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Universities Pension Scheme to invest directly in shit

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) manages the pension arrangements of around 400,000 university staff and it owns 20% of the shares in Thames Water.

Thames Water is ‘under financial stress’, which is insider speak for ‘basket case’. It has not paid a dividend since 2017 and is increasingly looking like a bad bet for pension fund money. The investment committee at USS admits that it has received generous dividends from the company in the past and that investing in water – an essential commodity – looked like a sure thing. They also admit that the shit has now hit the fan.

A spokesman said, ‘The company is supposed to deliver clean water and take away dirty water. How hard could that be? Very hard, apparently. 'Thames Water needs more money to keep going.  If they ask the existing shareholders for more cash, then they would all just fall about laughing.  Why would they throw good money after bad?  I don't see the Chinese, Arabian or Canadian investors falling for that.

‘The USS is also worried that the bad behaviour by Thames on sewage outflows, including poisoning the Oxford boat race crew, and shit on Britain's beaches, will bring the USS into disrepute. Accordingly, our advisors recommend selling the entire holding of Thames shares and investing the proceeds directly in shit. Shit is unlikely to pay big dividends, but then neither is Thames Water. At least the USS will have something tangible in return for its money.

‘We may not be able to pay full pensions to our members, but at least we can supply them with garden compost.’

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