What the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) is, their remit, discussions and final report.
The Joint Expert Panel (JEP) has been set up to examine the valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) under an agreement reached between UCU and UUK at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) in March 2018.
A report from the JEP was published in September 2018. The second phase of work on the USS valuation has two parts; the first is concerned with the valuation process and governance, the second with the long-term sustainability of the scheme.
Who are the JEP members?
It’s comprised of six actuarial and academic experts, nominated equally (three each) by Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU). The panel also has access to expert witnesses – including, but not limited to – actuarial advisers of UUK and UCU, the USS Trustee, scheme actuary and the Pensions Regulator.
The chair, jointly agreed by UCU and UUK, is Joanne Segars, who previously served as Head of Pensions at the Trades Union Congress, and Chief Executive of the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.
The UCU nominated panellists
- Saul Jacka – Professor of Statistics, University of Warwick
- Deborah Mabbett – Professor of Public Policy, Birkbeck University of London
- Bryn Davies – Director & Actuary at Union Pension Services Limited
- Catherine Donnelly – Associate Professor, Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics, Heriot Watt University
The Universities UK nominated panellists
- Ronnie Bowie, Chair of Court, University of Dundee
- Sally Bridgeland, Investment consultant, actuary and former CEO of the BP Pension Fund
- Chris Curry, Director, Pensions Policy Institute
The panel is currently considering how the long-term sustainability of the scheme can be secured, including:
- Developing an approach to future valuations that is clear (and clearly understood by stakeholders) and which can deliver both a sustainable scheme and a shared set of principles.
- An exploration of different paths to the valuation of technical provisions and other aspects of the valuation methodology, including Test 1.
- Considering questions of risk sharing, including adopting a different approach to contributions (which could, in turn address issues of intergenerational fairness and equality); examining further the question of mutuality and the question of employer appetite for risk; and the potential for risk sharing.
The JEP was originally aiming to provide its second report in September 2019. However the Panel is still working and considering evidence and is not yet in a position to report. With the agreement of UCU and UUK the report will therefore be published later this year.
The Joint Expert Panel (JEP) has published its final report on the USS valuation. This estimates a lower rise in contributions than currently being consulted on and the report also identifies scope to adjust a number of the valuation assumptions. The report includes the following recommendations:
- A re-evaluation of the USS employer attitude to risk
- Adopting a greater consistency of approach between the 2014 and 2017 valuations, which affects the scale and timing of deficit recovery contributions
- Ensuring fairness and equality between generations of scheme members by smoothing future service contributions
- Ensuring the valuation uses the most recently available information which means taking account of recent market improvements, new investment considerations and the latest data on mortality for example