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Universities Superannuation Scheme Signposts Members To Lifesight For Drawdown Provision

The Trustee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the U.K's largest private pension scheme, has decided to signpost its members to Willis Towers Watson's LifeSight, who offer drawdown services. USS members who wish to access their benefits through drawdown will be able to transfer their funds directly into a LifeSight drawdown account.

USS has over 470,000 scheme members in total, with assets under management (AuM) of more than £80bn, making it the largest private pension scheme in the UK by assets under management. There are around 90,000 members with DC savings, equating to £1.6bn of AuM. In 2020-21 USS members retired with DC savings totalling £52mn.

USS is also classified as a master trust, as it provides pension savings to employees of many different universities. This is therefore believed to be the first time that a UK master trust has appointed another master trust to provide services to its members.

Helen McEwan, Chief Pensions Officer, USS, said:

“As the largest private pension scheme by assets under management in the country we are always looking for ways to improve the experience and services available to our members. Signposting members to a drawdown provision as part of a balanced range of retirement options is an important part of the USS retirement experience.

“We have an in-house team who conducted a thorough review of the master trust market and we were very impressed with LifeSight, from the transparency and access provided by the management team to the independent governance provided by its trustee board. Its investment operations, its commitment to ESG and the online experience and tools available to members were particular strengths that we identified.”

Fiona Matthews, Managing Director of LifeSight said:

“We are so proud that USS is signposting members to LifeSight’s drawdown services. There are 38 master trusts in the UK and when one decides to appoint another to provide member services it shows how this market is evolving and maturing. The USS trustee was very thorough in its due diligence and, once again, LifeSight’s independent Trustee board and market leading member experience was a differentiating factor in this competitive market.”

Jane Platt, Chair of the LifeSight Trustee Board said:

“We’ve worked closely with the USS team to make sure that they are fully satisfied that LifeSight can provide a high-quality member experience with thorough independent governance. The LifeSight Trustees are very pleased to welcome USS members to our drawdown service.”

Alongside other recent wins being implemented, LifeSight has around 245,000 members and £12bn of AuM.

Earlier this year, as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainable investing, LifeSight committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions across all its default funds by 2050 at the latest, with at least a 50% reduction by 2030. Its commitment to net zero covers all its Defaults, which represent the vast majority of its total assets under management.

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