Michael Safo-Crampton – Associate Director, Pensions and Benefits
Staff and faculty will have seen a number of recent communications regarding the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and important information about your pension. Let's meet Michael Safo-Crampton, Associate Director, Pensions and Benefits – and your first port of call for any questions relating to pension contributions!
Can you briefly describe your career journey that’s brought you to London Business School?
I have worked as a pensions actuary in various consultancies across the country and most recently Aon for 11 years. Actuaries are employed to analyse economics and statistics in order to evaluate and quantify risks, so that they can be mitigated or managed. So in pensions, at one level, that means how long a pension be paid for and how much it would cost to provide that pension.
Can you tell us a bit more about your role and the key areas you’ve been working on since you arrived here?
I started here in February of this year, and everyone has been super welcoming and friendly. I have been fielding technical questions relating to pensions and benefits – and in particular the USS scheme – whether from colleagues, USS itself or UUK (the body that represents all university employers that participate in the USS). I have also participated in seminars and responded to consultations on USS to ensure that our voice is heard.
I have also enjoyed meeting colleagues around the campus with questions ranging from benefits that the pension schemes provide through to pension tax complex analysis.
In terms of benefits, we arranged a number of sessions earlier this year as part of mental health awareness week and look forward to showcasing all the great benefits that the School offers at our employee experience fair on 24 March 2020. There will be communications about this nearer the time, and it will be an opportunity for colleagues to see the different elements that contribute to our employee experience.
The school is a very supportive, collaborative and open environment and we want to make sure that the employee benefits are working for you. Please look out for our surveys where we will be asking for your opinions on these over the coming months.
How will the recent USS pension contribution increase affect staff at LBS?
As you will have seen from recent announcements, the headline contribution rate to USS for employees and employers increased from 1 October (but not by as much as was anticipated earlier in the year) and will remain at this level for at least two years. We are waiting for recommendations from a panel brought in to investigate the long-term viability of the scheme and hope they will consider introducing some flexible options for colleagues – watch this space!
Away from the work place, what do you like to get up to in your leisure time?
Aside from work, I am a keen musician (some of you may have heard my dulcet tones at the Christmas drinks at the Dean’s house last year) and have played the viola and piano from a young age. I was lucky enough to play in the “Schools’ Prom” with my youth orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, accompanying Nigel Kennedy and televised on the BBC.
Recently, my time is taken up with looking after our 18 month-old son, Felix. My husband and I were very fortunate to find our amazing surrogate in Texas, who helped create our family. In fact, we are currently counting down the days to meet Felix’s little brother in December.
If you could invite five celebrities round for dinner, who would they be and why?
For a lively dinner party I’d invite:
Nigella Lawson – to help us cook
Michelle Obama – for her amazing insights
Beyoncé – to have a sing-a-long after dinner
Nigel Kennedy – to see if he remembers the Schools’ Prom!
Olivia Colman – Hello?! Do you need a reason?