Views from USS

Latest insights and commentary on current and emerging pension topics written by staff at USS and USS Investment Management Ltd.

Perspectives on funding pensions

Bill Galvin

22 November 2018

The issue of the ‘right way’ to fund USS pensions has generated much debate.

On the one hand, the trustee is accused of being recklessly prudent in its funding assumptions, and so requiring contributions that are unnecessarily high.

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The divestment debate

David Russell

22 October 2018

Earlier this month, the world’s media reported on the stark warnings contained in a report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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What should our members think about USS?

Bill Galvin

25 July 2018

There has been no shortage of commentary on USS over the last year. It has come from many sources, with various motivations. I sympathise with our members, who would like, I am sure, a simple, unfiltered account of how USS has performed.

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Working with employers: the USS employer training programme

Jill Galvin

17 July 2018

How we work with employers is essential to delivering our pension product to our members and supporting the member journey, ensuring that the scheme runs smoothly.

Over the years we have worked closely with employers, via the Institutions Advisory Panel (IAP), to ensure that we are enabling employers to carry out key administration tasks, as well as receiving feedback on how we can do better.

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How pensions work, making investment decisions and why pension funds like USS are becoming powerful investors

Howard Brindle

17 May 2018

USS Investment Management’s Deputy CEO, Howard Brindle, was interviewed for a new podcast, The Return, on the basics of pensions and USS’s innovative investment strategy.

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What does it take to be an active shareholder?

Elizabeth Fernando

15 May 2018

We take our responsibilities as investors seriously at USS and have had a team dedicated to Responsible Investment for almost two decades. We’re investing over £60 billion in a variety of different asset classes, on behalf of thousands of pension scheme members.

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Why a US court case about a Brazilian oil company might matter to your pension

Jeremy Hill

6 April 2018

Earlier this year we learned that an historic settlement had been reached in a large and long-running legal case. The total value of the settlement is USD 3 billion (ie. USD 3,000,000,000).

This is a genuinely historic settlement for a case of this kind – it’s the largest securities/investments class action settlement in over a decade, and is the largest settlement ever in a class action involving a non-US issuer (ie. Petrobras). It is the fifth largest class action settlement ever in the US.

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Addressing the facts of the USS valuation

Bill Galvin

16 March 2018

Events in the last week have brought to a head very real concerns among members around the country as regards the USS valuation.

However, it concerns me that the debate we’ve witnessed has led to some misunderstandings amongst members of the trustee’s position. I would like to take the opportunity to address some of these in turn.

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Rising to the ‘professional’ challenge in investment

Elizabeth Fernando

9 March 2018

Elizabeth Fernando, USS Investment Management’s Head of Equities, was interviewed at the 2018 PLSA Investment Conference on how the equities markets have evolved over the last ten years.

She discusses the challenges currently facing the asset management sector and the increased focus on professionalism, and highlights the work USS is doing in responsible investment.

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Discussing deficits

Guy Coughlan

21 February 2018

Last summer we published our Annual Report & Accounts and announced that, as at 31 March 2017, our assets had grown in value by more than £10bn in just 12 months, to £60bn.

But it was our funding deficit that made headlines and, since then, USS’s funding position has been the subject of some debate as we’ve carried out our latest triennial valuation.

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Carbon footprinting in multi-asset funds – what USS has learned

David Russell

20 February 2018

USS’s Co-Head of Responsible Investment, David Russell, was interviewed by S&P Dow Jones Indices about the approach we have taken to measure carbon footprinting across all asset classes (not just equities) – and some of the challenges we encountered when we tried to do this.

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USS’s approach to Responsible Investment

David Russell and Dr Daniel Summerfield

8 January 2018

As a pension fund representing almost 400,000 members with over £60 billion in assets, the USS trustee’s primary aim is to provide a secure pension for members in their retirement. To this end, we are bound by a legal duty to act in the best financial interests of the scheme.

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2017 valuation funding review: the challenges

Bill Galvin

15 December 2017

The current USS valuation is challenging. The issues we have had to address are not unique to us, or the Higher Education sector. They are much broader issues about future economic growth, future investment returns, and how they influence the ability of employers to underwrite pension promises.

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USS Investment Builder: the first year

Naomi Clark

31 October 2017

In October 2016, USS launched USS Investment Builder, the new defined contribution section of the scheme. One year on, we take a look at how it has performed, and how our members feel about it.

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Protecting Pensions

Guy Coughlan

29 September 2017

In order to put a price on providing a promised £1 of pension for each year in retirement through the USS Retirement Income Builder, we’re effectively trying to predict the future.

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Investment challenges: the facts

Roger Gray

22 September 2017

Much has been written about USS’s investment performance recently, with some suggesting it is the reason the scheme is facing some difficult decisions – so I want to set out some facts to address this.

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How decisions are made on future pensions for USS

Bill Galvin

24 August 2017

USS is the biggest pension plan in the UK by assets. Nevertheless, we are not immune to the substantial challenges of manufacturing retirement income in a world where the future looks more uncertain; these are well rehearsed, both for individuals and for scheme sponsors.

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Last updated: about 3 months ago