Small Self Administered Scheme  

Pension scam rules set to destroy Ssas market

The new protection measures also bring other problems, since HM Revenues &Customs (HMRC) will have powers to de-register a pension scheme that has a dormant sponsoring employer.

The new rules will come into force from 6 April 2018.

According to Nigel Bennett, sales and marketing director at InvestAcc Pension Administration, "corporate employers, dormant for a continuous period of at least a month in the one-year period prior to a de-registration decision will potentially be caught by this."

Rupert Curtis, group chief executive of Curtis Banks – which has a small Ssas business – explained that "there are a lot of genuine cases where these schemes will not have an employer behind it".

He said: “Maybe the employer has been sold, or maybe it has gone into liquidation."

InvestAcc's Mr Bennett said that the policy intention is to remove the abuse in the Ssas market, “where a new company is established and registered online for £12, with no intention of trading or actually employing anyone."

He said: “Scammers have taken advantage of a regulatory loophole which needed to be closed, although the government had other options available.”

Requiring member schemes to be regulated by The Pensions Regulator or re-instating the requirement for a professional trustee which existed prior to April 2006 were two other possible options that would tackle this issue, he said.

Curtis Banks' Mr Curtis said that one of the solutions for the hurdles caused by the new legislation would be to transfer to a self-invested personal pension (Sipp).

“They are very much identical products in most respects these days,” he said.

maria.espadinha@ft.com