A SSAS is an occupational pension scheme with up to 11 members. It is set up under a trust that provides its members with flexibility and control to choose how their pension funds are invested.

How a SSAS works

To establish a SSAS, a sponsoring employer typically a limited company, is required. The company directors  will often be members of the SSAS. All members must be trustees and we recommend there are at least two trustees. A suitably experienced scheme administrator is necessary to run the scheme. The SSAS must be registered with HMRC. Contributions, transfer of existing pensions and borrowing are all ways of funding the SSAS to invest and build a retirement fund. The SSAS trustees jointly control the scheme and choose which assets to invest the pension funds into, deciding when to buy and when to sell. Any actions taken by the trustees are appropriate to the needs of the SSAS and subject to unanimous agreement of all the trustees. The assets that the funds are invested into are owned collectively by the members of the SSAS.

What you can invest in

You can choose to invest your pension funds into an extensive range of assets. Heritage Pensions will typically allow “standard’ investments as defined by the FCA, including:

  • commercial property;
  • quoted stocks and shares;
  • fixed interest securities, loan notes and gilts;
  • depositary interests;
  • investment trust shares and exchanged traded funds;
  • collective investment schemes;
  • bank deposits.

Heritage Pensions is not authorised to provide investment advice and recommends advice is sought from an appropriately qualified and authorised independent financial adviser.

Drawing benefits

The money you’ll get from your SSAS depends on:

  • how much has been paid in;
  • how investments have performed (they can go up or down);
  • how and when you decide to take your money.

You can access your pension funds from the age of 55. You don’t have to stop work when you make a withdrawal. There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Withdraw a tax-free lump sum from your pension fund.
  • Take a variable taxable income, known as ‘income drawdown’.
  • Take an uncrystallised funds pension lump sum (UFPLS).
  • Buy an annuity.
You can choose to pass on your fund in entirety to your beneficiaries in the event of your death, either as a lump sum or as an income over time.

How to contribute

  • Regular payments (by you and your employer)
  • Single payments (by you and your employer)
  • Transfer of funds from an existing pension.
  • In specie transfers from an existing pension i.e. shares or property.
  • Borrow money to purchase certain assets.
A SSAS can raise a mortgage to assist with funding the purchase of a property to be rented out, with the rental income used to fund the repayments.


Tax benefits

A SSAS has the same tax advantages associated with all pensions.

  • Tax relief on contributions (within limits)

    All contributions, whether paid by you or your employer, are paid gross. You can usually claim tax relief up to your highest marginal rate on personal contributions via your self-assessment return.

  • Tax relief on investment income

    Investment income, other than the tax credit on UK dividends, is free from UK income tax and capital gains tax.

  • Tax relief on benefits

    Up to 25% of your pension fund can be withdrawn as a tax-free lump sum from when you turn 55. In the event of your death, benefits paid to your beneficiaries are usually free from inheritance tax.