TL;dr: I predict even more enthusiasm from UUK about CDC in coming months as part of long-term plan to remove DB to reduce pension liabilities 1/
REMINDER: Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) pensions share risk *between* the members of the scheme. CDC means that employers are not exposed to the risks associated with DB plans. i.e. Risk is transferred from employer ---> employees ft.com/content/64ae04… 2/
The 16 July report from Work & Pensions Cttee gave enthusiastic thumbs up to enabling CDC for Royal Mail "in a way which will allow other companies to follow suit". Report speaks of a "new wave of collective pensions in the UK" publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cm… 3/
"The working paper provides the required proof & argument against the flawed valuation method adopted by #USS. Using an appropriate valuation technique, the USS is found to be in surplus as large as £10bn ...": Woon Wong #USSbriefs34 on the phantom deficit medium.com/ussbriefs/indu…
Wong: "many actuarial practices should be reviewed ... [T]here is a need to examine the economics of risk & return from a long term perspective ... given ... low interest rates, de-risking can be suboptimal & extremely expensive" #USSbriefs34 working paper medium.com/ussbriefs/indu…
Wong insists that the #USS valuation can be resolved if there is appropriate time given to it: "say 2 to 3 years of proper research & discussion between all relevant academics, the actuary industry & tPR (of course these include UUK and UCU)" #USSbriefs34
Intro to piece: "Were British university staff right to strike over changes to their
pensions system? We were asked this question a few weeks ago, by one of our clients. Our short answer was: Yes, it looks like the academics were
probably right to strike." 2/
Re #USS/@UniversitiesUK proposals involving "increased contributions, reduced benefits, moving to a defined contribution model, and ‘de-risking’ the investment
strategy by switching from equities into bonds", @FixingEconomics writes: 3/
The #USS discussion document ("Response to Prof Michael Otsuka for discussion purposes") is dated 22 March 2018 with authors Guy Coughlan, Jeff Rowney, Steve Towers. Author in document properties is Jeff Rowney drive.google.com/file/d/1Q4r6tE…#OpenUPP2018
In my efforts to understand configurations of discourse & representation around UK pensions in 21st century, I've been fascinated, today, by Pendragon's competition, running since 2003, titled the "Art of Pensions" artofpensions.com/exhibition.php 1/ #USSstrike
The Pendragon "Art of Pensions" is a full-scale competition – with a whole raft of categories (e.g. see artofpensions.com/winners.php?ye…). The winners & long-listed entries are all available for perusal on the Pendragon site 2/
The archive stretches from the early 21st century, through the economic collapse of 2008, & up to 2016 (I'm not sure what happened to the competition in 2017).
In addition to visual materials themselves, you can search by name of artist (some appear several times) & company 3/
30 min suspension of #UCU18 is up. National Head of Democratic Services (staff member) has come back (not elected President) to tell us staff not willing to come back in yet: we've been told Congress cannot continue. Bedlam now as ppl work out if absent chair can be challenged >>
Being argued rules allow for #UCU2018 Congress2continue in these circs but mics are off. Impossible to hear properly. Also being proposed can't have proper Congress now, so could have a discussion about what's going on instead. Counterargument "Go Congress or go home" 🤦🏻♀️
Staff working at venue have confirmed mics can't be turned on as Unite walkout means the ppl they've been working with aren't wiling to return. Delegates attempting human mic. Discussing continuing #UCU2018 Congress vs discussion way fwd noting democratic issue + quorum (150)
“A union that has failed to stop the cuts to its members’ pay since 2009, and shows no ability to offer meaningful opposition to the threats heading their way, stretches the definition of the word “union” to breaking point.”
Let's start with Ronnie Bowie, Partner at Hymans Robertson, who 'works as a Scheme Actuary & Investment Adviser to a number of large private & public sector schemes and has built a reputation as a respected expert witness' hymans.co.uk/people-finder/…
I've been going back to 10 or so years, looking at how actuarial science is discussed before and after the 2008 economic crisis. I am outsider to the field – approaching it as someone who researches recent histories & geographies of various human sciences
IMPORTANT #USS UPDATE! Friday saw two big decisions made with big implications for the future of USS. One took place at UCU's HEC, the other at the UCU/UUK Joint Negotiating Committee. You need to be aware of what happened at both! READ ON... 1/ @JosephineCumbo@jgro_the
SECOND MEETING FIRST: the JNC agreed (yes, agreed!) to formally revoke the January imposition of a defined contribution scheme. This is an important moment! DC is gone, and not coming back. This makes concrete previous loose pledges from @AlistairJarvis & UUK. 2/
It is expected that #USS will now prepare to implement 'cost-sharing' to start in April 2019. This will leave benefits unchanged (at least up to the DC threshold), but will mean big contribution rises. See thread by @MikeOtsuka:
Yesterday, Prof Kris Olds, UW Madison (@GlobalHigherEd) argued that 'Universities UK could always advocate to become subject to the Freedom of Information Act to help build trust, its reputation, & its brand' – which got me thinking a lot more about trust
Onora O'Neill, in her work on trust, famously argues:
trust 'is well placed if directed to matters in which others are honest, competent & reliable, & poorly directed if directed at matters in which others are dishonest, incompetent and unreliable' efc.be/human-rights-c…
In the end I voted no. I didn’t have confidence in #UUK to rebuild trust on its own terms. I didn’t feel able to vote for a panel whose terms of reference were not laid down in advance. I didn’t think these were unreasonable demands then.
I don’t think they are unreasonable demands now. However, it is clear how much vigilance will be required on how #UUK will seek to shape process. But it is not clear to me now who will provide this and how it will happen.
Having put this to the ballot I want @ucu to now tell us the key processes, roles and points at which we as branches, #uss members, and university employees will be able to shape next stages in #ucustrike. But I am not confident here either.
#UCU members to be consulted over latest #USS pension dispute proposals
#UCU general secretary Sally Hunt: "These latest proposals were won by the solid action of UCU members and now is the time for them to have their say on what happens next."
Members will be consulted next week.
#UCU: "After seeking some clarification, including that the DB element of the scheme would be maintained while a joint-expert panel considers the valuation of the USS fund, the Higher Education Committee voted to put the proposals to members in a ballot."
I have received responses from #USS regarding the role of the joint expert panel in relation to the 2017 #USS#pension review.
Questions and answers to follow.
Q: What is the fallback position for #USS on the 2017 valuation if the joint expert panel does not reach agreement?
A: The trustee must look to follow its duties under scheme rules and the law (cont)
A: (cont) and with its fiduciary duties as soon as reasonably possible. The trustee has recently completed a robust, independent and considered valuation, in which it has full confidence and which - absent new material evidence - is the basis for the next steps. (cont)
The USS trustee board 'delegates day to day responsibility for the mgmt of the scheme to the group executive' (h/t @CathyJenkins101). The group executive comprises the following uss.co.uk/how-uss-is-run… 2/
.@JosephineCumbo has just responded saying: "I have asked #USS what its fallback position is if the panel cannot reach agreement. Am awaiting a response."
#UUK has responded to further questions on the #USS proposal made to #UCU Friday 23/12.
Questions and answers to follow
Q: Has UUK undertaken to remove Jan23 JNC decision completely from the table?
A: As part of the jointly developed proposal agreed at Acas on 12March UUK pledged not to take forward the Jan23 JNC decision & suspended member consultation on it. This commitment remains in place
Q: Is #USS bound to accept the recommendation of the joint expert panel?
A: Under legislation it is the trustee’s role to determine the scheme’s technical provisions therefore the USS Trustee cannot be bound by the findings of the Joint Expert Panel.
While I agree with all the #NoDetriment statements about being naive to trust UUK/'indepdendent' panel, & related demands/amendements suggested for the statement, believing that a more specific clause would be the end of the struggle is equally naive. 2/9
We could strike until we got everything we wanted writ down,but at some point we'll go back to work (!)&then inevitably pension manager crooks will continue attempts to subvert the agreement, inc using requirements of the pensions regulator to continually revisit arrangements 3/9
I'm glad we have more time to consider the new proposed #USS deal. But I think what we have in time, we lack in detail. It's a victory I think, in as far as how much #USSStrike has pushed UUK back. But I have deep concerns #nodetriment#nocapitulation
I think the proposal doesn't offer the guarantees it should, the ones we deserve. Status quo till April 2019 is a smokescreen - we were always getting that so it's a misleading headline #USSStrike#nodetriment#nocapitulation
I'm very concerned that as @JosephineCumbo has revealed, UUK and UCU seem to have very different ideas about what's actually on the table. And if there's not a single interpretation then there's too much room for error and backsliding IMO #USSStrike#nocapitulation#nodetriment
Just wondering why @UniversitiesUK & #uss can’t just back down now on DC? Why is a new panel & more delay & stress for all of us a victory? Are we really getting excited that they have said the panel would recognise our concerns re DB? #nocapitulation#UCUStrike#ussstrike
2/ is this what we’re losing 14 days pay over? Another panel & no guarantees? After we basically showed up the problems w de-risking, huge potential equalities issues (which they can’t realistically address before 2019 bc they appear to be starting from zero on that score ...
3/ ... and they know we’re onto them re financialisation of pensions, & we all now are talking about the DB/DC fight, which has immense implications for other occupational pensions ...