Now well and truly post-RDR, when fees must be agreed upon in advance, SSASs are in a much better place.
Offering a wide variety of choice, as you will see in this year’s survey, SSASs are continuing on from last year and the schemes are still heavily in demand. In fact, the number set up last year grew by nearly 200.
The industry is not without its issues, though. Almost constant altering of rules surrounding tax and investment cause regular headaches for both providers and scheme members.
One topic that comes up often is that of self-service SSASs. Since the removal of the compulsory appointment of a pensioneer trustee on A-Day in 2006, there has been an increase in schemes without a professional administrator. Some providers have been calling for the appointment of a professional trustee to be made compulsory again. But would this perhaps take away from the ‘self-administered’ part of the name, leaving it as just a ‘small scheme’?
One thing has remained at the forefront of providers’ minds throughout the years: regulation.
There are increasing concerns that some schemes are not playing completely by the rules and are being perhaps unfairly suspected of facilitating pensions liberation. Others, meanwhile, are worried the schemes are not being regulated enough, although they are currently watched over by HM Revenue & Customs.
Many advisers may also be faced with the choice of either a SSAS or a Sipp when choosing pension arrangements for their clients, although there are benefits and drawbacks of each.
This special report looks at all these issues, at the market and asks where it will go next.