Universities UK has told me:
“Employers support the JEP’s recommendations, subject to acceptance from the USS Trustee and The Pensions Regulator, and to further information for employers on risk and its implications.”
#UUK: ”We look forward to discussions with UCU, and with the USS Trustee, over the coming weeks as we seek a jointly agreed solution.”
#UUK has further clarified that employers support “all of the recommendations put forward by the panel” – subject to the conditions outlined in earlier tweeted statement.
Good @USSBriefs thread on #USS HESC yesterday afternoon in Manchester... it was inquorate so advisory+motions will be sent to HEC to deliberate... negotiators do have meetings before then so will need to balance existing @UCU policy with advice/guidance from 91 delegates yday /1
I hope this + results of HESC on Pay + Equality dispute mean extra HEC meeting(s) to avoid squeezing everything into short slot on a larger agenda (of other very important things). To be effective, we need time for focused discussion on enacting motions properly/transparently /2
.@ucu HESCs on Pay+Equality (am)&USS JEP(pm) were intense! Lots decided after v intense complicated discussions but only morning decisions “count”- USS conference advisory as (sadly) inquorate. Those motions get referred 2 HEC as advisory but also advise negotiatiors this week /1
@ucu *🚿Shower and re-humanify interlude after a LONG day indoors at the (sadly) today unexplored @sim_manchester museum + trains. #unionstrong reps function better after 🚿☕️...*
RESUMING! TL;DR on pay+equality dispute = we're reballoting, but *not* right away: early new year to allow time to regroup+build (understanding+momentum) with commitment to improved resourcing+coordination. Returning to aggregated balloting after long, important discussion /2a
As I mention in this linked thread, @ucu's policy regarding #USS will be determined in a conference in Manchester tomorrow. There I comment on a number of motions. Below, I detail my reservations over Motion 5 in particular. 1/
My name is Felicity Callard & I deeply regret I cannot stop myself watching recordings of other universities' #USS pensions town hall meetings late in the evening.
And UCL's recent one was pretty darn amazing if you're into this kind of thing H/T @UCL_UCU
At 19 minutes you can hear UCL President & Provost reflect on what the less than 50% turn out on the pay & equality ballot means:
"So that particular concern about pay seems to have gone away for this year at least." Gone away for whom, we ask? 2/
At 22 minutes you can watch the President & Provost asking Phil (Harding) [UCL Finance Director & UUK negotiator] "to answer the Test 1 stuff because the technical aspects of that defeat [him]". Though he has read @Sam_Marsh101's stuff. 3/
🚨🚨🚨Alerting #USS members: today, tomorrow, & Wed are important days, since @ucu's position re #USS & JEP proposals will be set by the end of special sector conference Wed afternoon. By noon today, we should learn what motions have made it onto the agenda (see highlighted): 1/
One big question is whether 2 motions of the National Dispute Committee (NDC) will be ordered onto Wed's agenda. See this tweet, including further tweets & comments below: 2/
So that article on how several UK universities are “near bankrupt” includes advice from consultancy EY Parthenon (also used by #USS): “universities facing financial difficulties should look to sell off land & real estate in order to avoid insolvency” inews.co.uk/news/education… 1/
@davidpapineau@Sam_Marsh101 Here, David, are some thoughts: First, the primary fiduciary duty of a DB scheme trustee is to ensure that PAST promises will be paid in full when they come due. They must ensure this, even if the measures they take in the form of de-risking the portfolio into bonds or... 1/
@davidpapineau@Sam_Marsh101 ...higher contributions to recover a deficit on past promises render it unaffordable to continue to make new DB promises going forward in the form of future accrual. 2/
@davidpapineau@Sam_Marsh101 Second, the #USS execs and trustees have an incentive to submit at a valuation that the regulator (tPR) will deem acceptable. They don't want to submit a valuation that tPR will try to take enforcement action against, because deemed insufficiently prudent. 3/
After a chat with a colleague, I've decided to try my own simple explanation of the big technical problem with #USS Test 1. Like @etymologic's superb thread, but no maths. I assume Sam Marsh or Mike Otsuka will spot errors (if they're not busy correcting USS's). Wish me luck 😬
What USS SHOULD have said to employers: ‘if we keep our current investments and contribution rate, we'll be in great shape after 20 years. We'll have more than we need, even if we have to start closing the scheme. If we do need more money, it won't be more than you can afford.'
'We need to be careful, and the risks are quite high right now. You might have to pay us a bit more money up front, or we could find other ways to reduce the risks currently facing the scheme. Let's discuss how we'll manage risk in the next 20 years and see what suits you.'
As the dust settles on the skirmishes of the early part of the week, some reflections on how #USS responded to my analysis. In short, @UCU's motion from June calling for Bill Galvin to resign is looking more pertinent than ever. 1/ @JosephineCumbo@MikeOtsuka@henryhtapper
First, the claim of an "incomplete understanding", and regret that "these views were not shared and discussed with us prior to publication, as the fundamental issues have been addressed in various forms over the course of the valuation". 2/
I'm glad that #USS think they can see inside my head, but their mind-reading appears to have gone awry. I have a very good understanding of their funding proposals, having read pretty much all the documentation they've released over the past 4 years. 3/
#USS, via @JosephineCumbo, tries to shift focus on to employers by saying Sam's analysis "ignores the need for the scheme to attain a position within the risk appetite of sponsoring employers, and the time required to make such adjustments"
#USS has sent a further statement responding to questions on their statement this morning. USS was asked whether the figures, released to @Sam_Marsh101 last week, were also shared with the Joint Expert Panel and where they found errors with his analysis.
Response to follow:
USS: "We provided all of the information and analysis that was requested by the Joint Expert Panel. Given that it ignores downside risk, the approach Dr Marsh looks to support by using asset projections alone is not applicable in the context of USS.
USS: As such, it was not requested by - or provided to - the JEP or employers. It is not as fundamental to the valuation approach as Dr Marsh seems to believe or as recent commentary would suggest.
You can see from the Cambridge University Pensions Working Group minutes (e.g. whatdotheyknow.com/request/508692…) that Cambridge University's response informs OCR's – as well as the Colleges' – responses. 2/
As promised, a new blog post: "USS’s valuation rests on a large and demonstrable mistake: when corrected there is no deficit as at 31 March 2018 and no need for detrimental changes to benefits or contributions". 𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗿𝗲-𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗲𝘁. 1/ medium.com/@mikeotsuka/us…
It begins: "It is hard to overstate the importance of USS’s confirmation yesterday of the accuracy of union-appointed JNC member Sam Marsh’s modelling of some implications of their valuation." 2/
It has been over a month since @Sam_Marsh101 submitted his Addendum to the JEP and #USS. If he's right, the current valuation contains a significant, hidden layer of prudence ABOVE AND BEYOND the following that JEP lists here: 1/
Given importance of HE sector "there may be a case for future governments to consider alternative options" (incl "state-backed guarantee" or "measures enabling more risk-taking"). Powerful piece from @JMariathasan on #USS DB debate post-#JEPipe.com/analysis/blogs…#USSstrike 1/
Article argues that central problem lies in regulatory changes that transformed management of a DB pension scheme into "a risk management problem, not an investment one" 2/
🚨💣😱.@Cambridge_Uni's response to a 2016 consultation re strength of the #USS covenant has recently been released via FOI. Cambridge disputes PWC's finding of a strong covenant over 30 as opposed to merely 20 years! The following statement in their response is a bombshell: 1/
"We would be concerned if the increase in visibility of a strong covenant was used to support a less prudent approach to the 2017 valuation than that adopted in 2014, either in terms of the assumptions adopted or the time horizon for de-risking." 2/
We are all aware that tPR's challenge, in their Sept 2017 letter, to the PWC/#USS assessment of the strength of the covenant, wreaked havoc on our DB pension and helped explain the shift to the more conservative November valuation. 3/