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Short replies to USS consultation

Q1. Do you have any comments on the proposed change to end the link to final salary?

I am very dis-satisfied. I regard removing the link to final salary as a failure to honour the contract offer when I entered USS. I wish to see the full range of estimates of the deficit or surplus of the fund. I understand that these estimates have been calculated but not released to members.

Q2. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of transfers in for final salary section members?

I am worried that this will make it more difficult to recruit. I know that people used to be told that USS was an excellent pension scheme to transfer into.

Q3. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of Money Purchase and/or Added Years Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) for final salary section members?

I do not agree that USS should be free to cancel the contract signed to purchase additional years' service in the final salary section. I will require a clear statement of the value of money-purchased funds.

Q4. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of transfers in for current and prospective CRB section members?

I am concerned that there may be issues in relation to transfer from USS and non-USS institutions within the UK HE sector

Q5. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of Money Purchase and/or Revalued Benefits Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) for current and prospective CRB section members?

Contracts should be fully honoured. I would expect the money-purchase fund value at 31 March 2016 to be clearly identified.

Q6. Do you have any comments on the proposed new career revalued benefits section of the scheme?

The proposal is a slight improvement, but it fails to match the other major HE scheme, the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

Q7. Do you have any comments on the proposed level of the salary threshold or the proposed approach to the revaluation of the salary threshold?

I do not accept there should be a threshold. Any threshold should be linked to the highest agreed pay spine.

Q8. Do you have any comments on the proposed application of the salary threshold for part-time employees?

I am concerned about the effect on part-time staff, who are predominantly women.

Q9. Do you have any comments about the proposed creation of a defined contribution section for employer and member contributions on salary above the salary threshold (£55,000 as at the implementation date)?

The change to DC is bad value for money. I am concerned about the extra costs of the a DC scheme, and the much smaller expected pension.

Q10. Ahead of any further engagement by the trustee about the defined contribution section, do you have any comments on the range of funds to be provided (including the default fund), the charges payable by members, or any other aspects of the defined contribution proposition

I do not accept the move to DC, but I do expect clear statements of costs, management fees and investment fees. I want to know whether DC funds would be held individually or collectively.

Q11. Do you have any comments on the options the trustee should make available for members as to how they might use their defined contribution account at retirement or upon leaving the scheme?

USS should provide us with the option to keep any and all DC contributions invested in USS pension funds during retirement.

Q12. Other/General Comments

I understand that the UUK wished a delay in de-risking. Also, there are alternative valuations, such as that in the First Actuarial report, which means these radical proposals are not properly supported by evidence.