UK – The £20bn (€28.2bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme is to launch a pilot project to provide its members with financial advice.

The move comes in the run-up to the Finance Act, which will be implemented in 2006.

The arrangement will be initially tested in every college in the London and Bristol areas from March 1 - before being extended to all members of the scheme.

A spokesman for USS, which provides for 360 universities and higher education institutions, told IPE that the trustees felt they could provide members with information but not the required professional advice on the changes of the Finance Act.

He said the university website would provide members with a list of consultants at the Personal Finance Society.

“We recommend they members see financial advisers if they are not sure what to do,” he said.

The spokesman also said that advisers of the PFS, which brings together the Life Assurance Association and the Society of Financial Advisers, would also travel to meet USS members.

The USS has not yet set a date for the extension of the plan to the whole country. The spokesman said it would depend on the success of the pilot. But he added USS expected things to develop slowly.

The USS would review progress in the next few months, he added.

“Our agreement with PFS recognises the complexity of financial planning for private individuals and the need for our members to have access to quality advice,” explained Tom Merchant, USS chief executive.

“The advisers will have agreed minimum qualifications and will provide a totally transparent system of remuneration,” he continued.