Dear Colleagues,

The Joint Expert Panel (JEP) published their second report this morning. As the first institution to call for a JEP to be established we appreciate the hard work of its members and the willingness of all parties involved to consider the report carefully and with a view to finding a way forward that balances statutory responsibilities with the need to have a sustainable and affordable scheme for the many staff who work in our sector.

The JEP was looking in particular at the valuation methodology - the assumptions used to determine the financial state of the scheme and the contributions of employers and employees needed to sustain the scheme. The report makes a series of recommendations covering the governance of the Scheme, the valuation methodology and the way forward. You can find a summary of the report here.

You will recall that we recently wrote to The Pensions Regulator (tPR) and the USS Trustee urging them to be transparent about their decision-making with respect to the fund valuation and governance, and to act in the best interests of our community. We have received a response from tPR Chief Executive and welcome his confirmation that they are ‘…engaging with the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) and will consider their recommendations carefully…’.

The national representative bodies, UCU and UUK will now examine the JEP2 findings and recommendations and consult with their members. Last year we drew upon the expertise of our own community to help us understand the implications of the first JEP report. Professor Axel Gandy (Chair in Statistics) and Professor David Miles (Professor of Financial Economics) both gave evidence to the JEP panel. We have asked Axel and David, along with Professor Richard Craster (Professor of Applied Mathematics) and other experts in our community to look at the latest JEP findings and share their views. 

We will write again early in the new year with a summary of the input we receive on JEP2 and plans for consultation with you on the report findings in the lead up to the March 2020 valuation, as well as an update on our ongoing pay and benefits conversations.

Best wishes,

Alice and Ian

Professor Alice P. Gast, President

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost