What Can You Invest With A SSAS Pension?
What can you invest with a SSAS Pension?
SSAS (small self-administered scheme) offers flexible, tax-efficient pensions options for small business owners and company directors to invest their pension.
SSAS pensions are a form of workplace pension, they are usually set up by directors to increase retirement benefits and to create a custom-made retirement strategy. The benefit of SSAS is they offer greater investment flexibility.
SSAS pensions plans are sometimes referred to as “directors pensions”. This is because there are options, as a Business Director, to open the pension up to family members, who do not need to work for the company.
Like most pensions, SSAS is a trust fund, ring-fenced from the company and tax free. A member can start taking benefits once they reach the age of 55. Benefits at this point are available up to 25% tax-free lump sum. Members then have the option to have complete flexibility to how they draw their pension, including draw dawn or annuity.
In this article, we explain what you can invest into your SSAS pension, we explore the rules of SSAS pensions, information on where SSAS pensions can be invested and include some resources to help get you started with your SSAS investment research. To help save you time, use the links below to find what you need in the article:
Topics in this article:
- How to Invest with a SSAS Pension
- The Rules of SSAS Pension Scheme
- What can you invest with a SSAS Pension
- Resources to help get your SSAS Pension set up
The Rules of a SSAS Pension
SSAS rules include having a limitation of 11 members in any SSAS pension hence why it is called “small”.
SSAS pensions allow you to house assets within the trust and pass on to surviving members. They can be used as a method for a cash injection into the company by means of a “loanback”
How to invest with a SSAS Pension
Every SSAS provider will have its own terms and some will restrict certain areas of investment. Make sure you check your SSAS provider’s contract before attempting to invest. We also recommend you speak to a financial advisor before making any investment decision.
Once you have researched a chosen investment and sought independent advice, you can then contact your SSAS administrator who checks if the investment is eligible under HMRC rules and their contract before you can go ahead and make an investment.
What can you invest in with your SSAS Pension?
A SSAS can be used as a tax-free wrapper to fund the retirement of Scheme Members. You can invest in the typical investments other pensions can invest in and more besides. Below we list just some of the options open to SSAS investment.
Commercial Property including Industrial and Retail Units, Agricultural and Commercial Land
One of the most popular SSAS investments is purchasing commercial property and leasing back to the company. In short, SSAS property investment gives business owners the potential to buy their business premises. To many, this is an appealing option because it affords them the opportunity to lease the property back.
Leasing back commercial property through a SSAS does offer tax advantages. Firstly, there is tax relief from the contributions made to the SSAS to buy the premises. In addition to this, corporation tax can ultimately be lowered as the rent is an expense to the business.
Capital gains tax does not apply when selling property from a SSAS pension fund. However, selling an asset like this can take longer and is not always guaranteed to sell.
HMRC classes finished units of residential property as “taxable”, this means if you were to buy residential property directly through your SSAS you would be imposed with a hefty 55% tax levy on the amount invested.
Whilst it is not possible to hold residential property in a SSAS pension, it is possible to facilitate the purchase in other ways.
The SSAS loan back facility means you could loan back property or land of any type to your company if you are a property company. You will however need to factor in management and legal costs involved in owning property and land assets. Strict rules apply and you must check with your administrator.
You can act like a bank and led money to a third party property developer but again strict rules apply and you must check with your administrator.
Property Crowdfunding and Collective Property Investment
For those looking for property investment without the challenges of ownership, there is an option to invest in property through crowdfunding or collective property investment platforms.
For example, through online investment platforms like Brickowner, Asset Managers and property developers raise necessary funds for projects and portfolios. Investors select the projects that suit their risk profile, usually for terms over 2 to 3 years. The asset managers or developers then carry out the projects before selling or returning the completed project for a return.
There are risks involved and it is important to carry out your due diligence and seek independent financial advice before investing with your SSAS. Brickowner works with SSAS providers.
Stocks and Shares
Like other asset classes, investing in stocks and shares is free from capital gains tax when you invest with your SSAS pension funds. It is relatively straightforward and unrestricted to make investments into stocks and shares listed on a recognised UK or overseas stock exchange. These include Investment Trusts, Real estate Investment Trusts (REITs), and exchange-traded commodities.
Investing in unlisted shares has limitations. If you choose to buy unlisted shares, you can invest up to 5% of the fund value in the shares of the sponsoring company.
SSAS pensions can be used to loan funds to your company. This is called SSAS loan back. The loan will need to be secured on a first charge basis against an asset, whose value exceeds the loan value and total accrued interest within the term of the loan.
Useful resources for SSAS Pensions
For further information on the tax rules of SSAS investment, you can find the guidelines on the government website
HMRC contact information to help with any queries you might have with setting up or administrating a SSAS pension plan.
For details on the information, HMRC requires to set up and manage a SSAS pension