Small self-administered schemes (SSASs)
Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP
Small self-administered schemes (SSASs)

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Small self-administered schemes (SSASs)
  • What is a SSAS?
  • SSASs in pension legislation
  • Loans by SSASs
  • Borrowing by SSASs
  • SSAS investments
  • SSAS issues on a share sale
  • SSASs and pension scams
  • SSASs before A-day
  • Borrowing by SSASs prior to A-day
  • more

What is a SSAS?

Small self-administered schemes (SSASs) are usually registered pension schemes that are set up to provide defined contribution (DC) benefits to a small number of members (no more than 11), usually in the context of a small business (often family owned or managed). SSAS members may be key/senior employees and their relatives (even if the relatives are not employees themselves).

SSASs are usually trust-based occupational pension schemes and the trustees are often members of the scheme, although SSASs often employ an independent trustee. SSASs may be operated by insurance companies and other pension providers.

Contributions may be made to the SSAS by the members and/or the employer. As a registered pension scheme, tax relief on contributions is available. For more information, see Practice Note: Member and employer pension contributions—tax relief.

The assets of a SSAS are held in the name of the trustees and so are not individually allocated to members. Instead, members are deemed to hold a proportion of the scheme’s assets.

Before A-day (6 April 2006), when the current 'registered pension scheme' tax regime came into force, SSASs were a form of exempt approved occupational pension scheme that enjoyed the same tax advantages as 'standard' exempt approved occupational pension schemes but had several characteristics that meant they differed in several important respects from such schemes, in particular regarding