The UK’s £49bn (€62bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has inaugurated its hybrid structure with the launch of its career revalued benefits section, a move it announced in connection with a trustee appointment.

Professor Stuart Palmer, chair of council at Cardiff University, has joined the USS trustee board, effective from 1 April 2016.

He was appointed to the board by Universities UK and replaces David McDonnell, who stepped down at the end of his term on 31 March.

McDonnell had been a member of the trustee board since 2007, serving on several committees.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, chair of the USS trustee board, expressed his gratitude to McDonnell for his service and welcomed Palmer to the board.

“[He] has had a long career in the higher education sector, he is an experienced pension scheme trustee and understands the importance of USS as part of a good-quality employee benefits offer,” he said.

Palmer’s appointment coincides with the first part of USS’s move to a hybrid scheme, which comprises a career-average DB section and a DC section.

It used to be a final salary defined benefit scheme, with the reform thereof proceeding after trade unions backed a negotiated settlement with employers, and members in January last year voted on the changes.

USS introduced its “career revalued benefit” (CRB) section on 1 April, known as the USS Retirement Income Builder.

From 1 October, it will roll out a new defined contribution section, which it has called the USS Investment Builder. 

This section is for contributions paid on pensionable salary above £55,000, the threshold for the CRB pension.