Chamberlain Property Co
 

Using Pension Funds to Invest in property - Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS)

 

A Small Self-Administered Scheme or a SSAS is a pension scheme normally set up by a limited company on a money purchase (or “defined contribution”) basis. Private and family run businesses set up a SSAS for the benefit of the owner, company directors and family members. The scheme is set under trust with fewer than 12 members.

Often a company will set up a SSAS with each director being a member and transferring in each of their respective pension funds into the scheme so as funds can be pooled together to pursue common investment goals often towards the business, like for example purchasing a business premises. 

Each member although pooling their funds together with their colleagues will be able to clearly see what percentage of a proposed investment their funds are allocated to.

With a SSAS being self-administered and being registered with HMRC this does bring the usual tax exemptions, but also setting up a SSAS can provide many advantages, such as:

  • Tax relief on your personal and business income
  • Company and personal pension contributions are deductible against tax
  • No income tax charge on allowable investments within the scheme
  • No capital gains tax due on disposal of investments
  • A tax-free lump sum on retirement
  • The ability to loan out funds
  • Funds are protected against creditors including in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation 
  • The ability to transfer other workplace pensions or assets into your SSAS
  • Tax free death benefits in the form of a pension or a lump sum on death before age 75*

 

*On attaining age 75 death benefits are taxed at the recipient's marginal rate of income tax.

 

Of course, HMRC still has rules and regulations laid down relating to each of these benefits.

Each member of a SSAS becomes a trustee meaning that they can invest into anything they like, but how can you use it to invest into property? You cannot directly buy residential property with a SSAS, however there are multiple indirect ways you can. With relaxed permitted development rights in the UK, you can convert old commercial property and develop it in to thriving new residential property directly purchasing from your scheme or lending money out to a developer that specialises in this.

You could then sell on the development providing a tax efficient return into your SSAS. This is probably one of the easiest SSAS property investments available as its easily repeated and can be a great way to grow your pension pot.

Alternatively, if you are looking to invest into property without getting your hands so dirty you can consider bridging finance to a property developer/professional. A SSAS allows you to issue "third party loans", this is a great way to earn passively in to your SSAS without the hassle of construction, solicitors or tenants. You would simply agree a fixed share of the profits or interest on a loan from your scheme and the rest lies with the developer. 

Another advantage of using a SSAS to make investments is that it is "ring fenced" from creditors should the company (sponsoring employer) run into financial difficulty for any reason. 

If you are interested in utilising pension funds to invest into property or to establish a SSAS please get in touch. 

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