Please bring back the Pensioneer Trustee
One area I would ask you to review is the return to a mandatory pensioneer trustee for Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSASs). Up until A-Day on 6 April 2006, a SSAS was required to have a pensioneer trustee – a professional trustee approved and registered by HMRC – who was co-owner of all scheme assets and a co-signatory on all bank accounts. By being so was able to prevent abuse by members or unscrupulous advisers.
Since the withdrawal of the requirement to have a pensioneer trustee, there has been a steady increase in the number of schemes being poorly run on out-of-date rules that do not take account of the frequent changes in legislation.
In addition to this, the lack of an approved professional trustee associated with the scheme has given rise to many schemes being established as a means to gain access to unregulated investments that are wholly unsuitable for members and serve only to line the pockets of deceitful and unprincipled advisers.
As a result, there has been mention of strangling SSASs with overly restrictive regulation or even banning SSASs outright – which would be like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut!
SSASs still remain one of the most efficient means for owners of family businesses to save for retirement and, in addition, assist the business in its continued growth. All that would be required to bring this stalwart of pension products back in line would be the reintroduction of the compulsory requirement to have an approved pensioneer trustee working alongside the member trustees.
Paul Darvill is administration and technical director, Talbot and Muir