14 March 2018


Updated December 2019

These are materials on the current USS pensions dispute

Other pages on this site:
UCU Congress 2018
Marketisation (of higher education)
Regulations (governing USS)
Terminology (for DB pension schemes)
Timeline (of the dispute)
Valuation (of DB pension schemes in general)

Other documents I maintain:
Jane Hutton timeline
Searchable compendium of USS statements 2019
USS contributions table
USS contributions graph


SD = Collective Defined Contributions discussion
CS = cost sharing
DC = Defined Contribution proposals
E = equality implications of USS changes
FAQ = frequently asked questions
H = history
I = USS investment strategy, de-risking, Test 1
JEP = Joint Expert Panel
JNC = Joint Negotiating Committee
S = strike related
TPR = the Pensions Regulator related (TPR's own statements are in the Regulations page)
UCU = UCU related (see also UCU's Action for USS page)
UCUB = Arguments for yes/no vote in UCU ballot September-October 2019
USS = USS governance
V = valuation process in general
VM = valuation methodology (for academic articles on this see the Valuation page)
VMC = valuation methodology: cash flow approaches
O = other

Acronyms at bottom of page.

December 2019

#USS #VM Let's get USS done!, Henry Tapper, HenryTapper.com, 14 Dec 2019

#USS #VM USS valuation process 'no longer fit for purpose', says panel, Anna McKie, THE, 13 Dec 2019

#USS #VM Second report of the Joint Expert Panel published, USS Employers, 13 Dec 2019

#USS #VM Powerful report provides further evidence that we were right, Jo Grady, 13 Dec 2019

#USS #VM UCU response to USS Joint Expert Panel's second report, UCU, 13 Dec 2019

#USS #VM Second report of the Joint Expert Panel, JEP, 13 Dec 2019

#USS USS Institutions' meeting, 4 December 2019, USS (published 11 Dec 2019) (set of seven videos)

#V The plan for the 2019 valuation, USS, published by Sam Marsh, 4 Dec 2019

#UCU Back on strike, Amia Srinivasan, LRB  blog, 3 Dec 2019

#UCU Universities split over pay deductions for action short of a strike, Anna McKie, THE, 3 Dec 2019

November 2019

#USS Letter from Vicky Blake and Paul Bridge (UCU) to Phil Harding (UUK JNC chair), UCU, 29 Nov 2019
Calls for UUK to join UCU in requesting that David Eastwood stand down as Chair of the USS Board of Trustees.

#USS Universities strike is over more than just pensions, Editorial board, FT, 28 Nov 2019
'An independent inquiry should scrutinise the handling of the USS valuation by all key players, including the Pensions Regulator, and its potential effects on university funding'.

#UCU UCU statement on latest pay talks, UCU, 27 Nov 2019

#UCU More universities to be balloted for strikes, UCU, 26 Nov 2019

#UCU Why we're asking college lecturers to stop striking over pensions and get back to talking, Alistair Fitt, Times, 25 Nov 2019 (or see copy here)

#UCU Saving Britain's universities, Dana Mills, Tribune, 25 Nov 2019

#UCU University lecturers' strike will hit a million students, Rosemary Bennett, Times, 25 Nov 2019

#UCU University strikes: picket lines and cancelled lectures as tens of thousands of staff walk out, Eleanor Busby, Independent, 25 Nov 2019

#UCU Students complain they are being asked to 'snitch' after university asks for names of striking lecturers as eight day industrial action begins, Helena Horton, Daily Telegraph, 25 Nov 2019

#UCU One million students face disruption as university staff begin eight-day strike, Sky News, 25 Nov 2019

#UCU University strike: tens of thousands of staff walk out across UK Sally Weale and Helen Pidd, Guardian, 25 Nov 2019

#UCU This university strike isn't just about pay - it's about an industry in crisis, Heather Connolly, Prospect, 25 Nov 2019

#UCU Universities accused of using 'strong-arm tactics' to stop strike action', Sally Weale and David Batty, Guardian, 24 Nov 2019

#UCU Strike action Q&A with Jo Grady, UCU, 22 Nov 2019 (video)

#USS #VM University leaders make formal commitment to working with UCU on long-term USS pension scheme reform, UUK 21 Nov 2019

#USS #VM 'Engagement on USS issues', letter from Phil Harding (UUK) to Vicky Blake (UCU), 20 Nov 2019 (published 4 Dec 2019)

#UCU UK universities are asked to curb impact of lecturers's strike, Andrew Jack and Josephine Cumbo, FT, 19 Nov 2019

#UCU An open letter to staff impacted by the UCU pensions and pay disputes from Universities UK and the Universties and Colleges Employers Association, UUK and UCEA, 19 Nov 2019

#USS Academics union questions regulator's oversight of USS, Stephanie Hawthorne, Pensions Expert, 18 Nov 2019 (or see copy here)

#UCU As a university leader, I think we can afford a better pensions deal for striking staff, Anthony Forster (VC of Essex University), Guardian, 15 Nov 2019

#UCU University staff launch 8-day strike across UK, Andrew Jack, FT, 15 Nov 2019

#USS Commendation by judges of The John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science 2019, Jane Hutton, 13 Nov 2019

#V Open meeting with Patrick Hackett and the PSLT, University of Manchester, 12 Nov 2019 (video)
Asserts at 1:04 that USS scheme is 'unsustainable'

#UCU University staff don't want to strike for fair pensions and pay, but we're being forced to, Jo Grady, Guardian, 7 Nov 2019

#TPR Written submission by University and College Union to Work and Pensions Select Committee, Parliament, 5 Nov 2019 (or see direct link to PDF here)
On the role of TPR in the governance of USS in its 20187 and 2018 valuations

#UCU Universities face 8-day strike as disputes rumble on, Bethan Staton, FT, 5 Nov 2019

#UCU University workers vote for eight-day strike, Katherine Sellgren, BBC News, 5 Nov 2019

#UCU Is this really a good idea? Michael Carley, 5 Nov 2019

#UCU UUK response to announcement of strike action, USS Employers, 5 Nov 2019

#UCU UCU leader: strikes coming as staff are 'burnt out and leaving sector', Anna McKie, THES, 5 Nov 2019

#UCU We're striking to save Britain's universities, Dana Mills, Jacobin, 5 Nov 2019

#UCU UCU announces eight days of strikes starting this months at 60 universities, UCU, 5 Nov 2019

October 2019

#UCU Response to disruption caused by industrial action, Office for Students, 1 Nov 2019

#UCU We won the vote - now let's start the action, UCU Left, 31 Oct 2019

#UCU 'Angry' workers vote in favour of industrial action, Sally Weale, Guardian, 31 Oct 2019

#UCU UUK response to UCU pensions ballot outcome, USS Employers, 31 Oct 2019

#UCU UCU members back strikes over both pensions and pay and conditions, UCU, 31 Oct 2019
Includes link to full breakdown of results.

#UCU UCU strikes explained, Claire Sosienski-Smith (VP HE of NUS), YouTube, 30 Oct 2019 (video, 2 mins)

#UCUB Christine Haswell on Pensions and Robyn Orfitelli on Pay, Essex University, 23 Oct 2019 (audio)

#UCUB As two ballots come to a close, Jo Grady urges UCU members: 'If you don’t use your vote, your employer gets your voice', Tim Lezard, Union News, 21 Oct 2019

#USS The Insider: Jane Hutton and USS, Felicity Callard and others, USS Briefs 83, 20 Oct 2019

#UCUB Oxford UCU - discussion re ballot, Deepa Driver, Oxford, 18 Oct 2019 (video)

#USS Letter from Sam Marsh (UCU) to Frank Field (Chair of Work and Pensions Committee, 16 Oct 2019 (also published here)

#USS Release investigation report, says sacked USS whistleblower, Anna Mackie, THE, 15 Oct 2019
Interview with Jane Hutton.

#USS UCU comment on sacking of USS board member Jane Hutton, UCU, 11 Oct 2019

#USS Whistleblowing professor Jane Hutton fired from USS board, Anna Mckie, THE, 11 Oct 2019

#USS Investigation into non-executive director's conduct, USS, 11 Oct 2019

#UCUB UCU General Secretary Dr Jo Grady: talk on USS and HE pay and equality ballot, University of Leicester, 7 Oct 2019, published 11 Oct 2019

#UCUB Recent USS and UUK leaks and the USS dispute: key questions for branches to ask vice-chancellors, UCU, 10 Oct 2019

#UCU Shadow education secretary 'fully supports' staff fighting for fair pay and decent pensions, Angel Rayner, UCU, 8 Oct 2019

#UCUB USS pension changes 'would divert money from research', Research Professional, 8 Oct 2019

#UCUB UCU pension proposal unworkable for small organisations, Christopher Williams, Pensions Age, 7 Oct 2019

#USS Possibility of USS trustee legal action, UCU, 4 Oct 2019

#USS QC opinion: there are good grounds to take USS Ltd to court, Academics for Pension Justice, 4 Oct 2019

#O Cambridge College faces resignations over decision to switch pension plans for staff, Camilla Turner, Telegraph, 2 Oct 2019

September 2019

#UCUB 2019 USS ballot video, Deepa Driver, Bruce Baker and Marion Hersh, YouTube, 30 Sep 2019 (video)

#UCUB UCU Ballot video, Carlo Morelli, 29 Sep 2019 (video)

#UCUB The 2018 USS valuation outcome explained, USS Employers, 30 Sep 2019 (video)

#UCUB NUS stands 'shoulder to shoulder' with UCU in fight for fair pay and pensions, UCU, 30 Sep 2019

#I Universities Superannuation Scheme statement of investment principles, USS, 25 Sep 2019

#UCUB Strike ballot FAQs, Cambridge UCU, 25 Sep 2019

#UCUB USS: enough already, Sam Marsh, Sheffield University, 25 Sep 2019 (video, see also slides here)

#USS 'Independent' report, Jane Hutton, Warwick University, 25 Sep 2019

#UCUB Why it's essential we take a stand now over USS, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 82, 24 Sep 2019

#UCUB Key questions about the USS ballot, UCU, 23 Sep 2019

#USS Autocratic leadership and cowboy management: the case of David Eastwood and the ‘post’ neoliberal university, Anonymous Academic, USS Briefs 81, 23 Sep 2019

#UCUB We fight for security and pensions, Jo Grady, Observer (Letter), 22 Sep 2019

#UCUB The case for strikes in Autumn 2020 rather than this academic year, Michael Otsuka, 20 Sep 2019

#V USS 'pushing regulator limits' as it submits 2018 valuation, Jane Philips, Professional Pensions, 18 Sep 2019

#I UK university system ignored warnings, Bernard Casey, letter to FT, 18 Sep 2019

#UCUB USS pension: what's going on?, Andrew Chitty, Sussex University, 17 Sep 2019 (video, see also slides here)

#V USS's Roger Gray: 'stakeholders are in strife', FT, Owen Walker, FT, 14 Sep 2019 (or see copy here)

#UCUB Academics are fighting the wrong battle over pensions, Philip Inman, Observer, 14 Sep 2019 (see also response in letter from Jo Grady, 22 Sep 2019 above, and detailed rebuttal in Twitter thread by Sam Marsh, 26 Sep 2019)

#V 2018 valuation update: 13 Sep 2019, USS, 13 Sep 2019

#V USS update, Bill Galvin, 11-12 Sep 2019, published 7 Oct 2019 (slides presented to UUK annual conference)

#V USS update, Alistair Jarvis, Stuart McLean and Adam Tickell, 11-12 Sep 2019, published 7 Oct 2019 (slides presented to UUK annual conference)

#VM Open letter to UUK regarding 2019 USS valuations, Jane Hutton, USS Briefs 80, 9 Sep 2019 (published a little earlier on Jane Hutton's blog)

#UCUB  Twitter thread on whether employers can afford what UCU are demanding in current USS and pay disputes, Sam Marsh, 9 Sep 2019

#UCU UUK response to UCU decision to reject USS pensions offer, USS Employers, 9 Sep 2019

#H How did we get here? A USS timeline, Sofia Ropek, WonkHE, 8 Sep 2019

#I USS has always focused on best long-term outcomes, Bill Galvin, FT, 6 Sep 2019  (or see copy here)

#UCUB University strike ballots will open on Monday 9 September, UCU, 6 Sep 2019

#UCU  Concluding the 2018 USS valuation: the employer position, USS Employers, 4 Sep 2019 (video) (See also transcript here)

#I Hindsight is 20/20, Roger Gray, USS, 4 Sep 2019

#UCU Pension changes will leave university staff £240k worse off - study, Sally Weale, Guardian, 4 Sep 2019

#UCUB UUK response to UCU analysis on USS benefits, USS Employers, 4 Sep 2019

#UCU Universities braced for lecturers' strike, Rosemary Bennett, Times, 4 Sep 2019

#UCU Report to the University and College Union: consideration of the impact on members' benefits in the USS of the changes in scheme design from 1 October 2011, Derek Benstead, First Actuarial, 30 Aug 2019, published 4 Sep 2019

#UCUB University staff balloting for pension strikes £240,000 worse off as costs rise and benefits cut, UCU, 3 Sep 2019

#UCUB The pointlessness of a push for 26% NOW, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 2 Sep 2019

August 2019

#UCU Twitter thread on the two offers of 9.1% from UUK on 21-22 and 27 August, Sam Marsh, 30 Aug 2019

#I UK university pensions: bottom of the class, Lex, FT, 30 Aug 2019 (or see copy here)

#UUK Union urged to consult members on USS pensions offer, USS Employers, 30 Aug 2019
Includes text of UUK offer of 27 August

#UCU UUK offer to USS Joint Negotiating Committee made in bad faith, NDC, 29 Aug 2019

#UCU UUK universities' pension hole doubles to £6.6bn, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 30 Aug 2019 (or see copy here)

#UCU The 35:65 sharing of contribution increases is biased against members, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 28 Aug 2019

#V 2018 valuation: recovery plan and schedule of contributions consultation, USS Employers, 27 Aug 2019

#USS 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help', Con Keating, Portfolio Institutional, 27 Aug 2019

#VM The USS dispute is not about cost sharing but the survival of defined benefit pensions: a rejoinder, Dennis Leech, Warwick University, 26 Aug 2019

#UCU UK universities brace for strike action in pensions dispute, Richard Adams, Guardian, 25 Aug 2019

#VM The 2018 USS valuation: a wholesale rejection of the Joint Expert Panel's report, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 79, 25 Aug 2019

#JNC Employers strike ban rejected by UCU in pension dispute, UCU, 23 Aug 2019
Explains UCU rejection of UUK offer of 21-22 August

#VM Twitter thread on extent to which USS's Option 3 implements JEP report, Jaya John John, 23 Aug 2019

#JNC UCU reject compromise offer from UUK at Joint Negotiating Committee, USS Employers, 23 Aug 2019
Reports UUK offer of 21-22 August

#JNC Update on USS pension talks, Adam Tickell (Chair of Emploters Pension Forum), Sussex University wesbite, 23 Aug 2019
Reports UUK offer of 21-22 August

#JNC 2018 valuation update: 23 August 2019, USS, 23 Aug 2019
Reports outcome of JNC meeting of 22 August

#JNC Member contributions rise plans confirmed, UCU, 22 Aug 2019
Reports outcome of JNC meeting of 22 August

#JNC Autumn pension strikes more likely as universities impose higher costs, UCU, 22 Aug 2019
Reports outcome of JNC meeting of 22 August

#JNC UUK response to Joint Negotiating Committee decision on 2018 valuation, USS Employers, 22 Aug 2019
Reports outcome of JNC meeting of 22 August

#JNC Text of UUK offer of 21-22 August, published by Josephine Cumbo, Twitter, 30 Aug 2019

#I On the USS investment strategy: comments and calculations, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 78, 19 Aug 2019

#I On USS's discount rate and long-term funding targets, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 77, 19 Aug 2019

#I USS statement of investment principles consultation with employers, USS Employers, 19 Aug 2019

#UCU UCU NDC letter (2 August 2019): response points for employers, USS Employers, 15 Aug 2019 (or see direct link here)

#UCU University pensions: why are fresh strikes threatened?, Jospehine Cumbo, FT, 11 Aug 2019

#TPR Letter from Mike Birch (TPR) to David Eastwood (USS), 6 August 2019, published 27 Aug 2019

#UCU Template for branches responding to Employers Assertions about the USS dispute, UCU, 2 Aug 2019

#VM University pensions deficit could be £23bn, Dominic O'Connell, BBC, 1 Aug 2019

July 2019

#UCU Jo Grady: universities can ignore their staff no longer, Jo Grady, Nick Mayo, THE, 31 Jul 2019 (or see copy here)

#USS Protecting all that is good about USS, David Eastwood, USS, 31 Jul 2019 

#VM Approaches to risk: uncertainties in USS's Test 1 and stochastic modelling, Andrew Chitty and Tim Wilson, USS Briefs 76, 28 Jul 2019

#V The case put forward by Universities UK, representing all USS employers, for the conclusion of the 2018 actuarial valuation in line with the trustee’s option 3 approach, USS Employers, 24 Jul 2019 (published 30 Jul 2019) (or see direct link here)

#USS Declining satisfaction levels with pension scheme at heart of university strikes, UCU, 26 Jul 2019

#V USS report and accounts 2019, USS, 25 Jul 2019

#V Further responses from employers regarding three options presented by the USS Trustee for the conclusion of the 2018 valuation, USS Employers, 24 Jul 2019 (published 30 Jul 2019) (or see direct link here)

#V Q&A: Consultation with USS employers on the USS Trustee's requirements to enable a conclusion to the 2018 valuation in line with option 3 – July 2019, USS Employers, 24 Jul 2019

#UCU UCU counter-proposal, UCU, 24 Jul 2019

#I Consultation on changes to the USS statement of investment principles, Bill Galvin, USS, 22 Jul 2019

#UCU Defending our profession, Jo Grady, UCU, 22 Jul 2019

#O Smashing the consensus on university pension pledges, Patrick Hosking, The Times, 16 Jul 2019 (or see copy here)

#V The USS deficit - it's about time someone did see it and was clear about it too, Bernard Casey and John Ralfe, Royal Economic Society, 16 Jul 2019 (reply to this article)

#V Pensions demands put jobs at risk say universities, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 11 Jul 2019

#TPR Letter from TPR to Frank Field, 9 Jul 2019

#UCU UCU dispute updates - 28 June and 1 July 2019 - response points for USS employers, USS Employers, 4 Jul 2019 (or see direct link here)

#UCU Why universities cannot support 'no detriment', Adam Tickell, Pensions Age,1 Jul 2019

#UCU Simultaneous HE strike over pay and pensions, Jo Grady, UCU, 1 Jul 2019

June 2019

#I How to remain invested in the return-seeking portfolio, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 30 Jun 2019

#UCU Universities on strike warning as UCU announces pay and pension ballots, UCU, 28 Jun 2019

#V Consultation on USS Trustee's requirements for concluding the 2018 valuation, USS Employers, 28 Jun 2019

#V A consultation by Universities UK (UUK) with USS employers on the requirements set out by the USS trustee which would enable the conclusion of the 2018 actuarial valuation in line with option 3, 28 Jun 2019 (or see direct link here)

#V Protecting the employer covenant, USS, published 28 Jun 2019 (or see direct link here)

#UCU UUK response to UCU strike ballot over pensions, USS Employers, 28 Jun 2019

#USS Open letter to Koen Lamberts (VC of Sheffield University) from Sam Marsh (President of Sheffield UCU), 28 Jun 2019

#USS MPs probe regulator's handling of complaint against university pensions scheme, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 27 Jun 2019

#USS Committee questions TPR on its response to USS whistle-blower concerns, Work and Pensions Committee, 27 Jun 2019

#V Letter from Bill Galvin (USS) to Alistair Jarvis (UUK), 26 Jun 2019, published 28 Jun 2019 (or see direct link here)

#USS  The state of USS, Sam Marsh, Sheffield University, 26 Jun 2019 (video, or see transcript here)

#TPR Letter from Frank Field (Chair of Commons Work and Pensions Committee) to Charles Counsell (Chief Executive of TPR), 26 Jun 2019 (or see text here)

#USS Note from Sir David Eastwood, Chair of the USS Trustee Board, to heads of participating institutions, 26 June 2019, USS, 26 Jun 2019

#USS Jane Hutton interview on BBC Radio 4, BBC Sounds, 26 Jun 2019 (audio, interview starts at 19:19, or see standalone clip here, see also transcript)

#USS USS whistleblower 'sidelined' and faces conduct investigation, Nick Mayo, THE, 25 Jun 2019 (or see copy here)

#UCU Dispute over the sector-wide USS pension scheme, Koen Lamberts, Sheffield, 20 Jun 2019

#O Trinity College could face boycott over pension scheme pullout, Richard Adams, Guardian, 20 Jun 2019

#V Letter from Alistair Jarvis (UUK) to Bill Galvin (USS), 19 Jun 2019, published 28 Jun 2019 (or see direct link here)

#USS Representation of the Pension Regulator's views on risk, USS, 18 Jun 2019

#V The USS pension scheme has misled its employers and members about its 2018 valuation, USS Briefs, 18 Jun 2019 (short video) (also available on YouTube)

#V UUK questioned over response to TPR accusation, Jack Gray, Pensions Age, 18 Jun 2019

#VM Prudence is the price of the UK's generous pensions, David Eastwood, THE, 18 June 2018

#V Update from Unversities UK on misrepresentation by USS of TPR position on discount rates, USS Employers, 17 Jun 2019

#V  USS should have released tPR's statement in March and UUK should have called for this then, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 16 Jun 209

#V USS's misrepresentation of TPR, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 15 Jun 2019
Includes text of email from Otsuka to David Eastwood sent that morning, requesting an explanation of why he withheld the TPR email of 8 January from Hutton and asking USS to respond publicly to the email.

#V Regulator rebukes UK university pension scheme. Josephine Cumbo, FT, 14 June 2019 (or see copy here)

#O An open letter to the fellows of Trinity College, Mike Otsuka, Medium, 14 Jun 2019

#UCU The fight to save USS: what's next for our pensions? Sam Marsh, Open University, 13 Jun 2019 (video)

#V Note from Sir David Eastwood, Chair of the USS Trustee Board, to heads of participating institutions, USS, 12 Jun 2019

#V The Aon view: how close is 'option 3' to the JEP's recommendations?, John Coulthard et al, ESS Employers (UUK), 12 Jun 2019

#UCU UCU letter to employers (7 June 2019): further response points', USS Employers, 12 Jun 2019 (or see direct link here)

#UCU Autumn strike warning for universities in USS pension dispute, UCU, 7 Jun 2019
Includes text of letter sent by Paul Bridge UCU to USS employers on 7 June warning of intention to open a trade dispute on USS.

#V Employers confirm views on USS Trustee's three options, USS Employers, 7 Jun 2019

#V Latest Q&A: why employers support option 3, and where next, USS Employers, 7 Jun 2019 (or see direct link here)

#USS Inquiry demanded over governance of universities' pension fund, Kate Beioley, FT, 3 June 2019 (or see copy here)

#USS Let a select committee investigate the concerns about the Universities Superannuation Scheme, letter signed by 1,012 academics, FT, 3 June 2019 (or see copy with list of signatories here)

May 2019

#O Pressure builds on Trinity from its students and national trade union, as USS exit date nears, Sarah Naime Roller, Varsity, 30 May 2019

#V Sheffield response to UUK consultation on USS options 1-3, University of Sheffield, 30 May 2019

#UCU No shortcuts: meet UCU's radical new General Secretary, Craig Gent, Novara Media, 29 May 2019

#CDC Risk-taking, ground-breaking academics in our universities, Henry Tapper, Vision of the Pension Playpen, 28 May 2019

#O Cambridge academics threaten to 'greylist' Trinity College if it leaves USS, Stephanie Hawthorne, Pensions Expert, 28 May 2019

#UCU UCU sets course for industrial action over pay and pensions, Anna McKie, THE, 28 May 2019

#UCU One of us: lecturer turned UCU leader hails 'landmark moment', Nick Mayo, THE, 28 May 2019

#USS Trustee has taken concerns very seriously, David Eastwood and Bill Galvin, FT, 24 May 2019

#O Trinity College and USS, Trinity College Cambridge, 24 May 2019

#USS USS controversy 'raises likelihood of more pension strikes' , Nick Mayo, THE, 22 May 2019

#O Academics pledge to withhold labour from Trinity if it exists UK from pensions scheme, Sara Naima Roller, Varsity, 22 May 2019

#USS Regulators probe claims about university pension plan, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 21 May 2019 (or see copy here)

#V Update: employers' initial views on USS Trustee's three options, USS Employers, 21 May 2019

#O Leaked: Trinity has voted to leave the UK pensions scheme. If two employers exit, staff pensions may be in uncharted territory, Varsity, 19 May 2019

#TPR Letter from Mike Birch (TPR) to David Eastwood (USS), 15 May 2019, published 21 May 2019 (also published here by USS Employers on 10 June 2019)

#O Cambridge College steps closer to pension scheme exit, Fiona McIntyre, *Research, 20 May 2019

#V Completion of 31 March 2018 valuation, Aon, 14 May 2019

#V USS offer doesn't go far enough, say UCU candidates, Nick Mayo, THE, 13 May 2019

#V The outcome of the USS 2018 valuation, Jo Grady and Sam Marsh, USS Briefs, Medium, 13 May 2019

#V 'Absent any new evidence': USS continues to disregard the JEP report, Felicity Callard and others, USS Briefs, Medium, 12 May 2019

#V Q. How close has USS come to implementing JEP's report in full? A. Within a fraction of one percent, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 11 May 2019

#V Carlo Morelli UCU negotiator on USS JNC, Carlo Morelli, YouTube, 11 May 2019 (video)

#JEP Joint Expert Panel (Phase 2): second call for evidence, JEP, 10 May 2019

#V Superannuation Working Group (SWG) report on USS to HESC 2019, UCU, 10 May 2019 (accessible to members only)

#V USS offers new pension options after cutting deficit estimate, Nick Mayo, THE, 9 May 2019

#V The JEP has secured a good result for USS members, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 9 May 2019

#V  First thoughts on the USS proposals, Matt Waddup, Medium, 9 May 2019

#V UCU response to pension scheme proposals from USS board, UCU, 9 May 2019

#V Q&A - three options for concluding the 2018 USS valuation, USS Employers, c. 9 May 2019, published 24 May 2019

#V USS Trustee proposes three options for concluding the 2018 valuation, USS Employers, 9 May 2019

#V 2018 valuation update, USS, 9 May 2019
Summary of the main points of the 'Trustee's reply' document of 7 May

#V Protecting DB savers: our expectations are clear, David Fairs, TPR, 9 May 2019
Says the idea of a Long Term Objective will be 'at the heart of our revised code of practice'

#V Letter from Bill Galvin (USS) to Alistair Jarvis (UUK), 7 May 2019, published 21 May 2019

#V 2018 actuarial valuation: trustee's reply to UUK's feedback and questions on the consultation on the 2018 Technical Provisions, USS, 7 May 2019, published 9 May 2019 (or see direct link here)

#V USS covering note to UUK on matters relating to the 2018 valuation, USS, 7 May 2019, published 9 May 2019 (or see direct link here)

April 2019

#V ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’ - Is the university pension fund really in deficit?, Woon Wong, Royal Economic Society, 18 Apr 2019 (see also reply here)

#V 2018 valuation update, USS, 4 Apr 2019

March 2019

#USS Why we must change the leadership and trustees at USS, Deepa Driver, USS Briefs 70, 30 Mar 2019

#V An update from USS, Bill Galvin and Guy Coughlan, USS, 22 Mar 2019 (webinar). See also transcript and answers to outstandings Q&As

#USS Acknowledging and learning from failures in USS governance, Felicity Callard and Nick Hardy, USS Briefs 69, 22 Mar 2019

#VM UUK responds to the USS 2018 actuarial valuation consultation, USS Employers, 19 Mar 2019
Covering letter together with 'Consultation on the proposed 2018 Technical Provisions actuarial valuation: Universities UUK response'.

#VM Employers' responses to the 2019 UUK consultation on the USS 2018 valuation, USS Briefs, 18 Mar 2019
Gives links to all employers' responses which have been published

#V USS pension offer doesn't go far enough, say UCU candidates, Nick Mayo, THE, 13 Mar 2019

#G Joint Expert panel submission, University of Bristol, 11 Mar 2019
Submission to governance strand of phase 2 of the JEP

#VM The USS dispute has exposed a transparency deficit, Josephine Cumbo, Pensions Expert, 6 Mar 2019

#V On the significance of USS's misrepresentation of tPR, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 6 Mar 2019

#TPR Annual funding statement 2019 for defined benefit pension schemes, TPR, 5 Mar 2019

February 2019

#V Protecting the promises made to members, Guy Coughlan, USS, 28 Feb 2019

#VM Contingent contributions arrangement proposed by Universities UK, USS Employers, 28 Feb 2019
Report by Aon '2018 valuation and contingent contributions, dated 27 February 209, and covering paper by UUK proposing 'trigger contributions' arrangement, for consultation with employers

#VM  Employer webinar 2018 valuation, USS, Vimeo, 21 Feb 2019 (video, see also transcript here)

#V 2018 technical provisions consultation - deadline extended, USS Employers, 18 Feb 2019
Announces that USS have asked UUK to put forward a proposal for trigger contributions that 'has the support of employers'

#VM Does USS's valuation implement JEP in full?, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 16 Feb 2019

#JEP Joint Expert Panel: note of meeting - 4 February 2019, JEP, 12 Feb 2019

#H Is it time to break up the USS? Nick Hillman, THE, 8 Feb 2019 (or see copy here)

#I USS must be planning for the possibility of DB scheme closure in 20 rather than 40 years, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 8 Feb 2019

#I Why Test 1 must be dropped: a critique of its design and implementation, Andrew Chitty and Tim Wilson, USS Briefs 68, 7 February 2019

#TPR Interview: Lord Paul Myners, The Actuary, 7 Feb 2019
Says"We are pushing pension funds into a form of reckless conservatism of buying more bonds" and mentions the influence of TPR in this regard

#V 2018 Actuarial valuation: a framework for contingent contributions, USS, 7 Feb 2019, published 18 Feb 2018

#H UCU response to HEPI's new paper on the Unversities Superannuation Scheme (USS). Matt Waddup, Higher Education Policy Institute, 7 Feb 2019

#H The USS: how did it come to this? Nick Hillman, Higher Education Policy Institute, 7 Feb 2018

#VM Current UK pensions regulation lacks transparency and overstates risk: implications for USS, Dennis Leech, USS Briefs 67, 5 Feb 2019

#JEP Call for submissions - Joint Expert panel, JEP, 5 Feb 2019
Call for submissions for first part of the second phase of JEP's work, on governance and engagement

#VM Why USS lacks grounds for a reliance trigger, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 4 Feb 2019
Argues that the size of the 'reliance gap' or self-sufficiency deficit over the near future is irrelevant and there is no justification for 'trigger contributions' if it goes above a certain level

#DC Big problem? Think small, Nick Stones, *Research, 3 Feb 2018
Suggests methods for dismantling the USS DB scheme piece by piece, including universities creating new legal entities outside USS and transferring employees to them

#V USS update, Jo McNeill, 3 Feb 2019
States that "UUK are actively discussing potential benefit changes as a means to reduce costs of provision"

January 2019

#V The 2017 valuation has been finalised, USS, 31 Jan 2018
Announces a reduction in the deficit recovery contributions from 6% to 5% under rule stage 3 of rule 71 cost sharing

#VM Consultation on recovery plan and schedule of contributions relating to the 2017 actuarial valuation, UUK, 22 Jan 2018
Argues that USS's proposed deficit recovery contributions of 6% are not justified, states that proposed contribution levels at the 3rd stage of rule 76 cost sharing are unsustainable, and suggests that the 1st stage of cost sharing (from April 2019) should stay in place until the 2018 valuation is implemented

#TPR David Fairs: changing pensions for the better, Professional Pensions, 15 Jan 2019 (or see copy here)
Interview with new TPR executive director for regulatory policy, analysis and advice

#VM USS Actuarial Valuation at 31 March 2018 – Initial Thoughts, Aon, 14 Jan 2019, published 15 Jan 2019
Comment on the TP consultation paper of 2nd January from Aon, UUK's actuaries

#S Goodwill hunting after the USS strike, Gail Davies, USS Briefs 66, 10 Jan 2019

#TPR Excerpt from email from TPR to Jeff Rowney, ccd to Bill Galvin and David Eastwood (all USS), 8 Jan 2019, published 15 Jun 2019 (or see text here)

#VM A response to Bill Galvin’s argument on high asset prices buoyed by low interest rates, Woon Wong, Medium, 8 Jan 2018
Argues that equity rates of return do not move in parallel with gilt yields, as USS assumes.

#VM A statement from USS Briefs on the 2018 USS valuation, USS Briefs, 5 Jan 2019

#VM Universities seek to calm staff by halving pensions black hole, Josephine Cumbo, 4 Jan 2019 (or copy here)

#V USS launch consultation with employers on 2018 valuation, USS Employers, 4 Jan 2019

#V 2018 technical provisions Q&A, January 2019, USS Employers, 4 Jan 2019

#V A discussion on the future of USS, USS, 4 Jan 2019

#VM 2018 actuarial valuation: technical provisions consultation document, USS, 2 Jan 2019, published 4 Jan 2019

December 2018

#VM  Ali Tayyebi, Scheme Actuary, speaking at the 2018 Institutions’ Meeting, Vimeo, 6 Dec 2018, published 28 Dec 2018 (video)

#VM Guy Coughlan, Chief Risk Officer, speaking at the 2018 Institutions’ Meeting, Vimeo, 6 Dec 2018, published 28 Dec 2018 (video)

#VM On the different approaches to USS valuation and evidence-based assumptions,Woon Wong, Medium, 26 Dec 2018

#V USS pensions dispute: the state of play, Nick Hardy, USS Briefs 65, 19 Dec 2018

#V Latest USS developments, Matt Waddup, UCU, 18 Dec 2018

#CS Employer consultation launched to conclude 2017 valuation, USS Employers, 18 Dec 2018
Announces launch of consultation with employers on USS cost sharing proposals

#VM The importance of USS's plans to replace 'gilts plus' monitoring between valuations, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 12 Dec 2018

#UCU Update from USS National Dispute Committee, UCU, 14 Dec 2018

#I The rise in contributions traces to an inexplicable refusal to allow a surplus, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 12 Dec 2018

#VM A new letter from the Pensions Regulator, Michael Otsuka, Twitter thread, 14 Dec 2018
Comments on letter from Mike Birch, 11 Dec 2018

#TPR Letter from Mike Birch (TPR) to David Eastwood (USS), 11 Dec 2018, published 14 Dec 2018

#CS Trustee proposal to finalise the 31 March 2017 valuation, Aon, 10 Dec 2018
Comment on the cost sharing proposals from Aon, UUK's actuaries

#CS Letter from Bill Gavin (USS) to Alistair Jarvis (UUK), 5 Dec 2018, published 18 Dec 2018
Rejects any revisions to USS's cost sharing proposals, including UUK's call for reduction of deficit recovery contributions from 6% to 2.1%

#V Trustee proposal to finalise the 31 Mar 2018 valuation, USS, 10 Dec 2018
Proposed arrangements for rule 76 cost sharing

#UCU Letter from Paul Bridge (UCU) to David Eastwood (USS), UCU, 7 Dec 2019
Welcomes the JEP recommendations as the basis for negotiations

#V Actuarial valuation as at 31 March 2017: recovery plan (draft), USS, 5 Dec 2018
Proposed recovery plan for 2017 valuation

#V Schedule of contributions (draft), USS, 5 Dec 2018
Proposed contributions under rule 76 cost sharing

#V Q&A: 2018 valuation, USS Employers, 4 Dec 2018

#V Reports for Trinity College Cambridge consultation on USS exit, 3 Dec 2018, published 12 Dec 2018
Report by the Senior Bursar and a report by pensions consultancy XPS, both commissioned by the college's Council

November 2018

#S Morale is a question of trust, Jo Grady, Wonkhe, 30 Nov 2018

#V A way forward for USS, Bill Galvin, USS, Wonkhe, 30 Nov 2018
Elaborates on Galvin's 'Perspectives on funding pensions', states that the 2018 valuation 'will use use similar methodology to the 2017 valuation'

#VM USS briefing on claims of an error in the 2017 valuation (letter to Michael Otsuka), Guy Coughlan, USS, 28 Nov 2018, published 12 Dec 2018
Response to 'USS's valuation rests on large and demonstrable mistake', Michael Otsuka, 13 Oct 2018. Focuses on the danger of the self-sufficiency deficit becoming unmanageably large to justify contributions increases

#VM Automatic trigger warning, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 26 Nov 2018
Summary of Twitter threads in which Otsuka resists demands from USS for trigger contributions

#VM In his linked blog post on the new valuation, Michael Otsuka, Twitter thread, 23 Nov 2018
Response to 'Perspectives on funding pensions', focusing on its emphasis on the current reliance gap

#VM USS's obsession with short term risk and reliance plus legally enforceable triggers, Michael Otsuka, Twitter thread, 23 Nov 2018
Argues that TPR is behind the drive from USS to impose legally enforceable trigger contributions

#V University pension scheme to review its funds following protests, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 22 Nov 2018

#VM Perspectives on funding pensions, Bill Galvin, USS, 22 Nov 2018
Defends USS's valuation methodology against claims that it is too optimistic or pessimistic

#VM Concluding the 2017 valuation, USS, 22 Nov 2018
Announces a 2018 valuation

#VM Statement by USS to Josephine Cumbo, Twitter, 22 Nov 2018
Announces a 2018 valuation, states that Test 1 will remain part of the methodology

#CS 2017 Actuarial valuation: employer consultation in respect of cost sharing proposals, USS, 21 Nov 2018
Summary of and response to USS's consultation with members on cost sharing

#VM JEP report, new research findings and fiduciary duties of trustees, Woon Wong, Medium, 21 Nov 2018
Argues that USS are wrong to assume rates on return on other asset classes will continue to parallel gilt yields, responds to 'A technical response to commentary on asset projections', Guy Coughlan, 16 Oct 2018

#I Report for the University and College Union: Three Questions on the USS 2017 valuation, Hilary Salt and Derek Benstead, First Actuarial, 16 Nov 2018
Addresses Sam Marsh's new Test 1 calculations and USS's responses to them

#JEP UUK consultation with employers on JEP recommendations: analysis of responses, USS Employers, 15 Nov 2018

#JEP Letter from Alistair Jarvis (UUK) to Bill Galvin (USS), 14 Nov 2018
Says 'vast majority' of employers support the JEP report's recommendations

#JEP Update: employers' views on JEP recommendations, USS Employers, 8 Nov 2018
UUK announces following consultation with employers that most support the JEP's recommendations

#UCU Higher education special sector conference on JEP and USS, 7 Nov 2018, UCU

#VM USS's DC default option is invested much less cautiously that the DB fund, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 4 Nov 2018

#VM My response to the proposed changes to USS, letter to UUK and USS trustees, Woon Wong, Medium, 3 Nov 2018

October 2018

#JEP JEP report and latest USS developments, Matt Waddup, UCU, 31 Oct 2018

#V Letter from USS to VCs, USS, 23 Oct 2018
Proposes a 2018 valuation to supersede the 2017 valuation

#I A response to Kevin Westbroom's query regarding Test 1. Michael Otsuka, Medium, 20 Oct 2018

#JEP USS warned of 'pernicious consequences' of accepting joint expert panel review, James Phillips, Professional Pensions, 23 Oct 2018
Reports letter from 39 economists of 12th October

#CS 'Resile and resubmit: USS consultation response template, USS Briefs 61, 22 Oct 2018

#JEP University pension fund warned against revising outlook, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 22 Oct 2018
Reports letter from 39 economists of 12th October

#I Test 1 de-risking is dead, long live de-risking!, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 18 Oct 2018
Responds to 'A technical response to commentary on asset projections', Guy Coughlan, 16 Oct 2018. Specifically criticises Coughlan for claiming that Sam Marsh's new Test 1 calculations assume a smoothing of contributions over 20 years.

#VM #USS ValuationGate, Caption Generator, 17 Oct 2018 (satirical video)

#VM USS dismisses claims of 'flawed' pension scheme valuation, Chris Parr and Martin McQuillan, Research Professional, 17 Oct 2018

#JEP A short guide to the Joint Expert Panel's recommendations, USS Employers, 17 Oct 2018

#I University pension fund accused of exaggerating shortfall, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 16 Oct 2018
Reports Sam Marsh's new Test 1 calculations

#I 'There must be something missing here': Sam Marsh exposes new problems with the USS valuation, Felicity Callard et al, USS Briefs 59, 16 Oct 2018
Criticises USS's governance structure for preventing the flaws in Test 1 from coming to light.

#I A technical response to commentary on asset projections, Guy Coughlan, USS, 16 Oct 2018
Argues that contributions need to rise now to fund the new liabilities being created even if they will fall later assuming interest rates rise, and that de-risking is needed because interest rates may not rise, or there may be a market shock.

#I Claims of a 'large and demonstrable error’ in the valuation, USS, 16 Oct 2018
This and 'A technical response' (above) are a response by USS to 'USS's valuation rests on large and demonstrable mistake', Michael Otsuka, 13 Oct 2018. Focuses on the danger of 'downside events', and the possibility that interest rates may not rise, to justify de-risking.

#I A response to USS's initial reply to my claim that their valuation rests on a mistake, Medium, 15 Oct 2018
Responds to the replies by USS to Sam Marsh's new test 1 calculations

#I Replies by USS to Sam Marsh's new Test 1 calculations, Josephine Cumbo, Twitter, 15 Oct 2018

#VM Turbulence and plane crashes are not the same: UUK's muddled 'risk appetite', Sean Wallis, Convention for Higher Education, 15 Oct 2018

#I A flawed valuation: a laypersons's guide to my findings on USS's 'Test 1', Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 58, 15 Oct 2018
Summarises the essential point of 'USS's valuation rests on large and demonstrable mistake', Michael Otsuka, 13 Oct 2018, in non-technical language

#I Response to David Miles's analysis of the role of Test 1 in USS valuation, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 55, 14 Oct 2018
Sam Marsh's third submission to the JEP. Briefly rejects several claims in 'The state of USS', David Miles, 24 Jul 2018.

#I USS's valuation rests on large and demonstrable mistake, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 13 Oct 2018
Argues that USS have made a mistake in assuming TP liabilities in 20 years will equal assets, and so in formulating Test 1 to ensure that the gap from the former to the self-sufficiency value of liabilities is within the permitted £10bn. This design fails to  capture the underlying rationale of Test 1. Sam Marsh's calculations show that if Test 1 were formulated in terms of prudently projected assets it would be met with no need for de-risking between years 0 and 20..

#JEP Report of the Joint Expert Panel on USS September 2018, John Ralfe Consulting, 12 Oct 2018 
Letter to Bill Galvin from 39 economists rejecting the JEP's report and saying the scheme's liabilities should be valued at their market buy-out value, reported by FT on 22 October (see above)

#JEP Letter from Bill Galvin (USS) to Alistair Jarvis (UUK), 9 Oct 2018, published 10 Nov 2018
Says that if UUK have revised their attitude to risk from Nov 2017 then USS is willing to do a 2018 valuation to replace the 2017 one

#I Discussion document for the University of Sheffield USS Working Group, Sam Marsh, 5 Oct 2018, revised 12 Oct 2018
Using USS-provided figures shows that if de-risking were abandoned then prudently projected assets at year 20 would be £78.2bn and only £2.8bn short of self-sufficiency liabilities, in real terms

#JEP JEP boils down to three options for UCU and UUK to negotiate, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 13 Oct 2018

#JEP FAQs on the USS JEP report and 'no detriment', UCU UCL, 4 Oct 2018

September 2018

#V How we run our money: USS, Bill Galvin and Guy Coughlan, IPE, Sep 2018

#H Performance of the USS retirement income builder or defined benefit fund, USS, updated Sep 2018
Shows the DB fund has tripled in value 2009-2018

#JEP Backing for defined benefit pensions scheme bucks trend, Josephine Cumbo FT, 27 Sep 2018 (reprinted here)

#JEP Universities UK consultation with USS employers on JEP recommendations, USS Employers, 24 Sep 2018

#JEP UCU superannuation working group endorses JEP report on USS pension scheme, UCU, 21 Sep 2018
States that the UCU superannuation working group welcomes the JEP report and says its recommendations should form the basis for negotiations

#JEP UCU Superannuation Working Group endorses JEP recommendations, UCU, 21 Sep 2019
States that the UCU superannuation working group endorses the JEP report and its recommendations as a basis for negotiations

#JEP The JEP report has vindicated the UCU strike, but where next for the USS dispute? Felicity Callard and others, USS Briefs 52, 19 Sep 2018

#JEP The JEP report, Sam James, Cambridge UCU, 17 Sep 2018

#JEP USS joint expert panel recommends risk review and reduced contributions, James Phillips, Professional Pensions, 14 Sep 2018

#JEP The JEP report and its implications - some first thoughts, Douglas Chalmers, ucuagenda, 13 Sep 2018

#JEP JEP reports ... what next?, UCU Left, 13 Sep 2018

#JEP Response to Joint Expert Panel report on USS valuation, UUK, 13 Sep 2018

#JEP JEP reports on 2017 USS valuation, UCU, 13 Sep 2018
Statement from Sally Hunt welcoming the JEP report as 'serious and constructive'

#JEP Statement on the Joint Expert Panel, USS, 13 Sep 2018
Expresses the hope that the JEP report can 'provide the basis for UCU and UUK to agree a way forward that could be introduced before the significantly higher phases of cost sharing increases come into effect'

#JEP #I Report of the Joint Expert Panel, JEP, 13 Sep 2013
Recommends various tweaks to the 2017 valuation which would reduce contributions to 29.2%. Includes a long discussion of Test 1.

#VM USS crisis: can the pension system be reformed? Mervyn King and John Kay, THE, 6 Sep 2018 (reprinted here)

#I Addendum to to ‘Understanding “Test 1”: a submission to the USS Joint Expert Panel’, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 51, 2 Sep 2018
Sam Marsh's second submission to the JEP. Using USS-provided figures calculates that if de-risking were abandoned the current deficit would be £0.4bn, and this would become a large surplus by year 20.

August 2018

#VM Financialisation imposes constraints on the USS Joint Expert panel but a UCU success is still possible, Paul Bridgen, USS Briefs 50

#I On de-risking and self-sufficiency in relation to USS, Woon Wong, USS Briefs 49, 24 Aug 2018

#I A talkthrough of the model of the USS valuation, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 45, 23 Aug 2018 (video)

#VMC Not even wrong: why arguments for closing the USS based on its deficit are so badly flawed, Tim Wilkinson, USS Briefs 48, 23 Aug 2018

July 2018

#VM UUK should now endorse the level of investment risk USS was prepared to accept in February 2017, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 26 Jul 2018

#V USS report and accounts 2018, USS, 25 Jul 2018

#CS Proposed changes to pension contribution rates, UUK, 25 Jul 2018
Response to USS's publication of cost sharing plans

#V What should our members think about USS?, Bill Galvin, USS, 25 Jul 2018

#CS Cost sharing update: proposed changes to contribution rates, USS, 25 Jul 2018 (cached)
Set of four documents unveiling USS's cost sharing plans for implementation from April 2019

#VM Defending pensions: a fight for all our futures, Megan Povey, USS Briefs 37, 25 Jul 2018

#I The state of USS: some observations, David Miles, USS Briefs 36, 24 Jul 2018

#VM Is USS in deficit? Two bad arguments, and one good one, that the answer is no, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 18 Jul 2018

#JEP Panel hears from USS trustee chair, Joanne Segars, 17 Jul 2018 (also reported as JEP 6 - note of the meeting, UUK)

#VM Reckless prudence: how investment sponsor risk-aversion is breaking USS, George Cooper, USS briefs 35, 16 Jul 2018 (abridged version of 'Reckless prudence', George Cooper, 23 Jun 2018)

#CDC Collective defined contributions pensions, Work and Pensions Committee, 16 Jul 2018

#VM Industry debate and USS's phantom deficit, Woon Wong, USS Briefs 34, 12 Jul 2018

#V Staying vigilant: leaked documents reveal new rift between UUK and USS over contribution increases and the future of the pension scheme, Felicity Callard and others, USS Briefs 33, 11 Jul 2018

#I Understanding 'Test 1': a submission to the USS Joint Expert Panel, Sam Marsh, USS Briefs 32, 10 Jul 2018
Sam Marsh's first submission to the JEP. Summarises Test 1 step by step and finds it unfit for purpose.

#JEP Chair's report: 28 June 2018, Joanne Segars, JEP site, 9 Jul 2018 (also reported as Joint Expert Panel meeting 5, UUK)

#VM USS is a special case: 17 questions for the Joint Expert Panel, Dennis Leech, USS Briefs 28, 5 Jul 2018

#VM Email and briefing pack from Alistair Jarvis (UUK) to employers, 5 Jul 2018, published 8 Jul 2018

#VM Four key issues for the Joint Expert Panel, John Murray, USS Briefs 27, 5 Jul 2018

#JEP Open letter from Academics for Pensions Justice, Academics for Pensions Justice, USS Briefs 26, 5 Jul 2018

#S Fourteen days that shook the universities, Christian Hogsbjerg and others, International Socialism, 2 Jul 2018

June 2018

#UCU Higher Education Committee (HEC) report on meeting of 29th June 2018, UCU Left, 30 Jun 2018

#JEP Chair's report: 22 June 2018, Joanne Segars, JEP site, 29 Jun 2018 (also reported as Joint Expert Panel meeting 4, UUK)

#JNC USS Joint Negotiating Committee meeting on 25 June: A brief report, Marion Hersh and Carlo Morelli, UCU Left, 26 Jun 2018

#UCU UCU Left report from NEC 22.5.18, UCU Left, 23 Jun 2018
Reports decisions at NEC of 22 June, including agreement that motions 10 and 11 from UCU Congress will be debated at the recalled UCU Congress

#UCU Brief report from the UCU Higher Education Sector Conference on USS in Manchester [21 June 2018], UCU Left, 23 Jun 2018

#UCU UCU report on Special Higher Education Sector Conference on USS, 21st June 2018, 22 Jun 2018
Gives a list of the motions heard at this Sector Conference and decisions on each motion (see also full list of motions submitted)

#VM Reckless prudence: how to break a pension system, George Cooper, Equitile Investments, c. 23 Jun 2018

#CS An update on cost sharing and what it means for you, USS, 22 Jun 2018

#UCU USS: keep up the pressure, UCU Left, 20 Jun 2018
Discussion of forthcoming UCU Special Higher Education Sector Conference

#N Revealed: how Cambridge attempted to rig the system and steer staff strikes, Noella Chye et al, Varsity, 20 Jun 2018
Reveals minutes of Cambridge Finance Committee meeting of October 2017 where it was said that if USS moved to DC this would facilitate Cambridge's exit from the scheme

#JEP Chair's report: 12 June 2018, Joanne Segars, JEP site, 12 Jun 2018 (also reported as The Joint Expert Panel held its second and third meetings on 6th and 7th June, UUK )

#JEP JEP holds first meeting, Joanne Segars, JEP site, 7 Jun 2018 (also reported as Joint Expert Panel: first meeting, UUK)

#I How to meet USS's rationale for Test 1 without 'de-risking' the portfolio, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 6 Jun 2018 (reprinted as Beyond 40 years, here be dragons: how to meet USS's rationale for Test 1 without 'de-risking' the portfolio for at least 30 years, USS Briefs 30, 7 Jul 2018)
Proposes a continually renewed 40 year investment horizon for USS

#V Work and Pensions Commitee inquiry on DB pensions, 2nd oral evidence session, 6 Jun 2018, published 11 Jun 2018
'Questions to be covered will include what standards should TPR set for pension scheme funding, and what are appropriate recovery plan lengths to return pension schemes in deficit to being fully funded.'

May 2018

#UCU UCU Congress 2018, 30 May to 1 June 2018
A collection of materials on this congress and on the Sector Conferences on 30 May 2088

#VMC Death by discount rate: the fundamental flaws of the accounting approach to pension scheme valuation, Tim Wilkinson and Frank Curtiss, Professional Pensions, 29 May 2018

#JEP Universities UK announces nominations to the USS Joint Expert Panel, Employers Pensions Forum, 24 May 2018

#H Historical contributions, Bill Galvin, USS, 23 May 2018
Letter from Bill Galvin (USS) explaining the period of reduced contributions by employers  between 1997 and 2009

#JEP UCU announces nominations to USS Joint Expert Panel, UCU, 21 May 2018

#JEP UCU and UUK announce appointment of Chair for USS Joint Expert Panel, UCU, 18 May 2018 (see also simultaneous UUK announcement)

#UCU Timetable and motions for UCU congress 2018, UCU, 15 May 2018

#JEP Email from Sally Hunt to UCU members, 9 May 2018
Calls for nominations for the JEP

#JEP How expert? How transparent? Thoughts on the JEP terms of reference and interim arrangements for USS, Cambridge UCU, 5 May 2018
Discusses the outcomes of the JNC and HEC meetings of 27 April

#H Scheme actuary declared 14% employer contribution rate insufficient to cover future service, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 4 May 2018
Shows that in 1999 the USS actuary estimated that an employer contribution rate of 16.3% was required to cover the cost of future service benefits, however it was agreed to keep employer contributions at 14% and to use the 'surplus' in the main fund to make up the remainder

#CS Stakeholders withdraw proposed changes to USS benefits, USS, 3 May 2018
Reports that on 2 April JNC have withdrew its 23 Jan decision, USS will initiate process for cost sharing to be implemented 1 Apr 2019, JEP will work in parallel with this and its recommendations could be implemented later

#JEP Email from Sally Hunt to UCU members, 3 May 2018
Reports on plans for formation of JEP

#JEP The USS Joint Expert Panel and more, Adam Ozanne, 2 May 2018
Summary of the HEC meeting on 27 April

#V Work and Pensions Commitee inquiry on DB pensions, 1st oral evidence session

April 2018

#TPR Annual funding statement for defined benefit pension schemes, TPR, Apr 2018

#VM Summary of the scheme actuary's valuation report for the purpose of rule 76.1, late Apr 2018
Summary of the report to USS by their actuaries, which was submitted to them in December 2017

#O UCU National Executive Committee must amend terms of USS Joint Expert Panel, change.org, 30 Apr 2018
Calls for electoral input, accountability, transparency in JEP

#JEP The Joint Expert Panel will fail unless it is both radical and transparent, Dennis Leech, 30 Apr 2018
Argues that the JEP needs to 'address fundamental issues and ask basic questions' and sets out an agenda for it to do so

#JEP Is this the JEP you voted for? Chris Grocott, Jo Grady, Felicity Callard and Stan Papoulias, USSbriefs, 30 Apr 2018
Criticises the selection process and terms of reference of the JEP

#JEP The Joint Expert Panel is being set up to fail. Here's what you can do, Lee Jones, Medium, 30 Apr 2018
Criticises the selection process and terms of reference of the JEP

#JEP Email from Sally Hunt to UCU members, 30 Apr 2018
Announces terms of reference of JEP, invites members to self-nominate for places

#JEP Terms of reference for the JEP, UCU, 30 Apr 2018

#CS Papers for the JNC meeting of 27 Apr 2018, published 29 Apr 2018
The paper from USS proposes the imposition of cost sharing under rule 76 from 1 Apr 2019 while the JEP runs in parallel and its recommendations are possibly implemented from 1 Apr 2020

#JEP What's next for USS? Possible outcomes of the April 27 JNC, Cambridge UCU, 27 Apr 2018
Summarises points from papers for the JNC meeting of 27 April, points to possible outcomes

#JEP Report from HEC meeting 27 April 2018, Rachel Cohen, City University of London UCU, 28 Apr 2018
Summarises the HEC meeting of 27 April, in more detail

#JEP HEC: USS strikes have transformed our union; it's not 'business as usual', UCU Left, 27 Apr 2018
Briefly summarises the HEC meeting of 27 April

#JEP Paper HEC /1112 for the HEC meeting of 27 Apr 2018, published in part 28 Apr 2018, in full 29 Apr 2018 (partial publication here)
Proposes the selection process and terms of reference for the JEP

#CS USS - advice to JNC on trustee letter 17 April 2018, dated 25 Apr 2018, published 29 Apr 2018
Letter of legal advice to chair of JNC on revoking its decision of 23 January and possibilities of mitigating or preventing cost sharing using rule 76.5 or 79.7

#V USS valuation - FAQs for USS members, UUK, 24 Apr 2018

#UCU USS bosses try to undermine UCU agreement with employers - build the campaign and prepare to strike, UCU Left, 24 Apr 2018

#S Personal reflections on the great university strike of 2018, Philip Cunliffe, 19 Apr 2018
Claims that the strike showed that managers of the 'neoliberal university' no longer have any real authority over their staff

#TPR Regulating between the lines: the pensions dispute in UK universities, Paul Daly, Administrative Law Matters, 18 Apr 2018
Comments on the reasons for TPR's opacity, argues that because it does not take enforcement decisions but only threatens them its actions are not open to judicial review

#VM Information request to USS trustees, Fighting for Pensions Justice, 18 Apr 2018
Formal request for USS data

#JEP Email from Sally Hunt to UCU members, 18 Apr 2018

#CS Email from Bill Galvin to employers, dated 18 Apr 2018 (published in part 19 Apr 2018, in full 22 Apr 2018)
States that USS will take JNC's decision of 23 January to be void, unless JNC informs them otherwise before the end of this month, and that cost sharing under rule 76 is then the default option, to be implemented 1 April 2019

#H Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), Djuna Thurley, House of Commons Briefing Paper, 16 Apr 2018
Summarises the dispute to date

#UCU After the ballot - where are we now with our USS dispute? UCUagenda, 16 Apr 2018

#UCU What next for UCU in the USS pensions dispute? Lee Jones, Medium, 15 Apr 2018
Argues for a renewal of UCU at all levels

#UCU Why UCU general Secretary Sally Hunt should resign, Lee Jones, Medium, 14 Apr 2018
Lists Sally Hunt's failings back to 2006, calls for her resignation

#JEP How to constitute a joint expert panel, Warren Pearce, USS Briefs 19, 13 Apr 2018

#JEP Email from Alistair Jarvis to employers, dated 13 Apr 2018 (published, 17 Apr 2018)
Says that JEP will have to report in time for changes to be implemented in April 2019 'if we are to avoid the imposition of substantial increased costs on employers and scheme members' (probably a reference to USS rule 74.6)

#JEP Ballot result on joint expert panel, UUK press release, 13 Apr 2018
Says 'current pension benefits are guaranteed until at least 1 April 2019, so the panel will need to conclude its work in time to put in place a sustainable way forward for USS from that date'

#JEP UCU members vote in record numbers to accept proposals in pensions dispute, UCU press release, 13 Apr 2018
Announces result of e-ballot: 64% yes, 36% no, 65% turnout.

#JEP Members vote to accept employers' latest offer, UCU, 13 Apr 2018
Gives exact numbers voting for and against in e-ballot

#JEP Email from Sally Hunt to UCU members, 13 Apr 2018
Announces result of the e-ballot

#JEP Pressing ‘pause’ on strike action: historical context for the Joint Expert Panel, Jack Saunders, USSbriefs, 12 Apr 2018
Argues that pausing strike action while an independent committee investigates the issues has not led to good outcomes for workers in the past

#JEP Email 4 from Sally Hunt to UCU members who had not yet voted in ballot, 12 Apr 2018
Includes Lesley McGorrigan 'Revise and submit' proposal of 11 April

#UCU Open letter to UCU leadership from the branch, Senate House UCU, 12 Apr 2018
Criticises the UCU leadership for its handling of the ballot on the UUK proposal of 23 March

#V Protecting Defined Benefit: managers, trustees, regulators, and the possibility of a pension scheme that works for us, John Murray, USSbriefs, Medium, 11 Apr 2018
Focuses especially on the conservative investment strategy of USS

#TPR The Office for Students responds to University and College Union pensions ballot, Office for Students, 11 Apr 2018
Warns HE providers that if there is further industrial action the OfS is prepared to use its 'powers under the 1992 Higher Education Act to protect quality and standards'

#IA technical overview of the 2017 valuation, USS, 11 Apr 2018 (video)
See also transcript. Discusses Test 1 from video 25:50, transcript page 13

#JEP A letter to Sally, Lesley McGorrigan, UCU Left, 11 Apr 2018
Asks Sally Hunt to circulate an argument for rejecting the UUK proposal, adds a detailed 'Revise and resubmit' proposal

#JEP Email 3 from Sally Hunt to UCU members, 11 Apr 2018
Gives three reasons in favour of voting to accept the UUK proposal of 23rd March

#JEP Email 2 from Sally Hunt to UCU members, 6th April 2018
Answers six questions about the ballot. Posted as UCU statement, 9 Apr 2018

#JEP Why trust should not be the issue in the ballot, Tom Pike, Medium, 8 Apr 2018

#V The 2017 valuation: questions and answers, USS, updated 6 Apr 2018

#JEP Is an employer commitment to ‘no detriment’ feasible in the USS dispute?, Sean Wallis, Convention for Higher Education, 6 Apr 2018
Argues that a commitment to no detriment for the current valuation round is compatible with appointing a JEP

#VMC Is there really a USS deficit?, Dennis Leech, USSbriefs, Medium, 5 Apr 2018
Critique of the methodology of USS valuation and advocacy of cash flow approach

#JEP The USS dispute - some facts you may need before voting, Adam Ozanne and Alex Grunz, UCUagenda, 4 Apr 2018
Sections 7 and 8 summarise the UUK proposal and argue for accepting it

#JEP Consultative ballot on UUK proposal now open, Sally Hunt, UCU, 4 Apr 2018
Announces opening of ballot on UUK proposal, recommends accepting it, adds link to Alistair Jarvis letter of 28 March

#JEP UCU strikes: the ballot, what it means, and where we go from here, Jeanette Findlay, TwitLonger, 3 Apr 2018
Argues for accepting the UUK proposal of 23 March, addresses a number of the arguments against acceptance

March 2018

#JEP Deal or no deal?, Steven Parfitt, Jacobin, 31 Mar 2018
Weighs up arguments for accepting or rejecting the UUK proposal of 23 March, drawing parallels with the West Virginia teachers' strike

#S Striking, social media, and building a better university, Chris Bertram, Crooked Timber of Humanity, 31 Mar 2018
Argues that the strike has shown that 'a different kind of university is possible' and gives a basis for contesting metric-chasing, performance targets and the 'consequent quotidian degradation of academic life'

#UCU A mess, but not a stitch-up: Wednesday's national UCU branch meeting, Sam James, Cambridge UCU, 31 Mar 2018
Summarises the branch delegates meeting on 28 March, supports the idea of a JEP but argues that on current knowledge of the UUK proposal UCU members should not accept it

#JEP Q&A on the proposal from UUK going out to ballot to UCU members, Michael Otsuka, Medium 30 Mar 2018
Argues for a yes vote, on the grounds that the UUK offer is indication of a genuine change of heart by UUK

#UCU UCU's rush to e-ballot reflects the weakness of union democracy, Lee Jones, Medium, 29 Mar 2018
Criticises in detail the processes of the UCU meetings of 28 March leading to the decision to ballot members on the UUK proposal of 23 March

#JEP Vice-chancellor welcomes latest proposal to resolve USS dispute, Stephen Toope, Cambridge University, 29 Mar 2018
Welcomes the idea of a JEP, suggests that the ACAS agreement of 12 Mar should be the minimum position, subject to improvement dependent on JEP's recommendations, and suggests an 'interim valuation' followed by a new settlement based on the JEP's recommendations that is introduced mid-valuation round

#JEP UCU members need to know what UUK will choose if they accept the proposal, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 29 Mar 2018
Assumes that the results of the JEP cannot be applied to the 2017 valuation, then argues that whether UCU members should vote to accept the UUK proposal depends on what UUK intends to impose for the current valuation round

#UCU A reflection on today's UCU meetings [28 March 2018], Rachel Cohen, 29 Mar 2018
A summary of the branch delegates meeting and HEC meeting on 28 March from a member who was present at both

#VM The 2017 actuarial valuation, Guy Coughlan and Ali Tayyebi, USS, 28 Mar 2018 (video)

#JEP Now vote No and continue the fight, Carlo Morelli and Sean Wallis, UCL Left, 28 Mar 2018
Reports HEC decision to put UUK proposal of 23 March to a ballot of union members, calls for a No vote to this ballot

#JEP USS update, UUK press release, 28 Mar 2018
Reports UCU's decision to ballot members on UUK proposal of 23 March, says that employers' support for the proposal is 'conditional on the suspension of industrial action'

#JEP UCU members to be consulted over the latest pension dispute proposals, UCU press release, 28 Mar 2018
Reports that after gaining clarification that 'the defined benefit element of the scheme would be maintained while a joint-expert panel considers the valuation of the USS fund' the HEC has voted to ballot the membership on the UUK proposal of 23 March as it stands

#JEP Letter from Alistair Jarvis to Sally Hunt, Twitter, 28 Mar 2018
Distributed at UCU delegates meeting on 28 March, published in UCU press release of 4th April, says that UUK does not intend to return to the January decision to end DB, says UUK is committed to 'maintaining a meaningful defined benefit pension offer at this valuation'.

#JEP Transcript of UCU branch delegates meeting of 28 March 2018, UCL UCU website, 28 Mar 2018

#JEP Comparing 12 March proposal v 22 March proposal, UCL UCU, 27 Mar 2018
Compares the wording of the UUK proposal of 23 March concerning the JEP with that of the ACAS proposal of 12 March

#JEP UCU motions passed in response to pension proposal two, Brodie Waddell, 26-27 Mar 2018
Collects texts of motions passed at UCU branch meetings on 26-27 March in response to UUK proposal of 23 March

#JEP Deal or no deal, William Pooley, 27 Mar 2018
Argues that branches should call for UCU to ballot members on the UUK proposal of 23 March rather than to negotiate further on its wording

#JEP Latest UUK proposal: your questions answered, UCU, 26 Mar 2018
Gives the text of Sally Hunt's email to members answering questions on the UUK proposal of 23 March and UCU's procedure in response to it

#JEP #NoDetriment: keep the action on until we get a clear settlement, UCU Left, 25 Mar 2018
Calls on UCU to negotiate changes to the proposal, specifically the inclusion of a 'no detriment' clause for the current valuation round, and for UCU members not to be balloted until the proposal is agreed by USS trustees and TPR

#JEP University strikes: employers’ retreat needs to be nailed down, Des Freedman, Counterfire, 25 Mar 2018
Says UCU needs to demand that the proposal of 23 March be revised to assert a commitment to pensions 'essentially equal to existing benefits', to a deadline for a new valuation be set before the start of 2019, and for there to be no victimisations or demands to reschedule classes

#JEP How good is the new UUK proposal?, Sam James, Cambridge UCU, 24 Mar 2018
Says that UCU needs a clear commitment from TPR that it will accept an extension to the deadline for the 2017 evaluation, and from USS that the JEP's conclusions will be allowed to replace the current valuation

#VM Analysis of the new deal - why the devil is in the details, EM_HealthPsych's Blog, 24 Mar 2018
Mouthpiece for #strikeDad, who argues that the JEP must be able to consider using actual rates of return on investments rather than government bond yields to determine the discount rate

#VMC Why the UCU should not leave the USS valuation to the proposed panel of selected experts, Dennis Leech, 24 Mar 2018
Argues that the existing risk-based calculation of deficits should be replaced by an assessment of expected cash flows, for which all that is needed is for USS to provide its figures

#JEP Thoughts on the UUK proposal of 23 March 2018, Lee Jones, Medium, 24 Mar 2018
Gives a detailed point-by-point commentary on the proposal of 23 March

#JEP Why I now support the latest USS pension proposal, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 24 Mar 2018
Says he has been informed that 'there are now many more points of common understanding between the employer and the union than there were a few weeks ago', argues that they are now 'united behind the aim of finding a way to sustain a guaranteed pension broadly comparable with current provision', and supports the proposal for that reason

#JEP Some reservations regarding the proposed joint panel of experts, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 24 Mar 2018
Argues that the JEP is likely to end up deadlocked between UUK-nominated and UCU-nominated experts

#UCU USS: Now we’re talking! Time to fight for #NoDetriment, Sean Wallis, UCU, 23 Mar 2018
Argues that the commitment in the proposal of 23 March to 'a guaranteed pension broadly comparable with the current arrangements' should be revised to 'a guaranteed pension whereby employees neither pay more nor receive less than the current arrangements'

#JEP New proposal sent to UCU members in USS pension dispute, UCU, 23 Mar 2018
Second press release announcing UUK offer

#JEP Strong member action leads to new offer, UCU, 23 Mar 2018
First press release announcing UUK offer

#JEP Joint expert panel proposed, UUK, 23 Mar 2018
Proposes a jointly appointed expert panel to review the scheme's valuation, together with commitment to recommend measures that 'provide a guaranteed pension broadly comparable with current arrangements'

#JEP Statement from Fellows of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, 23 Mar 2018
Criticises UUK's consultation methods, calls for an independent panel to scrutinise the methodology used to calculate the deficit, and says that in the meantime we should return to the status quo, as we cannot pass judgement on 'proposals that are based on figures that are still subject to dispute'

#V Letter to staff from Minouche Shafik (Director of LSE), 23 Mar 2018
Calls on UUK to 'work with UCU' to revert to the September valuation

#UCU University members asked to strike to defend USS pension scheme, Unison, 23 Mar 2018
Announces that members of UNISON will be balloted in April for strike action over the USS moved to defined benefits following a 91% rejection of the change in an internal consultation

#JEP Open letter to UUK and UCU, Edward Byrne (Principal of Kings College London), 22 Mar 2018
Proposes terms of references for a jointly-agreed review panel and suggests that meanwhile TPR should extend the current consultation period

#VM USS Investment's Fundamental Building Blocks (FBB) approach to expected returns, Roger Gray and Mirko Cardinale, USS, 22 Mar 2018
Outlines the USS's approach to predicting long run returns on its assets portfolio, based on breaking the portfolio down into different types of asset

#VMC Why some actuaries are getting pension schemes wrong, Dennis Leech, 21 Mar 2018
Argues that the current method of assessing pension schemes by setting the present market value of their total assets (mark-to-market accounting) against their future liabilities leads to exaggerated calculations of risk and so to artificial deficits

#VM Response to Prof Otsuka for Meeting 23 March 2018, Steve Towers, USS, 22 Mar 2018

#V Remarks on a topic of concern to the university: the Universities Superannuation Scheme, Cambridge University Reporter, 20 Mar 2018
Set of written statements from senior members of Cambridge faculty on the USS crisis

#TPR Defined benefit pension schemes, Djuna Thurley and Federico Mor, House of Commons Briefing Paper, 20 Mar 2018
Summarises the white paper of 19 March

#TPR Protecting defined benefit pension schemes, DWP white paper, 19 Mar 2018

#TPR DWP plans to give pension regulator new powers to safeguard DB pensions, FTSE Global Markets, 19 Mar 2018
Summarises new DWP White Paper 'Protecting Defined Benefit Schemes, focuses on plans to give the Pensions Regulator new powers to prevent employers putting defined benefit pension schemes at risk

#UCU No deficit = no change. No to CPI erosion. Defend the 'status quo' in USS, 19 Mar 2018
Calls for USS to seek government guarantees and rejects a pension cut

#JEP Confidence and credibility, UCU press release, 19 Mar 2018
Response to UUK press release of 18 Mar, says that an expert panel to review the valuation must be jointly agreed by UUK and UCU, and that meanwhile 'the employers need to take the current pension cuts off the table'

#V Did Cambridge's colleges help cause the staff pensions crisis? Noella Chye and Catherine Lally, Varsity, 19 March 2018
Analyses the role of Oxford and Cambridge college bursars in the shift from the September to the November valuation

#E Letter to UUK from Changing University Cultures Collective, 19 Mar 2018
Withdraws from association with UUK because of its recent actions

#V Response from Churchill College to Jarvis letter, 19 Mar 2018

#V Letter from Alistair Jarvis (UUK) to Athene Donald (Churchill College Cambridge), 18 Mar 2018
Says that UUK's response to the September 2017 USS valuation was informed by 'a number of sources', not just by the survey of USS employers that month

#JEP Confidence and credibility, UCU, 19 Mar 2018
Second UCU response to UUK press release of 18 March

#JEP UCU responds to UUK valuation review, UCU, 18 Mar 2018'
First UCU response to UUK press release of 18 March

#JEP Panel of independent experts to review processes for arriving at pension deficit, UUK press release, 18 Mar 2018
Announces that UUK will unilaterally set up a panel to review the methodology and assumptions of the current USS valuation, to report back 'as soon as possible'

#JEP Statement from the governing body of Queens College Oxford, 18 Mar 2018
Argues that UUK should not be contemplating any substantial changes to the USS scheme when the calculation of its deficit is 'the subject of legitimate enquiry and controversy'

#JEP Response to Jarvis article, Michael Otsuka, Twitter thread, 18 Mar 2018

#JEP Union's pension demands will cost £1bn a year, Alistair Jarvis, UUK, Sunday Times, 18 Mar 2018 (or copy on UUK site titled 'USS pensions update')

#E Letter to Alistair Jarvis (UUK) from heads of 29 subject associations and learned societies in the Arts and Humanities, 18 Mar 2018
Points out that the proposed changes to the USS scheme are 'inherently in contradiction with Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charter principles'

#VM A crown guarantee for USS? Alexander Douglas, Medium, 18 Mar 2018

#V Addressing the facts of the USS valuation, Bill Galvin, USS, 16 Mar 2018
Reaffirms the validity of the current USS valuation

#V Six things you should know about the 2017 valuation, USS, 16 Mar 2018
Says 'the estimated cost of funding future defined benefits is the most material issue arising out of the valuation'

#V Open letter from the governing body of Churchill College Cambridge to UUK, 16 Mar 2018 Rebukes UUK for its manner of consultation and the Pensions Regulator for its lack of transparency, calls for a 'speedy interim solution' while the valuation of USS is revisited

#VMC Reply to Sally Hunt, Dennis Leech, 16 Mar 2018
Argues that UCU should not be asking for increased contributions from employers or employees but should be rejecting the valuation methodology which produces the 'so-called deficit'

#VMC Rising interest rates finally explode the myth of your pension fund deficit, The City Grump, Real Business, 15 Mar 2018
Points out that using government bond yields as the discount rate for a pension fund leads to deficit figures that vary wildly as interests rates go up or down

#VM Why pensions are worth striking to protect, Sally Hunt, FT Adviser, 15 Mar 2018
Calls for employers to increase their contributions and take on a 'very small increase in risk' in order to retain a pension scheme at the level 'required by UCU members'
See also 'Reply to Sally Hunt' by Dennis Leech above

#V Statement on the pensions dispute from the Fellows of Kings College Cambridge, 15 Mar 2018
Calls for 'the greatest possible transparency regarding valuation methodologies' and supports the September valuation

#S Notes on the UCU strike, Ed Rooksby, Brave New Europe, 15 Mar 2018
Comments on the wider political implications if the strike is successful

#V Universities UK planning more talks with UCU to end pensions dispute, UUK press release,14 Mar 2018
Accepts that there are 'concerns about how the scheme has been valued' and says UUK would like to meet with UCU as soon as possible to 'better understand the concerns raised by their branches'

#E Newnham Principal writes to Chief Executive of UUK to urge him to take action in USS pensions dispute, 13 Mar 2018
Points out that defined contribution schemes may proportionately disadvantage women, expresses concern over variations in the valuation of USS, criticises UUK for its 'opaque' consultative process

#VMC Shift the regulatory balance back to a sensible view of real-world pension costs, Frank Curtiss and Tim Wilkinson, FT, 13 Mar 2018 (or copy here)
Asserts that using government bond yields to calculate the discount rate for a pension fund, and the statutory requirement to eliminate deficits quickly, are making pensions schemes artificially appear unaffordable, and that schemes should be assessed instead on a cash flow basis

#E Open letter to Equality Challenge Unit and all UK university leaders, 14 Mar 2018
Asserts that the proposed changes to the USS scheme are 'directly in conflict with the Athena SWAN Charter and Race Equality Charter', 2000 signatories

#E Women to be hardest hit by proposed university pension scheme changes, Martin Heneghan, Jo Grady and Liam Foster, UCU Sheffield, 14 Mar 2018

#TPR USS strike: regulator is to blame for pensions crisis, David Bailey and John Clancy, THE 13 Mar 2018
Argues that in the light of QE-induced gilt yield falls TPR should have advised years ago that funds should not use these as a basis for discount rates

#JNC University strikes remain on as UCU rejects proposals, UCU press release, 13 Mar 2018

#JNC Table comparing UCU-UUK agreement with earlier proposals, Andrew Chitty, 13 Mar 2018

#JNC Open letter rejecting the UCU/UUK agreement at ACAS, 12 Mar 2018 10,000 signatories

#JNC UCU-UUK agreement under auspices of ACAS, 12 Mar 2018
Assumes the November valuation, keeps defined benefits for 3 years, cuts accrual rate to 1/85, defined benefit limit to £42000, increases employee contributions by 0.7%, employer contributions by 1.3%

#VM USS strike: social media has collapsed the case for pension cuts, Sherrill Stroschein, THE, 12 Mar 2018

#V Letter from Athene Donald (Churchill College Cambridge) to Alistair Jarvis (UUK), 8 Mar 2018 Requests transparency on how responses to the Sep 2017 UUK survey of employers were weighted (see above for response by Jarvis on 18 Mar)

#O USS strike: long-term promise on employer contributions may break pensions impasse, Jon Forster et al, THE, 5 Mar 2018
Calls on employers to make a 20-year commitment to maintain pension contributions at 18% of salary

#H Thread on the shift to from defined benefit to defined contribution in UUK documents from 2007 to 2017, Felicity Callard, Twitter, 5 Mar 2018

#VM Mathematical operations with the normal distribution, Sean Wallis, 4 Mar 2018
Argues with mathematical tools that the USS deficit is 'obviously an artefact of the valuation method'

#VM USS is the tip of the iceberg: our pensions system is a hot mess, Christine Berry, Open Democracy, 1 Mar 2018

#V 'Universities accept a small amount of increased risk', Michael Otsuka, Medium, 1 Mar 2018 Argues in favour of returning to the September valuation, as proposed by UCU on 27 Feb

February 2018

#V USS valuation: questions and answers, UUK, Feb 2018

#H Parliamentary briefing: Universities Superannuation Scheme, UUK, Feb 2018

#JNC UCU proposal, 27 Feb 2018
Calls for return to September valuation, cuts accrual rate to 1/80, increases employer contributions from 18% to 20.7% and employee contributions by from 8% to 9.4%

#V USS strike: is it time to nationalise university pensions? Stuart Croft (Warwick VC), THE, 26 Feb 2018

#JNC Open letter from UUK to USS scheme members over pension dispute, 22 Feb 2018

#VM Discussing deficits, Guy Coughlan, USS, 21 Feb 2018

#H Open letter from Imperial College London UCU to Provost of ICL, sent 20 Feb 2018, published 22 Feb 2018
Points to the reduction of employer contributions from 18.55% to 14% from 1997 to 2009

#H Universities Superannuation Scheme, Djuna Thurley, House of Commons Briefing Paper, 20 Feb 2018
History of valuations since 2011

#V Oxford's and Cambridge's role in the demise of USS, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 12 Feb 2018
Argues that Oxford and Cambridge played a major role in the move from the September to the November valuation, and that they were motivated by an underlying wish to exit the defined contribution scheme

#H Made in Westminster; the source of the USS 'crisis' - and the solution, Sean Wallis, Leicester UCU, 9 Feb 2018
Sees the source of the present USS 'crisis' in the 2004 Pensions Act, quantitative easing, and the 'competitionising' of the HE sector since 2010, calls for full nationalisation of the USS scheme

#JNC Can strikes now prevent the imposition of detrimental changes on USS?, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 5 Feb 2018

January 2018

#JNC Proposed changes to future USS benefits, USS, 23 Jan 2018
Announces decision of JNC that day

#JNC Revised UUK proposal to the JNC, 23 Jan 2018
Proposal to move to a DC scheme any future contributions; employer contribution would remain at 18% but only 13.25% would go into members' DC funds, with most of the remainder going to fund the deficit in the DB scheme; employee contribution would be 8% with option to reduce to 4%; these were the proposals adopted by the JNC after the chair's casting vote

#V Don't object to the high cost of your own making, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 15 Jan 2018

#V The incoherence of UUK's attitude towards risk, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 2 Jan 2018

December 2017

#CS Update on the 2017 valuation funding review, USS, 21 Dec 2017
Reports that on 19 December the USS board triggered the process for rule 76.4 cost sharing if JNC makes no decision by 23 January

#V 2017 valuation funding review: the challenges, Bill Galvin, USS, 15 Dec 2017
Summarises the two main reasons why things are worse in 2017 than 2014 - lower rates of return and higher uncertainty

#VM 2017 actuarial valuation; technical provisions approved assumptions document, USS, dated 8 Dec 2017, published later
The 'November valuation'. Reports that UUK has indicated that employers want to reduce the risk of having to pay higher contributions later, that USS has decided to shift investments towards bonds now rather than in 10 years time, and that consequently the funding deficit is now £7.5bn, requiring an 11.4% increase in contributions.

#CS Email from Alistair Jarvis to VCs, 1 Dec 2017
Warns that USS has made it clear that if the JNC does not reach agreement on 18 December it will begin the formal process under rule 76.4 culminating in cost sharing

November 2017

#I Meeting with Imperial College on aspects of the 2017 actuarial valuation of USS: discussion point 1: the planned de-risking stragey, USS, 23 Nov 2017 (PPT presentation)
Compares the effects of 'no de-risking', 'linear de-risking' and 'deferred de-risking' on expected rates of return, and on the variance in expected self-sufficiency deficit at 5 and 10 years

#VMC USS pension changes would be a disaster for universities, but they are preventable, Dennis Leech, THE, 21 Nov 2017 (or see copy on Dennis Leech's blog)

#JNC Employers propose reforms to ensure USS pension scheme remains sustainable and attractive to members, UUK, 17 Nov 2017
Summarises UUK proposal to replace defined benefit by defined contribution for all new contributions

#VM Response to First Actuarial report on technical provisions consultation, Bill Galvin, USS, dated 17 Nov 2017, published later
Responds to First Actuarial report of 15 September 2017, argues that its assumptions are too optimistic

#VM UUK responds to USS consultation on funding proposals, USS, 14 Nov 2017
Summarises the 'November valuation'

#VM Update and comments regarding the USS 2017 Actuarial Valuation of Sept. 1 2017, Working party on pension valuation, ICL, 10 Nov 2017

#V Why should it matter that we can't afford to do what we have no reason to do, Michael Otsuka, 4 Nov 2017
Argues that USS's preoccupation with the month to month level of 'reliance' (the self-sufficiency deficit) is irrational.

October 2017

#VM Universities UK response to the USS technical provisions consultation, UUK, 10 Oct 2017, published 19 Oct 2018

September 2017

#VM Protecting pensions, Guy Coughlan, USS, 29 Sep 2017
Briefly summarises 'Test 1'

#VM Investment challenges: the facts, Roger Gray, USS, 22 Sep 2017
Focuses on the progressive fall in long-dated index-linked gilt yields since 2014 as a sign of lower expected rates of return

#VM Examining the numbers on pension valuations, David Spiegelhalter and others, FT, 19 Sep 2017 (see also copy on Cambridge UCU website)
Letter signed by 50 academics, including the President of the Royal Statistical Society, questioning several central assumptions behind the USS's September valuation

#VM Would a shift from bonds to growth assets keep the USS afloat?, Michael Otsuka, Wonkhe, 17 Sep 2017
Compares the USS valuation of 1 September and First Actuarial valuation of 15 September

#I Report for UCU: progressing the valuation of the USS, Hilary Salt and Derek Benstead, First Actuarial, 15 Sep 2017

#TPR Letter from Geoff Cruickshank (TPR) to David Eastwood (USS), 15 Sep 2017, published 5 May 2018
Response to the 'September valuation', states that TPR does not think the covenant is as strong as USS does, suggests that USS should be de-risking more rapidly

#VM Consultation with UUK commences,USS, 1 Sep 2017
Announces the 'September valuation' and start of consultation with employers

#I 2017 actuarial valuation: technical provisions consulation document, USS, 1 Sep 2017
The 'September valuation', also available here. Discusses Test 1 on pages 40-42.

August 2017

#DC Suitability and sustainability: pensions in the higher education sector, Employers Pension Forum, Aug 2017
Advocates a shift from DB to DC schemes in British universities

#VM How decisions are made on future pensions for USS, Bill Galvin, USS, 24 Aug 2017

#VM A comment and query for USS's CEO, Michael Otsuka, Medium, 4 Aug 2017

July 2017

#V USS Report and Accounts (scheme), USS, 25 Jul 2017
Provisionally reports a deficit on 1 March 2017 of £12.6bn

June 2017

#TPR Talk at Institutional Investor: UK and Ireland summit DB conference, Lesley Titcomb, 13 Jun 2017
Mentions that a 'gilts plus' discount rate for valuations is not a regulatory requirement

May 2017

#TPR  Annual funding statement for defined benefit pension schemes, TPR, May 2017

April 2017

#TPR Report for UCU - the parameters of Test 1, Salt and Benstead, 25 Apr 2017

March 2017

#I USS: understanding Test 1, Sam Marsh, YouTube, 15 Mar 2017 (3 short videos)

February 2017

#TPR Security and sustainability in defined benefit pension schemes, DWP green paper, 20 Feb 2017

#I Methodology and inputs for the 2017 valuation: initial assessment, USS, 17 Feb 2017
The 'February valuation'. Mentions the rationale for Test 1 on page 10.


#VM Alarming deterioration in USS funding is based on an incoherent valuation methodology, Michael Otsuka, 21 Dec 2016
Argues that USS has incoherently switched from a 'best estimate minus' to a 'gilts plus' basis for setting the discount rate between valuations, advocates reverting to the former

#VM 'Flaws' in valuations of pension fund obligations, Josephine Cumbo, FT, 12 Dec 2016 (or see copy here)
Quotes Michael O'Higgins, chair of TPR 2011-14, saying that DB pension fund liabilities should be assessed using a discount rate based on expected yield of fund's actual assets, not expected gilts yield

#I First Actuarial's response to USS's approach to self-sufficiency, Michael Otsuka, 11 Dec 2016
Explains USS's Test 1 approach to setting the discount rate and sees the First Actuarial report of 6 Dec 2016 as arguing that a discount rate based on historical equity yields should be used instead

#VMC Report to UCU: input to the valuation as at 31 March 2017 of the USS', Hilary Salt and Derek Benstead, First Actuarial, 6 Dec 2016

#VM Covering letter to employers and UCU reps on response to the Valuation Discussion Forum, Jimmy Donaghey and Allan Spencer, 28 Nov 2016

#I Proposed approach to the methodology for the 2017 actuarial valuation: response to the Valuation Discussion Forum, USS, 22 Nov 2016
This is the USS's response to the Valuation Discussion Forum held mid-2016. Discusses the Test 1 procedure on pages 4-6, 10-11

#V 2017 valuation timetable, USS, Nov 2016, published 5 May 2018

#TPR Written evidence from Association of Pension Lawyers to House of Common Work and Pensions Committee, Rosalind Connor, Sep 2016
See section B on DB pensions regulated by TPR

#V Covenant review for the 2017 valuation, USS, 29 Sep 2016

#VMC Our mad approach to pension fund deficits, Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 14 Sep 2016

#VMC Pensions deficits: mark-to-market valuation is the elephant in the room, Dennis Leech, Jul 2016
Argues that along with other factors the use by pensions trustees of the yield of government bonds, which is very low, to calculate discount rates has led to attributing large artificial deficits to defined benefit schemes, and that the regulations need to be changed so that the solvency of pension schemes is assessed, as it previously was, by expected cash future flows


#VM Actuarial valuation at at 31 March 2014: statement of funding principles, USS, Jul 2015

#VM Universities Superannuation Scheme statement of investment principles, USS, Jul 2015

#VM Union comments on the USS consultation, Sam Marsh, Sheffield UCU/Unite/Unison, 17 May 2015

#DC DC vs DB - briefing for universities, John Coulthard and Sophia Singleton, Aon Hewitt, 17 Jun 2015
Presentation given to a UCEA event 'Pensions in 2015 and beyond - a shifting landscape' (the page for this event on the UCEA website has been emptied but there is a Google cache here - I have requested that the content of the page be restored)

#VM Disputed 2014 valuation of USS, UCU Sheffield, 15 Mar 2015
Summarises the dispute over the 2014 valuation, gives links to a number of relevant documents


#I Response to the Universities Superannuation Scheme consultation on technical provisions and recovery plan, UUK, 2 Dec 2014

#I Report to the USS paper: '2014 actuarial valuation: a consultation on the proposed assumptions for the scheme's technical provisions and recovery plan', First Actuarial, Nov 2014
Response to the 2014 valuation consultation document. Discusses de-risking and Test 1 on pages 7-11, 16-20

#VM Letter to members of the USS Trustee Board, Jane Hutton and others, 21 Nov 2014
Criticises the USS's valuation methodology in detail

#VM Proposed changes to USS: myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings, Employers Pension Forum, 9 Oct 2014 (see also updated version, 11 Nov 2014)

#VM False assumptions of the USS, Saul Jacka et al, THE, Oct 2014 (or see copy here)

#I 2014 actuarial valuation: a consultation on the proposed assumptions for the scheme's technical provisions and recovery plan, USS, Oct 2014
Discusses the rationale for Test 1 on pages 10-13, reprints as Appendix A the pages on the test from 'An integrated approach to scheme funding', Jul 2014.

#I An integrated approach to scheme funding, USS, Jul 2014
Introduces and states Test 1 on pp. 10-14


My aim is to post links to all important documents relevant to the origins and course of the 2018-19 USS dispute, from whatever source. I have to use my own judgement in deciding which documents are important. Significant Twitter threads are included.


DB = Defined Benefit
DC = Defined Contribution
DWP = Department of Work and Pensions
HEC = Higher Education Committee of UCU
JEP = Joint Expert Panel
NEC = National Executive Committee of UCU
TPR = the Pensions Regulator

Many thanks to all who have sent suggestions.
Andrew Chitty a.e.chitty@sussex.ac
Twitter @aechitty1