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Cost fears sparked by Govt SSAS rethink

The Government&#39s plans to clamp down on abuses by small self-administered schemes threaten to hit schemes with additional costs.

The Inland Revenue is revamping the rules governing pensioneer trustees of SSASs and is also tightening up on permitted investments in a bid to prevent trust-busting. The Revenue wants to stop investors transferring assets abroad to avoid tax after the removal of tax approval from a SSAS.

Schemes will have to appoint a new trustee immediately on removal of a former trustee. Schemes were previously given 30 days.

At a meeting two weeks ago, the Association of Pensioneer Trustees discussed the implications of the moves.

The APT fears that pensioneer trustees will no longer be able to resign from a scheme, a move which is used to force schemes to pay fees and place pressure on them to comply with investment criteria. The APT is urging the Revenue to allow 90 days to find a replacement.

APT treasurer Paul Smith says: "Resignation is a powerful weapon and it would reduce pensioneer trustees&#39 powers to take it away."

Many life offices fear that changes to the regulations will impose greater costs on SSASs.

Commercial Union pensions development director Iain Oliver says: "The action should clear up the trust-busting problem. But because a minority are abusing the system, the costs may be passed to clients."

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