Reporting UCL’s annual financial results

UCL’s financial statements for the year were approved by Council on Thursday 21 November. This update gives you the headline numbers and background information.

UCL has published its financial results for the 2018-19 year. Our operating surplus for the year is £87m, equivalent to 6% of our total income. This will allow us to continue to invest in much needed improvements to our estates and digital infrastructure, as well as investing in our staff and proposed academic developments.

The surplus is lower than the equivalent figure in 2017-18 (£124m) because that year included two major one-off capital receipts related to the purchase of the Eastman Dental Hospital site and the sale of Wolfson House. If you exclude these one-offs, our surplus represents a £9m increase on the previous year.

However, the reported results this year are substantially affected by how universities are required to account for recent changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) for pensions , which includes many of our staff as members. A formal valuation of the scheme in 2017 identified a national deficit of around £7.5bn. By accounting convention, we are obliged to make provision for our share of this deficit in this year’s accounts. As a result, UCL has increased the provision we hold by £254m to meet our USS liabilities, which will be paid down over the next ten years.

This accounting adjustment does not reflect UCL’s operating financial performance nor our day-to-day spending, which remains lower than our income. All employers participating in the scheme, including all the Russell Group universities, are recording equivalent deficits this year. UCL’s figure is proportionate to the number of our staff who are USS members. More information is available on page 8 of our Financial Statements.

Operating surplus (before movement on USS pension provision and unrealised gains on consolidation)

Our financial strategy sets out four key tests to assess our financial performance and our results for 2018-19 satisfy these measures, which are outlined in the financial statements.


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