But they can be a useful tool, particularly for small businesses. Targeted at company directors, they allow trustees to take control of their own pension scheme and investment decisions. In addition, their ability to facilitate business lending to the sponsor company makes them a handy funding option when credit availability elsewhere is poor. There is a multitude of choices, as shown in our unique survey of 43 SSAS providers.
SSASs are not without their problems, however. As explored in this special report, there is an increasing number of schemes without a professional administrator. Although perfectly legal, it means people without pensions expertise are taking full control of running their own scheme. This is no problem if they stay within the rules, but if they get something wrong, a chargeable event may occur and fines become payable. The more frequently this happens, the more likely it becomes that HMRC’s attention will be drawn.
The constant changing of regulation and legislation does not help. With regular changes to wider pensions rules, keeping within the lines is enough of a headache for providers that know pensions inside out, never mind those who don’t really know what they’re doing.