Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #uss

Most recents (24)

If they investigate the details, it will become manifestly clear to the #USS trustee that their executives have failed to provide an adequate response to the critique of "large and demonstrable mistake" over Test 1 arising from @Sam_Marsh101's asset projections. 3/
Read 9 tweets
I hope @USSEmployers & scheme members take a few moments to read this interview👇w/ Paul Myners in @TheActuaryMag, whose URL appropriately includes the words "interview-challenging-convention". Comments below. 1/…
Given his long career in the City👇, including as CEO & Chair of Gartmore pension fund manager, Myners is not someone whose views #USS executives can dismiss as that of an uninformed, radical academic recently turned pensions expert. 2/
In addition to serving as City of London minister under Gordon Brown, Myners was the author of the influential Myners Report 👇 on pensions fund & other institutional investment. 3/…
Read 22 tweets
The current @ucu ballot for NEC members, Vice President & other officers is very important. It will determine the balance of power of a divided union & the direction it takes over a number of issues. I'll focus on one issue in tweets below. 1/
In April, on a record turnout of 63.5%, 64% voted to accept the offer to suspend strikes over #USS & set up the Joint Expert Panel. 36% voted to reject that offer. 2/
The JEP issued a magnificent, unanimous report in September which was strongly supportive of the position on the valuation that @ucu & @FirstActuarial have been pressing for years. 3/
Read 7 tweets
If USS executives attempt to trigger an automatic rise in contributions in the event of a specified increase in 'reliance' (aka the 'self-sufficiency deficit') during the next three years, the trustee board must intervene and stop them. 1/
This is because the executive's case for such a reliance trigger collapses in the light of their failure to account for their "large and demonstrable mistake" over Test 1. I explain why in this blog 👇. Please retweet! 2/2…
Read 30 tweets
In a thread started by @USSbriefs, @ucu-appointed JNC negotiator @Sam_Marsh101 says this: 1/
.@Sam_Marsh101 & I differ over how much anger & fury is justified. See 👇. 2/
Here I make a further point: outrage over #USS's valuation in response to JEP should be tempered by the following key passage in the JEP report👇. 3/
Read 17 tweets
10th survey of VCs is worth a read, esp. in relation to #USSbriefs66 #GoodwillHunting…
"all the VCs we interviewed expressed regret at the erosion of relationships across the system – w government, students, staff, the media & even other HE institutions" 1/
The fraying of relations, and 'antagonistic' relationships between SMTs & university staff is made very clear – and is linked to #USS pension dispute, casualization, ideological differences 2/ screen shot from doc linked to in tweet 1 of this thread
Some of the sector's leadership, the report notes, was loath to think through what the consequences of building the UK HE market would be ...

... sleepwalking ...

... and 'seduced' by the short-term promise of higher teaching income 3/
Read 5 tweets
Why I disagree w/ @ucu-appointed JNC member @Sam_Marsh101's view 👇 that "It's unforgiveable that USS are not attempting to implement [in full] what JEP advised." 1/
...and w/ Sam's related claim 👇 that "USS seem eager to please tPR". 2/
tPR says in most recent public letter that, though they're "unlikely to take ... action", Rule 76 2017 valuation #USS is about to submit is "at the very limit" of what they would find acceptable, as it involves "higher risk" than manageable for "tending to strong" covenant. 3/
Read 27 tweets
.@Aon's advice to employers has just been released. @kevinwesbroom is one of the authors. (Tagging @USSbriefs)
A crucial line: "If the individual changes proposed by the JEP were all applied to the 2018 valuation, then the resulting contribution rate would be lower (we understand c.26%)." 1/
Followed by a 'BUT': "However, it should be recognised that we need to find an overall outcome that is acceptable to the USS Trustee and which TPR would be content with." 2/
Read 21 tweets
In their new valuation #USS continues to make a "large and demonstrable mistake" in applying Test 1, which they now ineptly try to explain away by contradicting past statements (see embedded thread). 1/
JEP has made a strong case for funding existing DB & DC benefits at a lower contribution level than USS is calling for. 2/
But the regulator (tPR) is calling for an even more conservative valuation than the one #USS issued last week. 3/
Read 19 tweets
Thoughts on how difficult it will be for @ucu & @UniversitiesUK to reach an acceptable settlement under #USS's latest valuation. 1/
JEP recommended adjustments to the 2017 valuation which would make it possible to preserve existing DB & DC benefits (minus the 1% match) via +2.1% employer & +1.1% member contributions. 2/
JEP recommended that these contribution rates not be conditional on any automatic triggers of higher contributions if the funding level deteriorated between now and the next triennial valuation. 3/
Read 22 tweets
#USS provides blinkered, inaccurate, exaggerated measures of risk in their consultation document, all three of which are tied to the gilt yield. More comments below. 1/
The first (see 5.4.1) is their measure of 'long term risk' in terms of their infamous Test 1 gap to 'self-sufficiency' in 20 year's time. Self-sufficiency is a gilts+0.75 portfolio. 2/
As I explain in this thread, it's only when they rewrite history by contradicting past statements that they are able to show a need to 'de-risk' into bonds in order to meet this test. 3/
Read 19 tweets
🚨🚨🚨#USS contradicts itself in its latest attempt to answer the critique arising from @Sam_Marsh101's findings regarding expected asset level 20 years hence. See the following highlighted passage from p. 12 of the consultation document on the 2018 valuation: 1/
This parenthetical claim is an attempt to deny that they ever assumed that col 1 row 1 would equal col 2 row 1 in @Sam_Marsh101 graph below. 2/
But the record shows that #USS previously identified the target path as the expected path. See this highlighted statement from the transcript of @GuyCoughlan's video of May 2018: 3/
Read 12 tweets
I'm fascinated by how #USS uses the phrase "in isolation" in attempts to neutralise far-reaching critiques of its modelling and methods.

Exhibit 1: MarshGate re #Test1 (cc @Sam_Marsh101)

"Dr Marsh’s analysis is not wrong in isolation ..."… 1/ screen shot from weblink in tweet
Exhibit 2: Rebuffing the #JEP

"Each of the [JEP] panel's recommendations is worthy of consideration in isolation, but ..."…

2/ screen shot from web link in tweet
Read 4 tweets
🚨🚨🚨#USS has released their consultation on the 2018 valuation. Headline figure is that the best case scenario they're offering to members is a 3.7% increase in contributions to preserve the DB & DC status quo (minus the 1% match). 1/…
This is 0.4% higher than the 3.2% increase that JEP modelled. If split 65:35 between employers and members, that would imply +2.4% employer contributions & +1.3% member contributions. 2/
In order for #USS to accept this best case scenario, they write that "a combination of contingent contributions [automatic triggers] and negative pledges would be the most appropriate means of providing acceptable support" of increased investment risk. 3/
Read 50 tweets
The fundamental problem w/ the #USS valuation is that they have two funding targets, & their unjustified choice to meet the one target precisely renders it prohibitively expensive to meet the second target as well. More details in tweets below. 1/
1st target is statutory funding obligation (SFO), according to which assets must be sufficient to cover the liabilities, where the latter have been discounted at the rate of the expected returns on these assets, w/ expectations prudently adjusted downward to 67% of success. 2/
2nd target is that the assets be sufficient in 20 yrs time, via supplementation by +7% extra employer contributions over 20 more years, to purchase a self-sufficiency portfolio by year 40. 3/
Read 15 tweets
For all of us grappling with what's happening in UK HE – gasping to keep our heads above water & struggling to understand all the actors & forces at work – I so so recommend @amcgettigan's "The Great University Gamble: Money, markets & the future of HE"… 1/
”The Great University Gamble” is centred around privatisation of HE — the “plan & the gamble” — as McGettigan frames it — & published in 2013. It covers creation of HE market; deregulation & deprofessionalization; university financing (incl bonds); private equity; governance 2/ Screenshot of contents page of book
Re-reading it post #USSstrike, I am struck by how McGettigan identifies the cleavage (evident from at least 2010 and possibly well before) btw #UUK/mission groups & the interests of academics, students, & public in general 3/
Read 8 tweets
Here I'm starting a separate thread which discusses the leaked Xafinity @TrinCollCam's assessment of #USS and the risks of DB for the sector as a whole, rather than @TrinCollCam in particular. 1/
A striking feature of the @Xafinity document is that it implies that the closure of DB to future accrual as a major source of risk to the sector as a whole. In fact, Secs 4.3 & 4.4 model the risks of closure of DB to future accrual in the near future. 2/
I.e., it models the risks to the sector if #USS had followed through on @UniversitiesUK's Jan 2018 proposal to (at least de facto) close the scheme to all future DB accrual and hence suddenly cease all future DB contributions, soon rendering the scheme cash flow negative. 3/
Read 20 tweets
And as if like clockwork, an intervention from The Pensions Regulator -- we assume circulated to employers also, since it's been made public by UCU -- at a critical moment in the #USS dispute. Are we in 2018 or 2017? 1/
Remember TPR's ltr to Eastwood (Sept 17)

And #JEP later said: "It appears to the Panel that the Regulator's influence has been disproportionate. Some of those giving evidence... have suggested that the Regulator's views have steered employers' decisions."… screen shot of first page of ltr linked to in text
(It's at this point that @acupunctureUSS realised he needed to help out with this thread, gifs not being my strong suit) #GroundHogDay #USSstrike #2018or2017 #aesthetic)
Read 14 tweets
🚨🚨🚨A new letter from the Pensions Regulator on #USS:…
Letter claims, contrary to PWC, EY, and #USS, that the employer covenant is merely 'tending to strong', rather than 'strong'. They appeal to Brexit & Augar tuition fee review as reasons for pessimism. 1/
But EY and PWC have, of course, already considered Brexit and the Augar review, in coming to their conclusion that the employer covenant is 'strong', not 'tending to strong.' 2/
Read 20 tweets
Shall we place bets on the likelihood of a certain pension consultancy being involved in this @etymologic? #USS
In comparison with solidarity that stretched across university sector during #USSstrike, Trinity College Cambridge, one of richest educational institutions found anywhere, makes entirely selfish decision to pull out of #USS through invoking spectre of the 'last man standing' risk
Read 16 tweets
#USS followers: this is so interesting. Test 1 wasn't mentioned *at all* at #USS Institutions' Meeting. For all those of us interested in #STS – in understanding how concepts, methods, alliances & commitments grow strong, or become weak – the #USS dispute keeps on giving
And chuckle at Qu 12 of @USSemployers' latest Q&A: "What is going to happen to Test 1?"…

What, indeed? Will Bill Galvin ever #ResileAndResubmit?

UUK can't provide clear answer to their question, of course, while Bill chooses not to #ResileAndResubmit 2/ Screen shot of
Remember Bill Galvin's statement on Test 1 of 22 November: 3/3
Read 3 tweets
Today is #USS's annual 'Institutions Meeting'. This is the first time I've been (I'm invited as a member of the Joint Negotiating Committee), but my understanding is that it's a way for USS to woo representatives from employers with presentations, food, nibbles and drinks. 1/
We *may* get a sneak preview of a 2018 valuation in one of the morning sessions: videos I've seen from previous years have included stuff relating to scheme funding. If so, it's likely to be confidential until the Technical Provisions consultation launches in a week or two. 2/
What might a 2018 valuation show? That depends on the input assumptions, but if the JEP recommendations are followed in full and applied to 2018 data I don't think we'd be far off #NoDeficit and #NoDetriment, even if Test 1 remains unamended. 3/
Read 10 tweets
For what sort of pension scheme would a fall in the gilt yield during the next few months be such a problem that the trustee and tPR should legally bind employers now to raise contributions before the next valuation in the event of such a fall?
Here's one answer: any DB scheme, including #USS:
👆But John's is the wrong answer. The right answer is that this might be appropriate for a scheme which has a genuine risk of going into the Pension Protection Fund soon because the sponsoring employer is at risk of insolvency during the next few months.
Read 6 tweets
In his linked blog post on the new valuation, #USS CEO Bill Galvin offers the following accurate account of @ucu's actuary @FirstActuarial's approach to the valuation of the DB scheme: 1/…
Galvin's response to @FirstActuarial's approach is to note (1) that #USS relies on return-seeking assets to fund DB pension promises, but (2) it needs to control the risks of returns on such assets falling short of what is necessary to cover these promises: 2/
The need identified in (2) is genuine. It must be met. Here, without mentioning it by name, Galvin explains that #USS has adopted Test 1 (T1) to meet this need: 3/
Read 17 tweets

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