Human Resources

Becoming an USPAS Trustee

USPAS is run by a board of Trustees. The role of Trustee is an important one: committed and conscientious Trustees play an essential part in the proper running of UPAS. Becoming a Trustee could also be a way of learning new skills.

The Board of Trustees

The University of Sussex Pension and Assurance Scheme (USPAS) is set up under trust, which ensures that the pension scheme assets are kept separate from those of the University. This is not only important for the security of the members' benefits but also because Trustee powers derive from the trust deed and rules of the scheme.

Who the Trustees are

The board of Trustees is made up of five Trustees nominated by the University and four Member Nominated Trustees (MNTs). MNTs can be active members of USPAS (i.e. those who are current employees) or pensioner members (i.e. those who have retired and who are receiving a pension).

Who can become an USPAS Trustee

New Trustees must be 18 or over on the date of appointment; they are not expected to be pensions experts and no special qualifications are required, but should have a basic understanding about pensions, about Trusteeship and the legal framework surrounding occupational pensions.

Subject to the suitability of applicants, it is normally hoped that two of the MNTs will be active members and two will be pensioner members.

Who cannot become an USPAS Trustee

There are some situations where a person would be disqualified from being a Trustee e.g. if a person is an undischarged bankrupt or if they have been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or deception.

Who appoints the new MNTs

This is a decision of the existing Trustee Board, based on a recommendation of a selection panel consisting of the Chair of the Trustees and two others with experience as MNTs.

What USPAS Trustees do

Trustees are like non-executive directors, and are not involved in the day-to-day running of the scheme.

The Trustees' job is to safeguard the assets of the trust and ensure that the terms of the trust are adhered to at all times.

The Trustees are responsible for the strategy, management and administration of the scheme - from the collection of contributions, to the investment of assets and payment of benefits. USPAS members look to the Trustees to ensure that the scheme is well run and that their benefits are secure.

The key responsibilities of a Trustee are:

  • To act in line with the trust deed and rules
  • To always act in the best interests of the scheme beneficiaries
  • To consider the interests of all the classes of beneficiary under the trust deed and rules and to act impartially
  • To act prudently, responsibly and honestly
  • To act within the framework of the law.

The issues are challenging, but the work is both interesting and worthwhile.

Time commitment

MNTs are normally appointed for three or six years, with two of the four Trustees retiring at three-year intervals.

The Trustee Board normally meets six times a year and these dates must be reserved. Other commitments are normally for training, especially in the first year of appointment.

Being a Trustee is a serious commitment, but most Trustees find it very rewarding.

Expenses

Trustees can claim for expenses incurred in carrying out their role as a Trustee but cannot claim attendance allowances or payments for loss of earnings. They are however entitled to time off work to carry out their duties.

Training and support

Although interest in the subject is obviously needed, training will be given where more specialist knowledge is needed.

Trustees or Board of Directors?

Traditionally, the roles discussed have been referred to as "Trustees" of the Scheme; increasingly Trustees have been re-designated as "Directors" of the Board of the Scheme. USPAS is currently proposing to make this change but it makes no difference to the appointment of, and responsibility, of MNTs.

Finding out more

You are invited to come and have a cup of coffee and an informal discussion about the vacancies, without any commitment, with MNTs about to retire, Tom Armour and Mick Henry and Chris Crook, chair of the Trustees. They will be in the Arts Piazza cafe between 10.00 am and 11.00 am on Wednesday 21 April and Friday 23 April. However, if you cannot meet them then please let Tracey Llewellyn know and an alternative arrangement could be made.

You can also contact Tracey Llewellyn, who will be pleased to discuss the role and responsibilities of an MNT on 01273 678201, ext 8201 or email t.llewellyn@sussex.ac.uk

General information from the Pensions Regulator about the role of a pension Trustee is available at www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/trustees/role-trustee.aspx

Applying to become an USPAS Trustee

Application forms can be obtained from Tracey Llewellyn on 01273 678201, ext 8201 or email t.llewellyn@sussex.ac.uk Once completed they should be countersigned by five other active or pensioner members. The closing date for applications is Friday 30 April.