The Universities Superannuation Scheme
Produced in partnership with Alexandra Ventham of Shoosmiths and Paul Carney of Shoosmiths

The following Pensions practice note produced in partnership with Alexandra Ventham of Shoosmiths and Paul Carney of Shoosmiths provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The Universities Superannuation Scheme
  • Legal framework
  • Administration and governance
  • Participating institutions
  • Eligibility and membership
  • Benefit structure
  • Benefit accrual prior to 1 April 2016
  • Benefit accrual on and after 1 April 2016
  • Standard benefits
  • For accrual on or after 1 April 2016
  • More...

The Universities Superannuation Scheme

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is a private sector occupational pension scheme for higher education bodies. It provides benefits on a salary-related or defined benefit basis.

It was established collectively by universities in the 1970s and is one of the largest private sector pension schemes in the UK.

Legal framework

The USS was originally established by a declaration of trust dated 2 December 1974, and is currently governed by a trust deed and rules dated 19 November 2015.

The USS is subject to the requirements of pensions legislation that apply to any other private sector occupational pension scheme in the UK.

Administration and governance

Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited (the USS Trustee) is the sole USS trustee and is responsible for the management and administration of the USS. The USS Trustee board delegates responsibility for day-to-day scheme management to the group executive, which is made up of seven individuals.

The USS Trustee’s board of directors is required to be made up of ten to twelve directors consisting of the following:

  1. four directors appointed by Universities UK, a representative organisation for UK universities

  2. three directors appointed by the University and College Union, a professional association and trade union for academics, lecturers, researchers and other academic-related staff working in further and higher education. At least one such director is required to be a USS pensioner member

  3. at least three (and not

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