Felicity Callard Profile picture
Jun 7, 2018 16 tweets 15 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
This is fascinating by @MikeOtsuka on logic & motivations of #USS Test 1 (& how Test 1 might be met without de-risking), based on talk at @bsaweel Pensions Symposium. We've invited Mike to contribute longer piece for @OpenUPP2018 at @USSbriefs medium.com/@mikeotsuka/ho… #OpenUPP2018 screen shot of part of blog post linked to in website
.@MikeOtsuka's piece links to #USS discussion document sent as response to a Qu & challenge from Mike (sent by USS & linked to a meeting Mike had w USS executives on 23 March 2018). This adds to archive of #USS materials (cc. @ForPension) drive.google.com/file/d/1Q4r6tE… #OpenUPP2018
The #USS discussion document ("Response to Prof Michael Otsuka for discussion purposes") is dated 22 March 2018 with authors Guy Coughlan, Jeff Rowney, Steve Towers. Author in document properties is Jeff Rowney drive.google.com/file/d/1Q4r6tE… #OpenUPP2018
.@MikeOtsuka says that at #USS meeting (which I assume included at least some of authors of discussion document), the requirement to make it possible to close DB scheme within 40 yrs was based on PWC's assessment of strength of the covenant medium.com/@mikeotsuka/ho… #OpenUPP2018
And @MikeOtsuka links here to the recently available #USS document "Covenant Review for the 2017 Valuation: summary of initial conclusions for consultation with sponsoring employers" (first circ. Sept 2016) uss.co.uk/~/media/docume… #OpenUPP2018
I had a look at this "Covenant Review" in a thread I did a few weeks ago – with a particular focus on how risk was being assessed in it by PwC, #USS itself, & EY Parthenon (through its review of HE sector dynamics) #OpenUPP2018
In putting together @MikeOtsuka's recent piece on Test 1 – & #USS saying Test 1's rationale is that it is *possible* to close DB scheme within 40 yrs – & Covenant Review for 2017 Valuation I am even more interested in how PWC (& USS) assessed the strength of covenant #OpenUPP2018
Can someone whose researches in this field (REMINDER: I work on how human sciences elicit & analyse daydreams – which might or might not have a relationship to #USS pension dispute) write a #USSbriefs on #USS covenant review & risk for @OpenUPP2018 @USSbriefs? #OpenUPP2018
In particular, how are temporal horizons imagined & made real? Why, is it the case that PWC's ability to 'see' beyond 30 years becomes hazy? Why is it that after 40 years, using @MikeOtsuka's phrase: 'Here be dragons?' 🐉🐉🐉 medium.com/@mikeotsuka/ho… #OpenUPP2018 screen shot of blog post -- underlying 'becomes hazy' and 'here be dragons'
Oh, and another thing – in terms of understanding the tight circuits driving the imaginaries around risk & pensions:

Jeff Rowney, co-author of discussion document prepared for @MikeOtsuka (drive.google.com/file/d/1Q4r6tE…) is currently Head of Funding Strategy at USS #OpenUPP2018
Jeff Rowney moved to USS straight from PwC where he was a Partner whose expertise included dealing with pension deficits (pwc.co.uk/industries/for…) #OpenUPP2018
Rowney was listed as a PWC contact on PWC's "Pensions remain a huge challenge for UK employers" (2010) events.pwc.com/uk/eventsmss/v… #OpenUPP2018
PWC's "Pensions remain a huge challenge for UK employers" (2010) events.pwc.com/uk/eventsmss/v… advised on various challenges & opportunities – including closing/reducing DB schemes & managing legacy DB liabilities. Worth a read 📖 #OpenUPP2018
PWC's "Pensions remain a huge challenge for UK employers" – screen shot of what the report addresses events.pwc.com/uk/eventsmss/v… #OpenUPP2018 Screen shot from doc -- 8 pension challenges & opportunities
To return to #USS Test 1: @MikeOtsuka argues: 'Rather than trying to persuade USS to reject this objective [making it possible to close DB scheme in 40 yrs], we should challenge ... chosen means of realising it' medium.com/@mikeotsuka/ho…

But I still want to know how to account for the 'here be dragons' scenario 🐉

So please can someone write for us at @OpenUPP2018 @USSbriefs on:

risk &/or
covenant horizon &/or
modelling of future UK HE economic scenarios

&/or pension 'futures' in general

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More from @felicitycallard

Oct 2, 2018
Given importance of HE sector "there may be a case for future governments to consider alternative options" (incl "state-backed guarantee" or "measures enabling more risk-taking"). Powerful piece from @JMariathasan on #USS DB debate post-#JEP ipe.com/analysis/blogs… #USSstrike 1/
Article argues that central problem lies in regulatory changes that transformed management of a DB pension scheme into "a risk management problem, not an investment one" 2/
Read 4 tweets
Sep 22, 2018
Thank you to @EricRoyalLybeck & all the other organisers in Exeter, as well as @ExeterUCU: Volunteer University Revisited was such a magical day. Gathering all of our energies for the months & years to come #YesVolUniCan 1/
Particularly magical to meet some people in the flesh for the first time -- incl. @thetroutpouts @lizmorrish @TheGraceK @sstroschein2 Mike Finn, Alison Wood, @ProfAlastair @ms_rhian @NoisyBits 2/
So many ideas for ways forward. So many kinds of expertise being bought to bear on what now, how, for universities as a community. Also so many testifying to violence, intimidation, threats to academic freedom – & of particular subjects being of course more exposed 3/3
Read 4 tweets
Sep 16, 2018
There's a bonanza of new FOI responses that give us a much better sense of the range of university responses to #UUK #USS consultations from Oct 2016 and Feb/March 2017. Picking through them it's fascinating to see which universities challenged the direction of travel 1/
e.g. Aberdeen: "Aon ... & UCU have indicated that it may be advantageous to consider other models. We are interested in the Trustees views as to whether there are alternative models that could result in a more considered outcome" whatdotheyknow.com/request/508696… cc @aberdeen_ucu 2/
e.g. LSE: "We note that the latest benefit changes were implemented less than 12 months ago. The School’s view is that it is too soon for further changes to be made." whatdotheyknow.com/request/509128… 3/
Read 6 tweets
Sep 16, 2018
So with the publication of the #JEP, the issue of UUK consultations with employer institutions is back big time. Both the famous Sept 2017 survey – and now the possibility, if JEP recommendations are taken up, of UUK reassessing employers' appetite for risk.

I'm worried. 1/
#JEP has emphasised the problems with how UUK framed the questions. What's really obvious if you look back Sept survey is that all the focus is on risk and on a *reduction to benefits*. And NOT on the potential to increase contributions. Or on amending the technical provisions 2/
You can see the structure of the questions here, in Nottingham's response (one of the institutions that wanted less risk): whatdotheyknow.com/request/440685… 3/
Read 18 tweets
Sep 15, 2018
2. #JEP has a lot to say about Test 1. Its sentence 'The view of the Panel is that Test 1 is not well understood outside of USS' is ... well ... certainly marvellously diplomatic.

Cf. and 6/
3. #JEP's discussion of #USS's & #UUK's 'differing perspectives' on the shift from Sept to Nov valuation shows just how murky the deliberations that resulted in this shift still are.

This remains a big issue, given #JEP proposal to reassess employers' atttude to risk (p. 45) 7/ Extract from p. 45 of JEP report
4. #JEP agrees w many of us that UUK's 'framing' of questions around risk in their consultations has serious consequences.

How can we be confident that any future assessment of employers' risk appetite by UUK shows an improvement in their use of social scientific methods? 🧐 8/
Read 13 tweets
Sep 15, 2018
After a few weeks away from Twitter, I'm back to think – alongside many others – about content & rhetoric of the #JEP.

And abt what we at @USSbriefs have been doing all summer w @OpenUPP2018 to encourage deliberations over #USS valuation to take place in public #USSstrike 1/
Many (incl. @NJSHardy @gailfdavies @DrJoGrady @etymologic @MikeOtsuka) have already provided cogent analyses of the #JEP report & its implications. So here I'll just going to pick out some of what has struck me most forcefully on a first read. #USSstrike 2/
1. There's a judicious use of rhetoric – particularly around 'confidence', '(mis)understanding' & 'communication'. This cleaves closely to that used by #UUK & Bill Galvin – whether that is deliberately so as to increase likelihood of acceptance by those parties, you can decide 3/
Read 5 tweets

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