With so many challenges facing the higher education sector, our team at Barnett Waddingham are here to help you navigate the latest regulations, developments and operational requirements when it comes to supporting employees and pensions in higher education institutions.

Find out more about these services below.

Higher Education institutions are in a period of significant change as new funding regimes and student fee structures are introduced. The sector also faces a series of concurrent pensions-related challenges.

These challenges range from the redesign of the nationwide and public sector schemes, such as the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) and the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), to issues of affordability of pensions themselves and increasing employer costs. For universities who are operating their own schemes, the pressure to manage costs is just as intense as in the sector-wide schemes.  

We work with our clients to ensure they understand the risks (and opportunities) that pensions pose to their future financial sustainability and their ability to deliver on their strategic plans. 

Using our interactive modelling tool, Illuminate, we can help you to understand the effect of changes to your investment strategy, the potential impact of liability management exercises, and the expected long term future for your scheme.

IFAs must carry out an Appropriate Pension Transfer Analysis (APTA) for every member they advise, but preparing an APTA can be time-consuming and complicated. It is crucial that where IFAs outsource some analysis for their APTA to companies such as Barnett Waddingham, the process remains robust, seamless and avoids delays. Barnett Waddingham gives IFAs access to online platforms which seamlessly provide APTA calculations as part of their transfer advice process.

Our services for wellbeing cover three distinct areas:

  1. BWell – wellbeing solution which includes a detailed workforce analysis, wellbeing strategy build and ongoing governance
  2. Core service – consultancy, administration and procurement of all health, protection and wellbeing products and insurances
  3.  Me2 – engagement portal that connects the wellbeing strategy with the end user; the employee

Once the areas of concern are identified through BWell, we then turn to building a wellbeing strategy that combats these risks and provides an effective approach that focuses on career, financial security, health, protection, work/life balance and ongoing support.

We conduct annual governance reviews to ensure the strategy remains fit for purpose, provide management information on return on investment and further analysis.

We offer full policy consultancy, administration and procurement to take the burden of policy management away from our Higher Education clients. We provide this service on all policies. We also provide an employee-focused solution called Me2, an intuitive employee engagement portal allowing the employee to interact with the wellbeing strategy and the products that sit within it. 

Our experienced and qualified administrators add value by challenging established ways of thinking and working and our processes and procedures are externally audited. We were one of the first third-party administrators (TPAs) to produce an AAF 01/06 audit report. We are also ISO accredited, which ensures quality and continuous improvement.

We pride ourselves in communicating the technical and complex nature of pensions in a clear and concise manner. Pension schemes are a substantial financial commitment for an employer and sponsors are entitled to expect members to understand the value of their scheme.

As part of your strategic plan you need to attract and retain high quality academic and professional staff, some of whom may face lifetime allowance (LTA) or annual allowance (AA) tax charges, either now or in the future. Three key areas we can help you with:

Support - We have a dedicated Executive Pensions team, who provide expert help for senior individuals on their pension arrangements and to deal with the implications of pension taxation changes.

Experience - We have considerable experience in advising the senior staff of Higher Education institutions, particularly on the various changes to the LTA and AA.

Clarity - One of our strengths is our ability to make complex subjects clearer, giving you more time to consider important issues.  For example, we avoid unnecessary jargon so that the message is not lost in the detail.  

For many new employees, a defined contribution (DC) scheme will be the first pension scheme they join and then remain in whilst working. As this grows over time, it is important to ensure that their DC scheme is fit for purpose with strong governance and clear communications being vital.  We help clients communicate, educate and engage with members across all pension arrangements, including wider financial awareness, as well as wellbeing in the workplace.  

As engagement is key to running a successful scheme, we work with our clients (employers, trustees, governance groups) to build an effective engagement strategy.  

How can we help you? 

We are ideally positioned to provide expert, innovative, tailored support in helping you set a strategic approach to your current DC pension arrangement, considering your options for the future and evaluating governance and engagement. We also provide helpful tools such as our intuitive Me2 platform.

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Also view our webinar

What’s happened to pensions in the higher education sector? Helping you navigate through the industry's latest challenges. 

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