University of Exeter Retirement Savings Scheme (ERSS)

The University of Exeter Retirement Saving Scheme (ERSS) is a Defined Contribution pension arrangement and is the pension arrangement that is open for all staff grades B-D. Membership of the scheme is automatic from your first day of employment.


The Pensions team have run seminars to give you more information about the ERSS scheme. You can watch a recording or view slides on our seminars page.

Changes to contribution

Each April the University offers a short “window” of time to enable members to review the contributions that they make into the scheme and to change their contribution level by electing another band. This year, for a limited time only, we’ve decided to offer a higher band – called Band 4 – where members pay 8% of their salary and the University pays 12%. This will give members the opportunity to save more for their pension supported by a larger employer contribution, which is a valuable part of the benefits package offered here. Click on the Forms tab or access the form here; any band changes need to be made by  16th May 2019

New Band available until May 2019

Employee contribution (% of pensionable salary)

Employer Contribution % of pensionable salary)

Band 4 8% 12%

 We are holding special seminars with Alison Rose, our Pensions and Rewards manager, to give more information about the new band as well as the scheme generally.  Come along to one of these sessions:

30/04/2019 11.00-12.00 Newman LT (C/D) Streatham Campus
01/05/2019 10.30-11.30 Exchange Green Penryn Campus
01/05/2019 13.00-14.00 SO75 Truro Knowledge Spa
08/05/2019 10.30 11.30 South Cloisters 3.06 St Luke's Campus
08/05/2019 13.30-14.30 Queens LT1 Streatham Campus


About the scheme

ERSS gives benefits based on contributions from the member, the University and on the investment returns gained on those contributions. Each member’s individual defined contribution account will build up over time from the money paid in from employee and University contributions and the returns on those invested contributions. On retirement, subject to the legislation in force at that time, you will have a choice on how to use the funds in your individual DC account, for example to purchase a pension (or “annuity”) or to take as a cash lump sum (some of which may be tax free and some of which may be taxed). You can watch a 30 minute webinar from Scottish Widows about the scheme. 

Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, staff will automatically become members. Membership is automatic but not compulsory and you can opt out of the scheme within 30 days of the first monthly deduction from pay. Opting out is subject to  the rules of the scheme. 

Tiered matching contribution structure

ERSS has a tiered matching contribution structure, which is intended to provide more flexibility for employees and an incentive to save more for retirement. The scheme offers the following tiers of contribution options.

• Band 2 is the DEFAULT band for all new appointments.

 Employee contribution (% of pensionable salary)University contribution (% of pensionable salary
Band 1 3.0% 5.0%
Band 2 4.0% 6.0%
Band 3 6.0% 10.0%

Scottish Widows website

Visit the Scottish Widows website for more information about the scheme including an online calculator.

New joiners

Staff on Grades B - D are eligible to join the University Of Exeter Retirement Savings Scheme (ERSS) which is administered by the Scottish Widows.

The Contract of Employment you will be offered before you join the University of Exeter will contain brief details of the pension scheme. Importantly, your contract will inform that you will automatically be put into the ERSS unless you opt not to join. 

Membership of the ERSS is automatic but not compulsory so you can opt out if you wish. You are able to opt out once you have received your pack from the ERSS administrators, Scottish Widows, which is sent to you after having the first deduction from pay. When you get the pack please follow the instructions on opting out. The University does not supply opt our forms for the ERSS.

For more details about the scheme please visit the Scottish Widows website


We have collated answers to the most frequently asked questions about the ERSS scheme. Please see our FAQs webpage.


Scottish Widows 2018 presentation

Further information