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Rowanmoor’s response to The Pensions Regulator’s proposal to ban SSASs

The Government’s pension scams consultation, which explored ways to prevent SSASs from being exploited by scammers closed on Tuesday 14 February 2017. Since then, there has been much debate in the financial press regarding the outcome of the consultation and any potential threat to the SSAS industry posed by it. It should be noted that the Government has not stated any timescales for responding to the consultation, nor implementing any actions arising from it.

Rowanmoor firmly believes that the SSAS industry will continue and grow, albeit this is likely to be with new regulations. SSASs have been hugely successful in meeting the twin needs of helping business owners provide for their retirement, while enabling them to grow their business; core needs in line with what we believe to be the Government’s vision.

New and appropriate regulations for SSAS will be welcomed as they will remove the blight of the scammers. Indeed, our view is that these must be implemented without delay, as they will give the whole pensions and advisory industry renewed confidence when establishing SSASs as an alternative, with real benefits over SIPPs, for the target market. They would also provide the necessary trust that would lift the delays to some pension transfers to SSASs from other pension schemes. These have suffered due to the threat of pensions liberation.

SSASs are recognised as offering real value to business owners, which, in conjunction with specialist providers, are seen as a more flexible business planning tool; stifling this opportunity will only serve to suppress economic growth. More particularly, restricting SSASs to trading companies only, or where there is evidence of earnings, could block the use of SSASs to aid start up companies.

We certainly do not believe that transfers to SSASs should be banned, nor should consideration be given to banning the establishment of new SSASs. Instead, there must be ongoing engagement with the industry to finding a practical solution to the issues set out in the Government’s pension scams consultation. There is general agreement in the responses to the consultation that greater regulation of SSASs is required. Rowanmoor is involved with both the Association of Member-directed Pension Schemes and the Association of Consulting Actuaries and supports their detailed responses to the consultation for greater regulation.

A simple and effective amendment would be to require an ‘authorised professional trustee’ to be appointed at establishment, to oversee the ongoing running of any new SSASs, which would make it difficult for scammers to circumvent the process, and protect the longevity of this specialist product.

Our ‘Takeover Factsheet – Why move to a Rowanmoor SSAS?’ gives an overview of our approach to SSAS administration; useful if you are considering moving an existing SSAS to Rowanmoor.

Please visit our SSAS Literature Library, or contact us if you would like further information on this service.

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