Business First May-June 2017 Business First May 2017 - Page 15

MOREINFORMATION What is a SSAS? Over the same time period, its client base has risen from just over 120 schemes to more than 300, including some of Northern Ireland’s best­known companies, business men and women and high net worth individuals. This period of major growth was boosted by the firm’s move to its current offices. However, Allison explained SSAS Solutions had already been on the growth trajectory: “When we set up SSAS Solutions, there were only two of us working full­time on the business so we operated from a small rented office space. “This suited our needs at the time but it proved an inefficient way to spend company cash as rent ate into our profits, and such was the pace of growth, we quickly outgrew the office. “Our medium­term objective had been to purchase a property from which the business could operate and grow, but this soon became a short­term goal, due to the demand for our product. “Our office accommodation at the time was inhibiting further expansion as we were unable to recruit and storage was also becoming an issue. “We then used our own product – a SSAS – and by a combination of utilising accrued pension funds and new company pension contributions, we were able to purchase our own business premises. “The premises are owned by the pension trust and leased back to SSAS Solutions.” Tax shelter The arrangement means that Allison and Michael now own their business premises but have acquired them with the help of tax relief and as a result of the many tax advantages of the SSAS. The pension pot continues to grow as it accumulates rent tax­free from the leasing of the building back to SSAS Solutions ­ which also enjoys a tax deduction for the rent. As Michael explained, the strategy adopted is representative of the planning and advice offered to SSAS Solutions clients: “Clients come to us because they want to grow their business and are seeking efficient ways to do so while sheltering their profits from tax, and that is exactly what we have done with our own business. “There are numerous investment opportunities which become available by setting up a SSAS but the most common are to purchase commercial property or to secure a loan back to the sponsoring company. “It is not by chance that the purchase by the pension trust of our own property coincided with the beginning of a period of rapid growth for SSAS Solutions which has continued to the present day. “Our SSAS has been successful because the rent paid by the tenant (SSAS Solutions) is equivalent to an 8 per cent yield which produces a steady investment return for the pension fund.” Bespoke The scheme, and others set up by SSAS Solutions, has been particularly effective because it was tailored to the specific needs of Allison an