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What is a Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS)?

It is a Registered Pension Scheme with between 1 and 12 members, usually family members and/or business partners. There is usually a Principal Employer attached to the SSAS.

Who are the trustees?

  • All members must be trustees.
  • There is no need for a Professional Trustee, but we recommend there is one appointed to the SSAS.

Who can join?
Anyone, provided they are at least 18 (because they must also be a trustee). Even if there is a sponsoring employer, there is no need for them to be employed by that company.

Investments (other than property)

  • A SSAS can invest in anything, and most investments are wholly tax free on both income and capital gains (other than ACT payable on UK dividends). Some other investments are significantly taxed
  • Tax of 40%, 55% or even 70% applies on such as art, antiques and personal chattels.

Property investment

  • UK commercial property is tax free
  • Overseas commercial property may be subject to local taxes
  • UK residential property is allowed as a wholly tax free investment provided it is via a "suitably diverse commercial vehicle". This means it could be allowed in a unit or investment trust, REIT or an OEIC.
  • Overseas Residential property can be permitted, although there may be local taxes and legal issues with regard to ownership.


  • Up to 50% of the net assets of the SSAS can be borrowed for any purpose.
  • Any borrowing must be on commercial terms


  • Up to 50% of net assets can be lent to any employer that is linked to the SSAS either as a Principal or Participating Employer
  • A SSAS cannot lend to a scheme member
  • Any loan must be on a secured basis and for a maximum of 5 years
  • Repayments must be capital and interest, regular and be charged at a rate of at least 1% over base.

Unquoted Shares

  • If they are in a connected business, such investments are limited to 5% of net assets of SSAS
  • We would not recommend investment in unconnected businesses, even though there are no HMRC restrictions.

The value of units can fall as well as rise and you may not get back all of the amounts invested.
The tax treatment is dependent on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.

Trusts advice is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


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