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Rowanmoor SSAS

Retirement Options

Lump sum payments
Flexi-access drawdown
Scheme pension
Lifetime annuity
Short-term annuity
Capped drawdown

The Rowanmoor SSAS offers members the widest choice of options available when taking their benefits allowing members to phase their retirement income, to suit their own circumstances.

SSAS members may start to take their benefits at any time from age 55. It may be possible to take benefits earlier in cases of serious ill health.

It is important members take advice from a suitably qualified professional before taking benefits, as the choices they make will affect both their retirement income and the level of contributions they can make to a pension scheme in the future.

The use of all or part of a fund to provide benefits from the scheme is called crystallisation.

A member does not have to retire or stop work in order to take benefits from the SSAS. Benefits may be taken in stages; the full value of the member’s fund does not have to be used to provide benefits at one time.

When a member takes benefits from the scheme, and again at age 75, the total value of their pension funds from the SSAS and any other pension arrangements they have will be tested against the current lifetime allowance. If the lifetime allowance is exceeded, there will be an additional lifetime allowance tax charge unless the member has obtained pension protection.

Lump sum payments

Uncrystallised funds pension lump sum

To crystallise all, or part of a member’s fund for immediate payment is known as an uncrystallised funds pension lump sum. This differs from flexi-access drawdown as the total fund crystallised is taken at once. Twenty five percent of the uncrystallised funds pension lump sum is paid tax-free, with the rest treated as earned income and liable to income tax. A money purchase annual allowance test is triggered when taking benefits this way. An uncrystallised funds pension lump sum is not available to members with tax-free lump sum protection, or rights to a lump sum of more than, or less than, exactly 25%.

Pension commencement lump sum

Normally, the maximum tax-free lump sum that can be taken is 25% of the crystallised fund used to provide pension benefits, up to the lifetime allowance. Therefore, the maximum tax-free lump sum is as follows:

Tax Years Maximum Tax-free Lump Sum
2017/2018 £250,000

Individual members may be entitled to more than 25% of the fund if lump sum protection, fixed protection or individual protection has been obtained. A financial adviser can explain this further.


Any pension taken from a member’s fund will be treated as earned income and is therefore liable to income tax.

Flexi-access drawdown

Members may draw an income from the SSAS through flexi-access drawdown. There is no restriction on the amount a member can take or on the frequency of payments. Following receipt of income from flexi-access drawdown a money purchase annual allowance test will be triggered.

Scheme pension

A Rowanmoor SSAS provides members with the opportunity to take benefits as a scheme pension.

A scheme pension is a secured income paid to the member for life. Unlike income drawdown, a scheme pension can provide a guaranteed income.

A scheme pension allows a member to receive an income direct from the SSAS. The SSAS provides a member with a set level of pension in return for their fund. The level of pension is calculated by Rowanmoor’s Actuarial Department and is designed to pay out the fund over the member’s expected lifetime. The amount of scheme pension payable is normally reviewed every three years and may vary, depending on the investment performance of the scheme assets.

If a member’s life expectancy changes, for example due to ill health, the Actuary can review the payment of the scheme pension to reflect any shorter life expectancy.

Please contact us for further details if a member is considering the scheme pension option. We recommend that the member seeks financial advice from a suitably qualified adviser before proceeding with this method of taking benefits.

Lifetime annuity

A lifetime annuity is purchased from a life assurance company. The annuity must be payable up to the member’s death, or the end of any guarantee period should the member die within this period.

The annuity may be level or incorporate annual increases and may also allow for dependants’ pensions to be paid after the death of the annuitant.

Short term annuity

A short-term annuity is purchased from a life assurance company and is payable for a term of no more than five years.

Capped drawdown

Up to 5 April 2015, income could be taken from a pension fund as capped drawdown. Under capped drawdown, pension payments are limited and have to be regularly reviewed to ensure they do not exceed the permitted maximum. If a member is already taking capped drawdown income they can continue to do so. Alternatively, members can convert capped drawdown funds into flexi-access drawdown, which will mean their income will not be subject to the capped drawdown limits and review requirements but a money purchase annual allowance test will be triggered.

This information relates to the Rowanmoor SSAS. If you would like to know more details regarding the information provided on this page please send your questions via the enquiry box on the right hand side or email us. Alternatively please visit our SSAS literature library.

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