Joanne Segars is to chair the expert group that will be examining the valuation of the £60bn (€69bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) as agreed in mediation talks at the end of March.

She is a joint appointment of Universities UK (UUK), which represents UK higher education institutions, and the sector’s main trade union, the University and College Union (UCU).

This is in line with an agreement that emerged from mediation talks between the two parties in March and was supported by university staff in April, after an earlier proposal was rejected by the unions.

The panel’s job will be to agree key principles for UCU’s and UUK’s approach to the valuation of USS, the UK’s largest pension scheme.

Segars is a well-known and respected figure in the UK pensions world. She is chair of the £41.9bn LGPS Central, one of eight asset pools formed by the UK’s local authority pension schemes, and before that was chief executive of the UK pension fund association, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, for more than 10 years.

She has also been head of pensions at the Trades Union Congress.

Segars said she was honoured to have been appointed to the role. “I am acutely aware of how important USS is to the sector and to those who work in it,” she said.

“If we are to be useful to UUK and UCU it is important that the panel members feel able to effectively challenge both each other’s views and those of our witnesses in a confidential environment,” she added.

Segars said there would be considerable interest in the panel’s work from USS members and employers. She therefore intended to report regularly on the group’s progress and issues under discussion as well as “a clear explanation of the evidence upon which we base any recommendations”.