Setting up a New SSAS is an exciting time, but a daunting process for many.
Thankfully, there is quite a lot of information available online and our What is a SSAS? page will help you to understand the basics.
Here at SSAS Reviews, we have developed a step by step process that can make the journey to creating an operational SSAS, run as smoothly as possible.
1) Do your homework
SSAS' are fantastic vehicles to provide for your Employee's retirement and are by far the most flexible type of pension in the UK, but they require careful planning and can also also involve active management.
Q. Who will be the intended Members?
Please bare in mind that a SSAS can only benefit from the Maintenance and Reporting Requirements when all Members are also Trustees, so any prospective Member must be able to be a Trustee.
Please also bare in mind that being a Trustee carries a great deal of responsibility. Please make use of the FREE training and assessment offered by The Pensions Regulator through their Trustee Toolkit. It doesn't take too long, is really helpful and it's FREE!
Q. How will the SSAS be funded?
If you're intending to fund the SSAS with Pension Transfers, it would help to give your current provider a quick call to make them aware of your plan and to request a copy of their Transfer Discharge Forms.
Q. What will the SSAS be investing in?
The range of possible investments is very large, but not all investments marketed by other SSAS providers are truly compliant and some investments must meet strict criteria in order to comply, so please get in touch and we can help you to get it right. If you're thinking about making a Loan or purchasing a Commercial Property with your SSAS, then please take a look at the following Questionnaires that have some useful guidance notes and please feel free to get in touch if you need a little help.
If you're thinking about holding a Trading Account within your SSAS, then please be aware that most providers will require an Independent Corporate Trustee to be appointed. We offer this service to all of the SSAS' that we provide Scheme Administration services to at no extra charge.
2) Find a Scheme Administrator
Since A-day (6th April 2006) it is no longer a requirement to have an Independent Professional Trustee (Pensioneer Trustee) appointed to a SSAS, but in many cases they do help and can add value.
At SSAS Reviews we try to offer our clients the full range of options. We can act as a Scheme Administrator, a Professional Trustee, a Scheme Practitioner (for those who want to Self-administer their own SSAS) or simply as an Adviser for adhoc queries.
From the information contained in the application, we will draft and issue our Letter of Engagement, standard Terms & Conditions and initial Invoice.
5) SSAS Establishment
Once we've been engaged and received payment of our initial fee, then we'll issue a Draft Trust Deed and model set of Scheme Rules to formally establish/create the SSAS.
Once the Trust Deed has been fully signed, witnessed and dated, then the SSAS has been established and we can move onto registering it with the appropriate authorities.
If the SSAS is a single Member single Trustee Scheme, then it's exempt from registration with the Information Commissioner's Office. If not, then we'll need to register with the ICO first (as soon as it's Established).
Please be aware that registration with the ICO carries an annual levy of £40 (with a £5 discount if paid by Direct Debit).
Then we (the Scheme Administrator) can move onto registering the SSAS with HMRC.
As part of their pre-registration checks, HMRC will require quite a lot of information, most of which is requested in the application forms, but they may also ask for additional information and evidence, which is why it's so important to follow a robust process and to truly plan a new SSAS.
Once the SSAS is registered with HMRC and it's officially a UK Registered Pension Scheme then we may also need to register it with The Pensions Regulator.
If the SSAS is only intended as a Single Member Scheme, then it will be exempt from registration, all other SSAS' must register and pay an annual levy (currently £29).
7) Bank Account
In theory, you could acquire an account in the name of the SSAS before registration, but from our experience it works best to apply after and when the SSAS is a UK Registered Pension Scheme.
The account can be provided by any UK Bank or Financial Institution, but must be in the name of the SSAS or 'The Trustees as Trustees of the SSAS'. Thanks to Pension Scammers and other unscrupulous individuals most banks will shy away from providing accounts to SSAS', unless they have a good relationship with the Sponsoring Employer.
As a company, we have a good relationship with Cater Allen Private Bank (part of Santander) who can provide a range of accounts to suite the needs of SSAS Trustees, but they will require SSAS Reviews to be a co-signatory to their accounts.
Being a co-signatory doesn't mean that we have sole signatory rights over the funds in the accounts, but does mean that any payments the Trustees wish to make must be countersigned by SSAS Reviews.
8) Funding the SSAS
When the SSAS has an active bank account, then we can apply for any pension transfers and the Employer or Member can make any contributions to fund the SSAS.
There are a number of different methods of making contributions into a SSAS and contributions can be made by a number of contributors, but by far the most common and in most cases the most tax efficient, are Employer Contributions for which we will require an Employer Contribution Form completing.
9) Making Investments
As per point 1) above, a SSAS can invest in a wide range of assets. Some are very simple, like the bank account from point 7), others are bespoke to SSAS' only and must meet a strict criteria in order to be compliant and to avoid substantial tax charges.
If you're thinking about making a Loan or purchasing a Commercial Property with your SSAS, then please take a look at the following Questionnaires that have some useful guidance notes and please feel free to get in touch if you need a little help.