation Document

This is not the end of the campaign, as the document raises as many questions as it answers. Please continue to sign and share!

2017-09-08 12:31:34 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2017-09-07 14:21:21 +0100

Press coverage: USS Members Press Pension to Disclose Secret Document

Joe McGrath, Institutional Investor, 6 September 2017

Members of the £60 billion ($78.3 billion) Universities Superannuation Scheme are petitioning trustees to disclose funding calculations they’ve shared with their employers behind closed doors.

The pension plan members are concerned that they may have to contribute more to the fund, which has a £17.5 billion deficit, or see their benefits cut when the results of USS’s triennial valuation are published next month. The petition, which began circulating Wednesday, has already attracted signatures from more than 400 members.

Read more: Read more

2017-09-06 17:46:20 +0100

500 signatures reached

2017-09-06 06:53:30 +0100

100 signatures reached

2017-09-05 19:42:19 +0100

50 signatures reached

2017-09-05 18:05:28 +0100

25 signatures reached

2017-09-05 17:11:08 +0100

10 signatures reached