Universities Superannuation Scheme

USS is the corporate trustee responsible for the management and administration of the scheme. Established in 1974, the trustee has its head office in Liverpool. The scheme is supervised in terms of its conduct of operations and financial reporting by the Pensions Regulator.

The trustee, supported by its advisory committees, directs and controls the scheme to ensure that it continues to provide a valuable way for members to save for retirement.

The trustee board delegates responsibility for day to day management of the scheme to the group executive.

The rules, principles, practices and processes by which USS is governed are set out in the USS Governance Framework.

The USS Group Code of Conduct provides statements of, and guidance for, behaviours and acceptable business conduct that apply to all USS staff.

USS also conforms with the Modern Slavery Act and our position is set out in more detail in our Modern Slavery Act statement (2019). The 2018, 2017 and 2016 statements are also available.

USS has set out its approach to managing its tax affairs and tax risks in its tax strategy in accordance with the statutory requirements under Para 19(2), Schedule 19 of Finance Act 2016.

Governance structure

Advisory committee

The advisory committee counsels the trustee on the exercise of its powers and discretions (other than those relating to investment matters). It advises the trustee when difficulties in the implementation or application of the rules arise and on any complaints received, as well as any other matters as required.

The advisory committee consists of six members, three of whom are appointed by Universities UK and three by the University and College Union. The chairperson is appointed by the members of the committee.

For more information on the current committee members please refer to the committee members page.

The committee's terms of reference are defined here.

Audit committee

The audit committee, which convenes at least once every quarter, considers and reports on the adequacy of systems of internal and financial control, risk management, corporate governance and financial reporting. It examines management's processes and arrangements to ensure an effective and appropriate control environment that complies with the standards and requirements of relevant regulatory systems.

Specifically, the committee's responsibilities are:

- Provide assurance to the board on all matters relating to the appropriateness and effectiveness of the trustee company's risk management and internal control systems and those of its investment subsidiary, USS Investment Management Ltd; and

- Assist the board in ensuring that financial and business reporting arrangements are appropriate to achieve accurate, balanced and understandable corporate reporting.

Committee responsibilities are detailed in its terms of reference available here.

The committee's members are appointed by the board and include at least three board directors and at least one committee member with recent and relevant financial experience. For more information on the current committee members please refer to our committee members page.

Governance and nominations committee

The governance and nominations committee meets at least three times per year. Its responsibilities are to:

- Provide assurance to the board on relevant matters relating to its corporate governance capability;

- Ensure the effective implementation of policy and practice in relation to governance arrangements and board and committee performance and effectiveness.

Committee responsibilities are detailed in its terms of reference available here.

For more information on the current committee members please refer to the committee members page.

Investment committee

The committee is established under the articles of association of the trustee company and the rules of the scheme to:

- Advise the trustee board on all strategic matters relating to the investment of the assets of the scheme, having regard to regulatory requirements and

- Provide oversight of the investment of the scheme's assets.

The committee meets five times per year, in accordance with scheme rules. Committee members include directors, the chair of the wholly owned investment management subsidiary, USS Investment Management Ltd and investment specialists.

The terms of reference for the investment committee can be accessed here.

Joint Negotiating committee

The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) has a number of responsibilities. It approves amendments to the rules proposed by the trustee, can itself initiate or consider alterations to the rules and can also consider any rule amendments proposed by the advisory committee. The JNC decides how contribution increases or decreases will be borne and/or what benefit changes should apply, in circumstances where the cost-sharing provisions under the scheme rules, have been invoked. In addition, the JNC has a number of other responsibilities.

For more information and reports of the JNC meetings please refer to the committee page.

Policy committee

The policy committee, which meets on a quarterly basis, offers advice to the trustee board on issues of strategy and policy. The committee's main responsibilities are to:

- Keep the scheme rules under review;

- Oversee the scheme rule amendment process; and

- Provide advice to the board on proposed rule amendments which from time to time it is asked to consider.

Committee responsibilities are detailed in its terms of reference available here.

For more information on the current committee members please refer to our committee members page.

Remuneration committee

The remuneration committee, meets at least twice a year, to ensure that remuneration arrangements for the group:

  • Support the strategic aims of the trustee and enable the recruitment, motivation and retention of group employees;
  • Comply with the requirements of regulatory and governance bodies, satisfy the expectations of stakeholders and remain consistent with the expectations of the employee population.

The formal terms of reference can be accessed here.

For more information on the current committee members please refer to our committee members page.

The trustee

The scheme’s trustee is Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited (USSL or trustee). It is a corporate trustee which has overall responsibility for scheme management. It is supported in its role by a group of pension professionals comprising amongst others, actuaries and lawyers who are based across its London and Liverpool offices.

The Trustee’s key responsibility is to ensure that USS pays benefits as they fall due. In order to do so the Trustee must ensure that USS:

  • is adequately funded
  • has an appropriate investment strategy, having regard to the support available from sponsoring employers and the demographic of the scheme
  • is administered and run in a way which demonstrates an appropriate level of care and skill and value for money for both members and sponsoring employers

USSL delegates day to day administration of the scheme to an experienced team of pension administrators who are based in the Liverpool office. This team is supported by Capita, an external pensions administration firm.

For additional details on the trustee board’s responsibilities please click here.

The trustee board is comprised of between 10 and 12 members: four appointed by Universities UK; three appointed by the University and College Union; and the remaining members are independent directors appointed by the board. The trustee board meets on average five times per year but can convene at any time if there is a requirement to do so.

For more information on the current membership of the trustee board click here.

Last updated: about 10 months ago