University of St.andrews Support Staff Pension Fund 

The fund came into existence on 1st August, 1964

Trustees Ken Dalton, Convener (2016); Derek Watson (Court); Mairi Stewart (Court); Alastair

Merrill; Trevor Francis (2020)* Reg Gavine Retied member (2021)* Mrs K MacIntyre (2021)*

Ms J Griffiths (2021)* * Member nominated trustees and their date for re-election.

Past Staff Trustees

Bill Blyth Retired member Jan 2008- Dec 2016

Moira McHugh (2016)

Bill Blyth {Technical Constituency} (1972-2007)

Bill Wilson {Manual Constituency} (2001-2005 !)

Gordon Dickson {Manual Constituency} (2005-06)

Ian McLaren {Retired Constituency} (2002-05)

Iain McDevitt {Manual Constituency} (2006-13)

Prof Ron Piper (Court) retired 2013

Iain McDevitt (Resigned Feb13)

Past Convenor's

Gordon Curruthers; Alastair McIntyre; Peter Cabrelli

Secretary to the Trustees Lisa Harley from (2005 to date) 

Past Secretary Sharon McRobbie (resigned from 24/08/05)

The Board of Trustees will meet again in November, by which time the initial findings of the triennial review might be know,

The Board of Trustees met again on 18th May, 2015. The Convenor and Deputy were both unable to attend so Derek chaired the meeting. Further good news in that the fund was still improving now at 95.6% The timetable was agreed to progress the triennial review. Contracting-out levies were changing but the assumptions were they might be lower. In order to address poor performance from Lazard's M&G were being taken on to spread our risk and hopefully produce better returns even with lower risk investments. Lazard's are still remain an investement manager but funded at a lower level.

Whilst we are on a Defined Benefits scheme the new legislation for the Defined Contributions coming into force in April 2016 could have implicatins for those with AVC's in as much is this pot could be transferred out to give immediate access to all the money, no doubt more on this in the coming 12 months.

The Board of Trustees met again on 20th February, 2015The Board of Trustees met again on 20th February, 2015. The triennial is due 31st July, 20115. The current funding with the current

positive investment plan has now reached 89.9% compared to its all time low of 72%. Rules amended to cover same sex marriages. Lazard's attended to defend their poor performance.

The Board of Trustees met again on 25th November, 2014 and again on the on the 20th February. The 31st October was the end of Norval period on Court and Ken Dalton would be his replacement. Given Norval pension experience it had been agreed by all the trustees that he would remain as the Convenor to help guide the trustees through the long period of recovery. The 2014 annual evalution showed a small increase in the deficit and standstill in funding level at 87% but the trend was still on the up. It had been agreed to look for a fund which would give greater security and M&G had been appointed. One fund continued to under perform and it had been agreed the Investment manager of that fund be asked to attend which he did. The performance of this fund could no longer be supported and it was agreed to consider other opions hopefully using our other investment managers, via a distribution to be agreed at a special meeting in Marcn, in the meantime Norval; Maria and Aon would look at the best otptions to report back to the special March meeting. The problems with the Aon administration issues appeared to be resolved. On the issue of an improvent in the funding level since November showed it was now 88.6% funded.

The Board of Trustees met again on 13th May, 2014. Trevor was welcomed

as the replacement for Iain. A report on the effects on the budget and how it

might affect pensions. Our DB scheme would not likely be affected mainly

DC schemes, although whilst it would give members greater control over

their pension pot how well would many cope could be a problem. Prior

to the start of the meeting the sub-committee had presentations from

Pimco; M&G and GAM and the outcome was to appoint ....  The first TownHall

meeting was to be held in June and all were interested in how many members/

potential members would attend. The funding level had dropped back from

the 88% figure reported at the last meeting to 86% due to the effect of

the Middles East troubles.

The Board of Trustees met again on 18th February, 2014 and

the main business was to find investments that would protect the

fund more if the financial crisis of 2008/11 every happens again.

Agreed that a sub-committee consisting of Norval; Derek; Reg and

myself would meet through in Edinburgh at the A-on offices to

interview suitable investment managers. The sub-committee would

report the outcome at the May meeting. Overall the fund was performing

well achieving a 88% level.

The Board of Trustees met again on 11th November, 2013 and the funds progress

was good with the deficit cut down to £11M from £23M and hopefully this improvement

will continue during 2014. In order to protect the fund from a further slump [2008/09]

consideration was needed to see how this might be done. Staff would no longer

have to stop paying into the fund once they reached 40 years, but they could

continue making their payments as would the university opening up to a higher

40/80ths pension option.

The Board of Trustees met again on 24th May 2013 it was reported the fund was now

80% funded and that it was possible we could start moving into the black in 2020.

Agreed that the process of electing staff trustees would be reviewed to bring

it into line with the new Job Families.

The Board of Trustees met again on 18th Feb/1st March, 2013 to receive the details

of the triennial review this revealed a surplus of £300k but the funding level

had improved from 61% to 72%. Mr D Hunter from Schroders gave a presentation

on their current investment portfolios. The trustees appointed a new legal advisor

being Shepherd & Wedderburn. Their first main task was to bring the rules up to

the current legal requirements.

The Board of trustees met on 6th November, 2012

On pensions we are due to receive details on the outcome of our triennial

review, at a meeting in January next year.

The issue of Career Average was raised but the argument is there was no case

on the basis that the salary range for support staff was far narrower than that for

the academic staff. In any event it was introduced because of the large USS

deficit currently £3 billion, in order to help reduce the deficit.

A projection forecast from our advisors indicated on the current percentage

pay-in we could be back in surplus by 2022, but at this stage this was seen as

very speculative.

The Board of trustees met on 15th June, 2012

Reg Gavine & I re-electd to serve until July, 2017

The triennal review takes place based on 31st July data

Lazards attended but whilst there long term investments still holds

their current 1 yr and 3 yr perfomance is poor but they are making

changes on their holdings so we wait to see if their year on year

on performance does improve.

This was Peter's final meeting and a dinner was held the previuos

evening to thank him for his 8 years as our Convenor. Peter was

presented with a pair of university 600 year cuff links and a bottle of

malt from Bill who could not attend the dinner.

The Board of trustees met on 26th January, 2012

Aon Hewitt take over our scheme from 1st May, 2012. Currently the trustees

paperwork to indentify them as being the appropriate person is being validated just

part of the money laundering regulations.

The increase in the retired members pension from 1st April, 2012 will be 5.6%

with the exception of that pension earned since 1st April 2006 to retiral which

will be the max increase of 2.5%

Reg advised this would be his last year, he would be due to retire in 2 years time

so cannot stand for the period 2012/17.

A number of areas were identified were some savings could be made and these

will be invetsigated prior to the June meeting.

Whilst inflation and gilts remain high so will the schemes liabilities making balancing

the account into credit so much more difficult.

The Board of trustees met on 4th October, 2011 in Edinburgh as guests

of Baillie Gifford one of our investment managers.

A meeting with the new advisers Aon Hewitt went extremely well and the transfer

to them from Towers Watson was proceeding well. It is a long process and seems

likley to end around April/May by which time the data will all have been verified

and checked. In the meantime the monthly payment to pensioners will continue

to be paid by Towers Watson with Aon Hewitt taking this over in April 2012.

The fund has been hit with yet another recession but hopefully some solutions

will be found to put the world back on course once again.

The sub-committee met on 22nd August to interview the 4 applicants who wish to become

the next advisers to the Trustees.

The Board of trustees met again on 20th June, 2011

It was agreed to proceed with a review of the trusts advisers and to this extent

a meeting took place on 19th July to draw up a shortlist and arrangements put

in hand for the 4 chosen to attend interviews on 22nd August.

Lazrds one of our three investment managers attended to explain why their

fund is currently under performing. They advised their current situation of

under performance would likely continue for approx another 18 months.

Whilst this is not good news their performance up to this current problem

had been excellent, so the trustees expressed their concenrn and agreed to

keep the situation under review as both the other funds particularly Baillie

Gifford continued to out perform.

The Board of trustees met on 31st January, 2011

The increase in the retired members pension from 1st April, 2011 will be 4.6%

with the exception of that pension earned since 1st April 2006 to retiral which

will be the max of 2.5%

Baillie Gifford atteneded and in general both their funds with them are out performaing

The annual review to staff and retired members was finalised ready to be sent out

in early February. Whilst the fund in the report shows a deficit of £26M at the time

of this meeting it was estimated to be around £18M showing the trustees recovery

plan to be progressing

The Board of trustees met on 10th October, 2010

The continued discussions on the USS scheme details of which were to be

circulated to all the academic staff at the start of a 3 months consultation

period. It did seem obvious if the USS did give in to the academic unions

proposals the liklihood of further finanical reviews would seem inevitable

given the deficit was very large.

On the Consumer Price Index [CPI] is lower than the RPI the fund is still

commiteed to make payments to it retired members on the RPI figure and the

Final Salary is still in place.

The Schreodor's manager attended to give the trustees the latest update and

how they see the next two/three years unfolding.

A long running case for a member who had died after leaving the university seemed

likely to be resolved shortly.

It was reported that Iain McDevitt has been elected unoppesed to serve until

July, 2015.

The Board of trusttes met on 18th June, 2010

There are no in place conflicts of interest that ALL the trustees must declare and

update.

All the admin of our Scheme has been transfered to Leeds and whilst there have

been a few problems most should be dealt with in the near future.

The review of the academic scheme was underway and it was clear there were

differences between the USS and the academic trade union UCU.

Whilst we are still in deficit the overall funding level had increased from c62% to

c72%

The covenant which is a way of protecting the funds remains strong.

Board of trustees will met on 15th February, 2010

The appeals process to remian a 2 stage process but reduced fromn 6 to 3 months

Trustees to declare any conflicts of interest

Issue of an Independant Trustee put on hold

January, 2010 - Announced that Watson & Wyatt had joined up

with Tower Perrins to form a new partnership to be called

Towers Watson

Board of trustees special meeting took place 2nd December

It was agreed a sub-committee consisitng of Derek; Peter and Reg

would attend a meeting on 18th January, 2010 in Edinburgh with

Watson & Wyatt to discuss the options following the result of the

3 year review indicating there was now a larger deficit than in 2006.

Board of trustees met on 30th September, 2009

There was nothing major to report other than the triennial review is awaited

and a special meeting was arranged for December to look at the outline.

The universities had increased their contribution into the USS fund for

academic staff by 2% raising the employer's contribution to 16%

Board of trustees met again on 13th May, 2009

Deputy Convenor, Professor Ron Piper was appointed to this new post.

The full acturial review is due on 31st July, 2009.

The trustees noted the empolyers covenant was still strong but agreed to keep it

under review.

It was agreed as part of the trustee training programme all trustess needed some

background training on the Scheme Rules.

Board of trustees met again on 10th February, 2009

Th current investments are still being badly effected like all other pension funds and

it was felt necessary to look at our commitment to Baillie Gifford following their

presentation and the investments sub-committee was ask to look at other

alternatives. Watson Wyatt introduced their OneMeeting project which will in the

future allow the trustees to see all the past and current paperwork on-line.

Board of Trustees met on 1st October, 2008

As part of the ongoing training of Trustee all had been asked to complete module 5

of the Regulator's online training programme so that module 6 could be dealt with

at this meeting.

The first ill-helath early retirement since the new way of handling these was put in

place was approved.

Retired members had sought to have a yearly meeting but what was suggeted in

May was an AGM for both current/retired members to attend but when this was raised

by Mr Blyth no other trustees now supported the idea.

A meeting had taken place with Baillie Gifford and their progress would be monitored

but the other fund managers were performing well despite the current problems.

Board of Trustees will met on the 26th May, 2008. The trustees agreed it was not the time to introduce an independent trustee but to keep the issue under review.

Agreed a meeting with Baillie Gifford should be arranged to discuss their current

performance. The trustees agreed to monitor the universities convenant with the Board of

Trustees. All the trustees were asked to complete up to module 5 of the Regulator's e-learning

on-line training programme so module 6 could be dealth with a the next training

session in October.

Board of Trustees met on the 5th February, 2008. Mr Blyth welcomed as the

Pensioner trustee until 31st July, 2012. Investment sub-committee agreed to

recommend replacing the tracking fund with Schroders. The PaySave option was

to be put to a vote of members, if implemented a substantial amount could be

added to the fund from both employee and employer savings. Pensioners

request for yearly meet might best be met by holding an AGM which would

be for pensioner and current members. Baillie Gifford attended to give their

yearly update on their funds performance.

Board of Trustees met on the 8th October, 2007

Reg Gavine welcomed as the new technical constituency trustee and

Mr Blyth was thanked for his 35 years as a trustee . Sub-committee

of the Trustees travelled down to London 31st July to meet with Blackrock;

Schroders; Goldman Sachs and Pimco to resolve who to choose to replace the

tracker fund. The outcome was a further meeting with Schroders and Pimco was

to take place. At 30th September fund valued at £47 million.

Board of Trustees met on the 8th May, 2007

Staff who as a result of assimilaition into the Framework who now find themselves

in Grade 6 have 6 months to decide is they wish to stay in the local scheme or

transfer to the USS. This also applies to any current sppeals. New staff will in

the future have a retirement age of 65 current staff have the option of retiral at

age 60 with no actuarial reduction.

The Pension Regulator accepted our plan for recovery with some comments that

could be fully justified.

Board of Trustees met on the 9th October, 2006. Agreed Ian McDevitt's period of

office will be to 31st July, 2010. Details on the effect of the Framework Agrrement

would impact on the scheme. Grades 1 to 5 would be in S&LAS and Grade 6 and

above would be in USS with certain exceptions. A new Grade 6 appointments

would automaticaly join the USS. Staff on assimilaition to Grades 6/7 would have

6 months to decide if they wanted to transfer to the USS. Spouce's pension to be

50% of member's and if death within 5 years the full pension outstanding is to be

paid. The trustees met again on 1st December to consider the actuarial report

which showed the funding level was now at 83%

Board of Trustees met on the 9th May, 2006. no report available.

Board of Trustees met on the 24th January, 2006. Ron Piper to be new employer

trustee replacing Alaistair Work, following approval at the February Court meeting.

Still no replacement for the vacant Retired member trustee. The scheme actuary

now Neil Puxley. Susan Gostick and Jonathon Overland reported on the Lazards

Global Investment fund.

Board of Trustees last met on the 4th October, 2005. It was announced that

Ian McLaren had resigned and a new retired members trustee would have to be

found. It was also intimated that Alastair Work would be leaving the university

at the end of 2005.

Board of Trustees last met on 24th May, 2005 and received a report from Schroder's

one of our fund managers. However following the report from the special sub-committee

set up in January which recommended changes to the way the funds were split to the

investment managers it was agreed that Schroder's would be dropped in favour of a

new manager namely Lazards.

On the implications of the framework agreement existing staff could remain in the

current local scheme, the cost of a transfer would be prohibitive however new staff

would go into USS if they acceded the appropriate point in the pay scale yet to be

agreed. The next meeting is scheduled for the 4th October, 2005

Board of Trustees last met on 20th January, 2005 and received a much more encouraging

report from Baillie Gifford one of our fund managers.The fund now stands at a little under

£32 million a big improvement on the past, but still to early yet to report all is well.The equity

investments traditionally 55% UK and 45% overseas will be further examined to see if

performance returns could be improved. It was noted Gordon Dickson's period of office

would be up at 31st July, 2005, thus requiring issueing notices to members to seek

nominations, Gordon is of course eligible to re stand.

Board of Trustees last met on 4th October 2004 and received a detailed report from our

Investment Managers at Legal & General.The trustees noted the appointment by

Court of Peter Cabrelli as Convener.The Trust deeds and rules were being updated.

The trustees will next meet is on 20th January 2005.

Board of Trustees last met on 19th May, 2004 and received a detailed report from our

Investment Manager from Schroder's.

As it was Alasdair MacIntyre last meeting the trustees thanked him for all his hard

work in what has been a difficult four years. The Court will shortly announce

Alasdair's successor to serve from 1st August, 2004 Board of Trustees met on

27th January, 2004 when they received a report from Baillie Gifford one of their

investment mangers. Contribution rates from 1st February, 2004 Employer 20.22%

and Employee 7.78% giving a joint funding rate of 28%Current ratio of funding

13/18ths (employer) and 5/18ths (employee) agreed by the unions summer 2002.

Whilst so far this formula has been used to increase contributions it will also be the

one to reduce contributions when the fund is in surplus.