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The University of Southampton
Finance, Planning and Analytics

University of Southampton Retirement Fund - USRF

USRF is a defined contribution retirement scheme provided by Royal London and administered by the University for its employees.  Life assurance and ill health benefits are also provided to members.


February 2024 - Points of interest and QA session on Pensions and USRF

The session was recorded and is available below along with a transcript of the recording and the briefing presentation.

USRF briefing - transcriptUSRF briefing - presentation


You can join USRF if:

You are an employee of the University; and

  • You are employed at Levels 1-3; and
  • You are employed on a permanent or fixed term contract of at least 6 months; and
  • You are aged 18 or over and up to state pension age

You will be contractually enrolled into USRF with effect from the date you become eligible to join.

How much will I contribute to Pension scheme?

Contributions are calculated on your total monthly pay (pensionable pay). The current contribution rates are as follows:

Employee Employer
0% 10%
2% 10%
4% 10%
(default contribution rate)

Do I have to join USRF?

You can opt out of the scheme at any stage of your membership. However, to comply with pension auto enrolment legislation you will be enrolled back into a pension scheme at each 3rd year anniversary of the University of Southampton’s staging date.

Please contact if you would like to opt out of the scheme.

Can I join at a later date?

If you do not join USRF when first able to do so, or if you decide to opt out of the scheme, you can join or re-join the scheme at a later date by request to the University.

Please contact if you would like to join or re-join the scheme.

What happens if I don't join or if I opt out of USRF?

If you decide not to join USRF, or decide to opt out later, you will not be saving towards a pension for retirement or be covered by life assurance if you were to die while employed by the University.


  • The University cannot ask you, force you or offer you incentives to opt out of the pension scheme.
  • If you are asked or forced to opt out, you can tell The Pensions Regulator – visit:
  • If you change your mind, you may be able to opt back in – contact the Pensions team if you want to do this.
  • If you stay opted out you will normally be enrolled back into one of the University's other pension schemes at each three year anniversary of the University's Auto Enrolment staging date.
  • If you leave the University your new employer will normally enrol you into its pension scheme.
  • If you have another job, your other employer will normally also enrol into its pension scheme.

Can I transfer my benefits from my previous pensions scheme?

It is possible to transfer benefits from a previous pension arrangement into USRF.

Please contact Royal London for more information on how to do this.


Further USRF information

Further information about the scheme and Royal London can be found by following the links below:


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