Josephine Cumbo Profile picture
#FT Global Pensions Correspondent based in London. @PPI_Research Governor, #FT Pensions Governance Committee Staff Rep. Own views.
Nov 29, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
NEW: Striking UK university staff have called for the reversal of cuts to their #USS pensions after new data showed the retirement scheme had moved to a £5 billion funding surplus.

More follows: #UCU, the union representing higher eduction sector workers, said #pension cuts which came into force in April will see a typical lecturer lose 35% of their future guaranteed retirement income with losses steepest for those at the earliest stages of their careers.
Nov 29, 2022 4 tweets 3 min read
NEW: The #USS pension scheme, at the centre of an industrial disupte involving thousands of higher education sector workers, showed a £5.6bn surplus at the end of August, according to the latest scheme monitoring update. NEW: The #USS said that a deficit (£14bn) identified in the 2020 valuation, had been "eliminated" as of the end of August with the scheme showing a £5.6bn surplus.

The controversial 2020 scheme valuation led to a range of benefit cuts for tens of thousands of #USS members.
Sep 13, 2022 21 tweets 4 min read
Exclusive: British company pension funds are taking writedowns of up to 30 per cent on their unlisted assets in a bid to clinch "buyout" deals with insurers.

More follows A Financial Times investigation has found private-sector pension funds, serving hundreds of thousands of members, are taking haircuts of millions of pounds on assets taken on to deliver elevated returns but are now blocking “buyout” deals with insurers.
Aug 18, 2022 12 tweets 4 min read
BREAKING: The #USS pension plan has reported a SURPLUS of £1.8bn - nearly 18 months after reporting a £14bn deficit.

The surplus is disclosed in the scheme's June monitoring report published today.

Details to follow In an email today to university employers, Bill Galvin, group chief of the #USS pension plan said the June surplus "provides a basis from which to start discussions with our stakeholders and advisers about what options might be available should this position prove well-founded"
Jun 21, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
BREAKING: Govt has released further details about a "Green Nudge" trial to be launched in coming weeks and involving some of the UK's biggest pension providers.

Details to follow. More than 160,000 pension scheme members in the UK are to be "encouraged to learn more about making greener pension choices" in a 3-week trial, as part of the UK government's COP26 agenda

Aviva, Smart Pension and Hargreaves Lansdown will deliver the “nudges” to scheme members 2/
Jun 21, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
NEW: MPs have raised concerns with the Sec of State for Work and Pensions over an alleged 'lack of transparency' of the information it uses to inform policy.

More to follow Stephen Timms, chair @CommonsWorkPen, wrote to Thérèse Coffey, to say a number of organisations & individuals had been in touch concerning further research and information that had not been published by her Dept, despite expectations or previous commitments to do so.

2/
Jun 17, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
NEW: UniversititIes UK, the employer body for the UK university sector, said “We have not made misleading claims" about the impact of April 2022 pension cuts on members of the #USS. UUK:"It's reasonable for us to conclude in headline terms - using the example personas developed by USS – that reductions in retirement benefits will be in range of 10-18%. We've consistently said members should use the USS modeller to check (their specific) possible impacts."
Mar 4, 2022 17 tweets 8 min read
BREAKING: 68 universities in the UK face a further 5 days of strike action this month over #pension cuts and pay. Staff at the 68 universities this week finished taking up to 10 days of strike action.

UCU, the union, said further strike action was called after employers "forced through pension cuts and refused to negotiate meaningfully over pay and working conditions.
Mar 2, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
NEW: The CIO of the UK's state-backed NEST pension plan says Russia is now an investment "no-go area"

Mark Fawcett, CIO of NEST, said over the short- and medium-term Russia looked “uninvestable”.

More follows: “People (investors) are going to be very concerned about the respect for international law and property rights in Russia as a result of this action (invasion of Ukraine),” Fawcett told the FT.

“People will be cautious whether at a corporate level or pension fund level."
Feb 28, 2022 5 tweets 3 min read
BREAKING: The #USS trustee board today agreed to proceed with controversial #pension cuts for tens of thousands of #university sector members, effective from April 2022. #USS said: “The Valuation was signed off in September 2021. At the meeting today, the Trustee board agreed to the deed giving effect to the changes to the member benefits from April 2022 in the form recommended by the Joint Negotiating Committee.”
Feb 28, 2022 10 tweets 6 min read
BREAKING: The UK High Court has over-turned a decision to deny legal action by academics against the #USS pension scheme over the handling of the controverisal #2020 valuation. #UCU #USS #UUK

Details follow. The UK High Court set aside a previous court order and allowed a claim by 2 academics who are pursuing legal action against the #USS directors, as well as against the scheme’s chief executive, Bill Galvin, over the 'flawed' 2020 valuation.
Feb 22, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
BREAKING: An industrial dispute over #pension cuts impacting thousands of university sector workers is set to escalate as employer-backed proposals to reduce guaranteed #pension benefits were ratified today. BREAKING: The University and College Union (UCU) has told #USS university employers to expect more industrial action, including a marking and assessment boycott, after controversial cuts to guaranteed pension benefits were ratified.
Feb 22, 2022 12 tweets 6 min read
BREAKING: The Universities Superannuation Scheme Joint Negotiating Committee has today formally voted to implement cuts to future #pension benefits for tens of thousands of UK university sector staff. The JNC - a body which represents #USS employers and members - passed a controversial package of employer proposals which will see members build smaller pensions in future. The cuts are the focus of current industrial action across dozens of university campuses.
Feb 22, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
NEW: Pension inflation rises to be lower for thousands of early leavers of defined benefit schemes, following Govt move.

More follows:

gov.uk/government/con… Millions of people in the UK have Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMPs).

When an individual leaves a pension scheme early, the GMP they have built up is revalued upwards each year to protect against inflation. The revaluation rate used by some schemes is set by the Govt.
Feb 22, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
NEW: UK government launches appeal for academics and experts to "support" the independent State Pension age review. gov.uk/government/new… The UK government is seekig advisers from academia, institutions, think tanks and elsewhere to provide knowledge and experience to the state pension age review.

Those taking part will be subjected to a gagging clause on any info shared as part of the Review.
Feb 21, 2022 6 tweets 5 min read
NEW: The deficit at the UK's largest private-sector pension scheme, the #USS, has been slashed from £14bn in March 2020, to £2.9bn at the end of January this year, as the schemne's assets recovered to pre-pandemic levels. #UUK #UCU

More follows. A funding update released by the #USS showed the scheme's funding ratio - or plan's assets as a percentage of liabilities - had grown to 97% at the end of January this year from 83% in March 2020 - the timing of the scheme's last formal health check.
Feb 10, 2022 4 tweets 3 min read
Quick summary of today's key development in the #USS #pension dispute.

#USS said the #UCU compromise proposal - to avert strike action - was 'operationally' viable

BUT

...contributions for members and employers would need to rise, over time, to 13.9% and 29.1% respectively. #UUK has today launched a consultation with all #USS employers on #UCU’s formal proposal, after receiving costings from #USS.

Under UCU’s proposal, eer contributions wd gradually rise from 21.4% of salary to 29.1% by April 2024. Members rise from 9.8% to 13.9% over same period
Feb 10, 2022 13 tweets 10 min read
BREAKING: A potentially significant development today in the UK university #pension disupte.

#UCU says compromise pension proposals - put forward by the union to avert strike action - have been deemed "both viable and implementable" by the #USS pension plan.

More follows: #UCU submitted alternative #pension proposals to #UUK employers on Wednesday 26 January in a bid to avert industrial action over #pension cuts they had proposed.

Industrial action was due to begin at 44 universities on Monday 14 February.
Feb 8, 2022 6 tweets 1 min read
NEW: Aviva, one of the UK's largest pension providers, today admitted to a communication bungle which saw a number of customers receiving emails about pension transfers when they didn't have pensions with the company. The email from Aviva, sent to non pension customers, said: "Following receipt of your request to transfer, we will shortly be completing the transfer of your existing pension fund into your new My Money account with Aviva. The transfer is scheduled to take place during February."
Feb 8, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
NEW: UK government confirms the £10,000 earnings' threshold for workers to be automatically enrolled into a #pension "remains the correct level" and will not change for 2022/23. Govt says the decision to keep the earnings' trigger at £10K reflects the "key balance" that needs to be struck btwn affordability for employers & individuals & the policy objective of giving those most able to save the opportunity to accrue a "meaningful level of savings".
Sep 3, 2021 13 tweets 6 min read
BREAKING: The #USS pension scheme has today agreed to take forward proposals that will lead to #pension cuts for hundreds of thousands of university sector workers.

Statement from the #USS trustee to follow: The USS trustee today confirmed that subject to a two-week consultation with UUK – #USS members will contribute 9.8% of salary from 1 October 2021 and employers will pay 21.4%.

That is an increase of 0.2% and 0.3% respectively on current rates.