Small Self Administered Scheme  

Why 2021 could be the year of the Ssas

Why 2021 could be the year of the Ssas

With more savers looking to small self-administered schemes (Ssas) as a retirement option, the Association of Member Directed Pension Schemes has claimed 2021 could be a good year for the product.

Although Ssas have historically been viewed as a problematic product susceptible to scams, more are choosing to see past these issues when they are planning their retirement, according to Claire Trott, chair of Amps.

But Ms Trott said this would only happen if advisers and clients are able to get schemes registered and funds transferred across in a timely manner next year.

Ms Trott said: “We saw delays in registrations in 2020 which could be down to the staffing issues we have all had to deal with in 2020 but we don’t want to see this going on into 2021.”

Richard Mattison, director at Whitehall Group, also said he expects to see a big increase in commercial property investment on the back of registration times improving.

He said a fall in prices should see properties snapped-up by “long term, discerning and well funded Ssas investors”.

Mr Mattison said: “2021 will, no doubt see a lot of hardship, a business is much better equipped with a Ssas to run alongside it and we expect to see advisers assessing their corporate clients early in the year if not already to determine who will benefit from this essential planning tool.”

Transfer delays

Advisers have also been experiencing delays in transfers of other pensions to legitimate Ssas, which Ms Trott said needs to be addressed this year.

She said: “We want good legitimate Ssas transfers to go through in the normal timescales of any other transfer. 

“Once the scheme is registered then it should be relatively easy to establish if the Ssas has a sponsoring employer that isn’t dormant, and the members are appropriately connected to the scheme.”

Delays to transfers can be detrimental to clients as if it takes too long to register the scheme and receive the funds, an investment opportunity could be lost. 

This could be even more of an issue if the whole purpose of the Ssas was to use the loan back facility. 

Ms Trott said: “It is clear that Ssas could be used for pensions liberation and scams as much, if not more than another pensions, but we must be able to find a way to make this work for the good of the end clients. 

“I feel that 2021 should definitely be focussed on the client, thinking about what is the best way to make their retirement saving journey easy and a positive experience. The client is why we all do this after all.”

FTAdviser previously reported that a higher level of due diligence has given way to "over the top" scam screenings which are causing these delays on transfers.

While the industry has recognised the importance of having protections in place, particularly at a time when scams are on the rise, providers say they should be able to take a proportionate view when all the parties involved are acknowledged leaders in the market.