personal finance

University pension fund fails to send thousands of statements

The UK’s largest private sector pension scheme has apologised to thousands of members after “technical issues” meant they were not sent annual statements.

The £63bn Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) sends statements to hundreds of thousands of active members each year detailing the savings they have built up in the retirement plan.

But the scheme said this week said that about 1 per cent of active members, or 2,000 savers, using the scheme’s automated process, did not receive them.

“As a result of a technical issues, which we are working hard to correct, it was not possible to produce an annual member statement for you this year,” the USS wrote to one member.

“This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with our records. Please be assured that our records reflect you are a contributing member who continues to build up benefits under the scheme.”

The USS is not manually producing statements for members affected unless one is requested. This approach has prompted some members to lodge complaints with the scheme.

“In future years, we will automate more of these processes,” said the USS. “We apologise if members have been inconvenienced by this.”

The USS said those affected included members with “specific, often non-standard employment or pensions arrangements” which required manual intervention to create detailed statements.

This included people who might have taken flexible retirement from the scheme, or people who might have a particular type of additional voluntary contribution arrangement.

The USS said affected members could email to request an update detailing the savings they have already built up in the scheme. These details will be provided within 20 working days, it said.

The UK’s largest private sector pension plan is to carry out another review of its funding position after thousands of members objected to claims their benefits were unaffordable.

The technical glitch affecting thousands of members came to light a week after the USS announced plans to revisit a recent funding review of the scheme, which identified a £7.5bn shortfall.

An independent panel of experts found flaws in the 2017 valuation and had recommended that the USS look again at the review.


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