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What Is A SIPP, A SSAS And Where Does My Property Lawyer Come In?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Your pension is one of your greatest assets.

It is the investment that most pay into for the majority (if not all) of their working lives, as such it is important to consider all of your available options to maximise your pot. One often-overlooked way to do this is by placing commercial property into your fund.

There are a few possible ways to structure this. The following paragraphs give a general idea of routes you may consider, however it is imperative that you seek specialised tax and financial planning advice before making any decisions. The purpose of this article is to show how our Legal 500 recognised Commercial Property Team at Wilson Browne Solicitors can assist with the property legal work should you go down this route.

One of the most popular options is to invest in your own business premises and move it over to your fund. This setup essentially creates a situation where your pension fund owns your business premises and becomes your Landlord. Whilst you are still technically a Tenant, you are effectively paying rent into your pension rather than to a 3rd party. The rent is also still a deductible expense for corporation tax purposes, helping you to cut your business’ tax bill here as well. Our role in this scenario would be to act for the SIPP or SSAS (as explained later in this article) in the acquisition of the premises and then the grant of a lease back to the company.

There can be tax benefits in relation to Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax, but this is a point to explore further with your financial advisor and tax specialists.
If purchasing your premises outright is not a feasible option, you could also consider doing so alongside other directors or partners in your business. There is no reason why multiple pensions cannot jointly purchase a commercial property for these purposes. Alternatively, you could look to purchase your property jointly with your company, or with any other interested third party. More lenders are also now starting to look at SIPP lending, whereas historically there used to be very few “players” in the market.

The next decision to make is which of the UK government-approved pension vehicles to use to facilitate the process. Again specialist advice should be sought, but to simplify things you can use a ‘SSAS’ or a ‘SIPP’.

A SSAS is a Small Self Administered Scheme. These are occupational pension schemes, used more exclusively by company directors that give greater control over investment decisions relating to the pension. A SIPP is a Self-Invested Personal Pension. These are personal schemes that are open to anyone and are set up by insurance companies or specialist SIPP practitioners – they often have higher costs but give further investment options.

After taking specialist financial advice and deciding which route to take – we can then step in to assist with the property legal work involved. We pride ourselves as experts in this niche area and hold a wealth of experience with SIPP and SSAS transactions. If you are considering this route communication with both financial advisors as well as professional and personal trustees is key.

In terms of pricing, we use our experience to ascertain the exact scenario you require our assistance with to include;
• what premises are being bought whether already owned by you or third party
• whether an existing lease or a lease back to your company
• how it is financed
• if there is a lender which one
• who the professional trustees are and typically what their requirements are etc.

Taking into account all of these factors enables us to tailor a realistic fee quote from the outset.

If you would like to find out more, get in touch with our Commercial Property team now. After all, we are All the help you need.

Emma Oliver


Emma Oliver

Senior Associate

Emma is a Solicitor and an Associate with 6 years experience. She also acts in sale and purchase transactions for commercial clients, regularly acting for developers and housing associations. A member of the Legal 500 recognised Commercial Property team.