Standard Life has introduced the premier small self-administered scheme (SSAS), which is part of Standard Life's single charged occupational pension range.
This SSAS initially provides access to 20 Standard Life funds that cover areas such as UK equity, European, property, fixed interest, Far Eastern and ethical funds. There are also eight external fund links from Deutsche, Fidelity, Gartmore and Threadneedle.
Once a member of the schemes invest in this fund range, they have full control over the rest of their pension fund in a similar way to a self-invested personal pension (Sipp) scheme. Under Inland Revenue rules, the SSAS can invest in unit trusts, investment trusts, Oeics, gilts, quoted shares and commercial property. It can also lend money back to the small businesses, which may be useful if the business is looking to expand or to buy equipment.
AJ Bell's SSAS allows members to invest in anything that qualifies under the Inland Revenue rules from the start, without members first investing in a specific fund range. This makes it more flexible than the Standard Life SSAS. However, there is no loan facility with the AJ Bell SSAS.
The Standard Life SSAS could appeal to controlling directors of small businesses who are used to making their own decisions in their businesses and who want to also retain control over investment choice. They may use the loan aspect of the SSAS to buy property from which they can then run their businesses.