Small Self Administered Scheme  

Investors expected to turn to Ssas for commercial property

Investors expected to turn to Ssas for commercial property

Providers expect more advisers to recommend commercial property and land investments using small self-administered schemes in 2020.

According to David Bonneywell, director at provider Talbot and Muir, last year saw a significant increase in the number of individuals opting to open a Ssas to facilitate their commercial property and land purchases, and this trend is expected to continue into 2020.

Mr Bonneywell said: “2019 will be remembered for a significant increase in new schemes purchasing commercial property and land together with seeing a continued interest in small self-administered schemes. 

“With enquiry levels at an all time high for property purchase within self-invested personal pensions and Ssas we remain very optimistic for 2020.”

Fellow personal pensions provider Dentons said it has also witnessed this trend despite Brexit curbing individuals' appetite to buy new property.

Stephen McPhillips, technical director at Dentons Pension Management, told FTAdviser despite political and economic uncertainty clients continued to establish new Sipp and Ssas arrangements for direct commercial property investment as well as other things.

Last year, as part of its half-year results to June 30, Talbot and Muir announced a 58 per cent increase in new Ssas business.

The firm attributed the growth to an increase in advisers using its services, who it stated had moved away from the platform market instead opting for an independent provider.

A cut in registration times could be another reason why Ssases have grown in popularity over the past year, it said.

HM Revenue & Customs changed its process for new pension scheme registration applications in 2013 an introduced additional measures in the following years, including a request for a letter of appointment signed by the scheme trustees in April 2018.

Following this advisers told FTAdviser the registration of new Ssases was taking more than three months.

But in 2019, this timescale was cut to weeks.

Mr McPhillips said: “Ssas providers saw HMRC new scheme registration timescales come down quite dramatically, meaning that timelines could once again be measured in terms of weeks rather than months.”

But he has previously warned that this may not be the case for all Ssas registrations as it can differ depending on the client. 

Mr McPhillips said: "We do not know the extent of the background checks that HMRC needs to undertake on any given new Ssas registration and so we alert advisers and clients to the fact that we cannot control that process, other than to comply in a very timely manner with HMRC's information and documentation requests, which can change."

amy.austin@ft.com

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