SSAS Caught By Master Trust Legislation

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Some multi-employer SSAS may be deemed Master Trusts because definition in legislation is too broad.

The Pension Schemes Act 2017 introduces a definition of ‘master trust’ and those schemes deemed a master trust have onerous reporting requirements and need to be registered with The Pensions Regulator by October 2017.

A master trust is defined as an occupational pension scheme that:

• provides money purchase benefits
• is used, or intended to be used, by two or more employers
• is not used, or intended to be used, only by employers which are connected with each other
• is not a public service pension scheme

In most cases a SSAS cannot be classified as a master trust but where a SSAS has more than one sponsoring employer it may inadvertently become a master trust if the employers don’t meet the ‘connected’ definition. This is where the issue really lies. The definition of ‘connected’ only covers employers who are subsidiary employers and not ones that share the same board members. This inadvertently means where the two employers are running separate companies but those running the company are actually the same people, they would be deemed unconnected and hence caught by the master trust definition.

The majority of the reporting requirements will be irrelevant for SSAS so if possible those with multi-employer SSAS may wish to disassociate one of the employers from the scheme.

Representations have been made to the Pensions Regulator to see what can be done to avoid any unintended consequences of the legislation.

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