With investment, your capital is at risk. Taxation depends on individual circumstances. Tax rules may change.
A SSAS is an occupational pension — usually defined contribution — that allows control and flexibility over where and how money is invested. For example, the trustees can invest in commercial property. SSAS pensions allow small groups of colleagues to invest together for their retirement goals. Read on to understand more about:
- How SSAS pensions work
- How your SSAS pension can help you
- Tax benefits
- What happens when you retire?
- Solutions to common SSAS problems
- How we can help you
- Frequently asked questions about SSAS pensions
How SSAS pensions work
All SSAS pension investments, underlying assets and investment decisions, including control of the investment account, are controlled by the trustees.
How do trustees know where to put investments – is this set out in the trust deed?
Yes. The trust deed sets out the rules of the scheme and lists the permitted investments. This list can be in addition to the permitted investment list issued by the SSAS provider or pension company.
What are the regulatory requirements for SSAS investments?
SSAS are allowed to hold any quoted shares, OEICS, ETFs and some unquoted and private company shares are allowed, but not residential property.
How your SSAS pension can help you
- More investment opportunities: SSAS pensions have a bigger range of investment options than traditional pensions. Members can pool their money, boost their buying power and choose from a wider range of investments including commercial property
- Greater control over contributions: trustees have greater control over how their contributions are made and how benefits are paid out in retirement
- Loan money back to the company: SSAS pensions can loan up to 50% of the pension’s net asset value back to the company (strict conditions apply)
- Borrow money: a SSAS pension can borrow money such as for the purchase of a commercial property for the company’s business premises. The company can then pay rent to the pension scheme, which usually covers any mortgage repayments
Tax benefits for SSASs are the same as for other types of pension schemes and include:
- Tax relief for both employer and employee contributions
- Inheritance tax can be waived for lump sum payments on a member’s death
- A 25% tax-free lump sum is usually available – you might get more than 25% depending on your circumstances
- Admin fees can be paid by the company and treated as a tax-deductible expense
- Tax-efficient investing: investments held in a SSAS pension can grow free from capital gains tax (the same as other pensions)
How do SSAS members calculate their share at retirement?
The SSAS trust deed sets out the rules for each member’s entitlement. A member’s share is calculated based on:
- How much they’ve contributed
- How long their contributions have been invested
- Investment growth and charges (if applicable) from their time as member
Can SSAS members take a lump sum at retirement?
Yes, SSAS members can usually take up to 25% as a tax-free lump sum. They can then flexibly take the rest of their share of the SSAS as income – as long as there is enough liquidity to do so.
SSAS pensions are complex; a lawyer is usually involved when one is established. Here are solutions for common SSAS pension problems:
- Chat to an expert – make sure you understand how a SSAS pension can work for your specific circumstances; typically, you will need a lawyer
- Look for cost-effective solutions – SSAS pensions are more expensive to run than a SIPP or other personal pensions
- Invest for growth – surplus income often accumulates in SSAS pensions, such as when rental income exceeds loan repayments. If this surplus income was invested and given an opportunity to grow, this could provide flexibility and liquidity at retirement.
The good news is after you have established a SSAS pension we can help you make the most of your SSAS investments.
How we can help you maximise your SSAS pension investments
You can invest how you want at Bestinvest with as much expert support as you like. It’s easy to maximise SSAS investments with our SSAS Pension Investment Account.
Our tiered service fees keep costs low – you won’t pay more than 0.4% in fees a year. It’s free to buy and sell funds and for non-fund investments (e.g. stocks and ETFs) there is a £4.95 dealing fee per transaction which is one of the lowest fees of all the major investment platforms. You can also keep your money in cash – ask about our cash interest rates.
Browse our huge range of quality investments including funds, shares, ETFs and investment trusts. Free expert resources such as our fund factsheets and fund and manager changes can help you make informed decisions.
And if you’d rather not choose your own investments right now, try one of our competitively priced Ready-made Portfolios managed by our experts – they also manage over £50 billion of other people’s money.
Frequently asked questions about SSAS pensions
What does “SSAS” mean?
SSAS stands for small self-administered scheme:
- Small refers to the size of the group of members (usually the trustees), although a professional trustee is also often appointed
- Self-administered means self-directed. As they are normally trustees, SSAS members have greater control and flexibility over pension investments such as the investment account and its underlying assets
- Scheme is another way of saying pension
SSAS vs SIPP: what’s the difference?
The main difference between a SSAS and a SIPP is a SSAS pension is an occupational pension for a group of up to 11 people, while a SIPP is for individuals. Both offer flexibility and control over retirement investments.
Can I consolidate my other pensions into a SSAS?
Yes, you can usually transfer and consolidate your other pensions into a SSAS. Before transferring though, you should look at costs, existing benefits and other considerations to see if such a move is right for you. If in doubt, you should seek professional advice.
The value of an investment may go down as well as up and investors may get back less than originally invested.
Prevailing tax rates and reliefs depend on individual circumstances and are subject to change.