The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is now enabling members of its Defined Contribution Investment Builder master trust to access private markets investments.
From next month, around 85,000 defined contribution (DC) members from its master trust - which was authorised by The Pensions Regulator last May - will see the investment remit of their funds in the Default Lifestyle Option expanded to include an allocation to private markets. These were previously only available to the master trust's defined benefit members.
USS has 320 assets in its £17bn private markets portfolio, including infrastructure, property, and private equity. It said these assets include "substantial investment" in on and offshore windfarms and major stakes in UK infrastructure including London Heathrow Airport and Thames Water.
USS group chief executive Bill Galvin said: "I'm delighted to be announcing this initiative today which not only gives our members access to a range of private market assets where USS' approach has led the pension fund market, but also highlights the innovative ways in which we continually look to enhance our offering to members.
"We have always been clear that any DC investments must be within stringent cost boundaries that demonstrate value-for-money to our members and employers. This exciting development is being done at no additional cost to them, in line with our overall investment philosophy."
In February last year, the government consulted on how to encourage DC schemes to invest more in illiquid assets, such as those in the private markets. The consultation closed in April 2018, but the government is still analysing the feedback.
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