What is a SSAS?

A Small Self Administered Pension Scheme is an employer sponsored 'money purchase' pension scheme that offers increased investment flexibility.

How do they work?

Small Self Administered Pension Schemes (SSASs) are set up to provide retirement benefits for a small number of a company's directors. They can be open to all employees and their family members and the number of members in the scheme is normally limited to 12.


Company contributions paid to the scheme receive relief from Corporation Tax. Member contributions are also permitted and receive relief from income tax under current rules. Transfers from other arrangements can also be made to the scheme. 

The Benefits of a SSAS

One of the major benefits of a SSAS is that it can offer the scheme members greater flexibility on where the assets can be invested. A SSAS may allow investment  in assets that might not be available to traditional pension schemes. For example, within a SSAS it is possible to:

  1. Purchase commercial property which can subsequently be leased back to the company (or to a third party).
  2. Make a loan to the scheme sponsoring employer.
  3. A SSAS allows the trustees to take a mortgage to assist with the purchase of commercial property possibly even the company premises. The mortgage repayments may then be financed, in all or in part, by the rental income that the company pays the SSAS.

Furthermore, the SSAS is an HMRC registered scheme and therefore benefits from the normal tax advantages available to pension schemes such as:

  1. Company contributions are deductible against corporation tax.
  2. Member contributions receive income tax relief at the member's highest marginal rate.
  3. No income tax is payable on investment income. 
  4. No capital gains tax is payable on disposal of investments.
  5. A tax free lump sum at retirement (currently from age 55).
  6. A tax free lump sum payable to beneficiaries on death before 75.