USS – Joint Expert Panel | University of Oxford

USS – Joint Expert Panel

The Joint Expert Panel is a national body tasked with agreeing the key principles of the future approach of Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU) to the USS valuation. The Panel, comprising a chair and three nominees each from UUK and the UCU, aims to submit a report in September 2018.

The agreed purpose of the Panel is to:

  • make an assessment of the 2017 valuation of the USS fund
  • focus in particular on reviewing the basis of the scheme valuation, assumptions and associated tests
  • agree key principles to underpin the future joint approach of UUK and UCU to the valuation of the USS fund

The Panel will take into account:

  • the unique nature of the higher education sector, intergenerational fairness and equality considerations
  • the clear wish of staff to have a guaranteed pension comparable with current provision whilst meeting the affordability challenges for all parties
  • the current pensions regulatory framework

The current pension benefit structure will remain in place unchanged until at least 31 March 2019, so the panel will need to conclude its work in time to put in place a sustainable way forward for USS. The Panel will also provide a follow up report relating to future valuations.

UCU has published the full terms of reference for the Panel on its website here. UUK has published a Q&A document for USS members. This covers the latest developments with USS, the Joint Expert Panel, the valuation timetable and a number of recent issues that have been raised by members.

Joint Expert Panel - Terms of Reference

Joint Expert Panel membership


Joanne Segars OBE: currently the Chair of LGPS Central Ltd, which pools the investments of nine large Midlands-based local authority pension funds. 

UUK nominees: 

  • Ronnie Bowie: experienced actuary, currently Partner (previously Senior Partner) at Hymans Robertson. Chair of Court at the University of Dundee since August 2016.
  • Sally Bridgeland: provides governance consultancy for Avida International together with a number of non-executive and advisory roles. Having previously been the Chief Executive Officer of BP Pension Trustees Limited and before BP, she spent twenty years with Aon Hewitt.
  • Chris Curry: Director of the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) with overall responsibility for leading and managing the PPI.

UCU nominees: 

  • Catherine Donnelly: Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University, where she heads up the Risk Insight Lab which focuses on pension, investment and insurance research. 
  • Saul Jacka: Professor of Statistics at the University of Warwick and a Turing fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. Trustee of a defined benefit pension scheme for non-USS staff at the University of Warwick.
  • Deborah Mabbett: Professor of Public Policy at Birkbeck, much of her research has involved the relationship between the state and occupational or private pension schemes.