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Update to active members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) August 2011

Implementation of USS scheme changes
At the USS Trustee Board Meeting held on 9 June 2011, the trustee board considered an amending deed to the rules of USS containing the proposed changes in their final form as decided upon by the Joint Negotiating Committee at its meeting on 10 May 2011.

The trustee board agreed the execution of the Deed of Amendment at their meeting and the changes to USS in their final form will be implemented 1 October 2011.  The USS document "Summary of changes" for existing members sets out the main changes to USS that impact on those members of the Final Salary Section of the scheme who are in active membership immediately prior to 1 October 2011.

USS has also published a New Employee’s Guide to joining USS and is being issued to new members of USS on or after 1 October 2011.  It contains an overview of the 2 sections of USS from 1 October 2011 and importantly for those current members who leave USS and subsequently re-join USS after 1 October 2011 having previously been a member of USS, sets out which section you are eligible for upon re-joining USS.

All current members of the Final Salary Section will be provided with a revised Guide for Members, incorporating the scheme changes, once it is available.

Revised Employee Contribution rate
With effect from 1 October 2011, the revised employee contribution rate is 7.50% (increased from 6.35%).  A modeller is available to assess the impact of this increase on your take home pay.  If you are participating in PensionsExchange, you will need to click on the Yes box within the Modeller.

PensionsExchange – change to your employment terms and conditions
UCL is required to notify you of a change in your employment terms and conditions following the change in the employee contribution (as detailed above) if you are participating in PensionsExchange.  Your USS pensionable salary will continue to be calculated as at present, ie based on your higher "reference salary", prior to the PensionsExchange Adjustment.

Service Statements at 31 March 2011
At the end of June 2011, these were distributed to the UCL department (as held on the HR system) for active members of USS at 31 March 2011   The statement sets out information relating to the service you have accrued in USS as at 31 March 2011 and contains other useful information about your USS membership and the Revised Tax Allowances.

If you have a query relating to the service or personal information contained on the statement, complete the Update Form provided with the statement and return it to UCL Pension Services.

Similarly, if you were an active member of USS at 31 March 2011 and have yet to receive your Service Statement, notify UCL Pension Services by email to pensions@ucl.ac.uk (subject of email = USS Service Statement enquiry) so that this can be rectified.

Adjustments to Added Years Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
Any added years Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) contract entered into by an existing member of the scheme before 1 October 2011 will be unaffected by the changes, however, there will be changes in respect of added years AVC contracts entered into on or after 1 October 2011, summarised below:

 

Type of Added Years AVC contract

 

AVC Contract entered into before 1st October 2011

AVC Contract entered into on or after 1st October 2011 by Final Salary section member

AVC Contract entered into by Career Revalued Benefits section member

Maximum permitted AVC contribution

15% of salary

15% of salary

15% of salary

Form of additional USS benefits

Years and days of pensionable service

Years and days of pensionable service

Extra pension and lump sum

Increases in payment and deferment

Uncapped

Capped*

Capped*

* A cap on increases shall apply as follows – where the increase in CPI is 5% per annum or less, the same increase shall be provided by the scheme; if the increase in CPI is more than 5% but less than 15%, an increase of 5% plus 50% of increases above the 5% level shall be provided; and if the increase in CPI is 15% or more, an overall ceiling of 10% per annum will be provided.

If you wish to improve your benefits by paying AVCs, further information is available here and on the USS AVC Factsheet.  If, after reading about AVCs, you decide that you wish to proceed with an application, you will need to access and complete the AVC modeller, then submit the completed form to UCL Pension Services by 31 August 2011 to allow sufficient time for it to be processed and for AVC deductions to be made effective from your September 2011 salary.

Fenella Needham
UCL Pensions Manager