We very much welcome that these types of schemes have been recognised as not in the interest of pension members by the Pensions Regulator and action being taken against the perpetrators. We have been approached numerous times to comment on why we couldn’t offer a similar scheme.
Quite simply, these schemes allow members of pension schemes to have access to unsecured personal loans from their pension funds, which are usually repayable from their tax free cash sums that can be paid from age 55. We set out below a summary of how this was achieved:
Transfer of funds into a pension scheme;
- Funds from pension scheme used to buy preference shares in company A
- Company A then lend funds to company B
- Company B then lend funds to company C
- Company C then makes loans to the pension scheme members
As you can see this is an elaborate method of attempting to overcome the rules on early access of pension, facilitated by advancing personal loans to the members. This is the fundamental flaw as loans to members, directly or indirectly are expressly prohibited.
Our “Business Investor Loan” backed by Optimise does not seek to obtain early access of pension funds or seek pension’s liberation (as it is called in legislation). Its purpose is to use funds to invest in a business by two very straightforward methods;
- Firstly, the corporate loan facility has been one of the primary features of a SSAS since its inception in 1979. It has the advantage of offering a business a capital injection and also provides the SSAS with a well-designed investment; it is a recognised investment by the authorities and it is regulated by HM Revenue & Customs with reference to the following: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/rpsmmanual/rpsm07103050.htm
- Secondly, a SSAS or SIPP can invest or purchase any assets except for anything that is moveable or tangible (i.e. fine wine, antiques, works of art etc) or a property that is deemed to be residential. A traditional investment for a SSAS or SIPP is the purchase of the commercial property that is owned by its sponsoring employer, a particularly useful feature as this again provides funds to the employer. Optimise has extended this concept by promoting the acquisition of other company assets, notably its Intellectual Property, again allowing funds to be paid to the employer in return for a useful income-producing investment for the pension scheme.
We hope this demonstrates that these contrived schemes bear no relationship to our “Business Investor Loan” backed by the Optimise proposition. Optimise is designed to help companies understand the legitimate investment opportunities that are available, at the same time as protecting the assets of the pension scheme for the benefit of the scheme members.