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Self Administered / Self Invested

In the last few years there have been huge changes in the pension legislation which have made small self administered schemes and self invested funds much more attractive. If you wish to use your pension to purchase a property, invest in shares, or just have a more active role in selecting your pensions assets, these schemes are worth considering.


There has been a drastic amount of change and development in the pension sector of the last few years, the majority of it has swung in favour of the Directors of Small and Medium sized businesses. Small Self Administered schemes or Trusts (SSAT’s) have been around for what seems forever but have only started to become flexible in the last few years. This is giving the opportunity to those who have a SSAT to purchase property through their pension. Since this change SSAT’s have gained momentum fairly rapidly due to the obsession we Irish have with property.

SSAT is the perfect choice for a director running his or her own business as it gives a good choice for tax efficient financial planning and also the director then has the hands on approach not only with his or her business but now with their pension.

History & Facts

  • Self Directed Pension Trusts are established under the terms of chapter 30, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997.
  • The trust may only be accessed by the beneficiary.
  • There are limits to contributions related to Age and Income.
  • The individual signs all transactions in relation to pension with the pensioner trustee and this is where he or she has control of the pension.
  • Investment is not permitted in antiques, fine art, vintage cars and similar forms of alternative investments.

Key Advantages of a Small Self-Administered Scheme

  • The pension is controlled by you, within certain parameters, to invest in assets of your choice. All fees are outlined from the start so there are no hidden charges and all fees are tax deductible.
  • All investments grow tax – free and are exempt from Capital Gains Tax.
  • Investment expertise is not necessary and the director can have as much of a hands on approach as he/she wishes or they can go the other way and have as much of a hands off approach as they wish.
  • There is no obligation for transfers to remain the same as they can vary to suit the company’s financial circumstances.
  • All trust administration is done by the pensioner trustee.

How much can I/the business contribute?

There is full tax relief on both corporate and personal contributions within limits. Maximum for Normal retirement age NRA 60 – Illustrative.

Age Next Birthday Funding as % of Initial Salary
30 109.75%
35 122.49%
40 142.12%
45 176.16%
50 248.83%
55 505.39%


  • 10 years service to NRA.
  • 5% salary increase and 6% fund growth Per Annum.
  • No existing benefits.
  • Management charge of 1%.

Investment Options

The are a wide variety of choice depending on areas of personal interest including Property, Private Company, Equities, Gilts, Tracker Bonds, Deposits, Investment Funds, etc.

Investing in Property

There is certain criteria introduce by revenue that have to be adhered to for property investment:

  • The vendor must be at arms length from the scheme and employer including its directors and associated companies.
  • The purpose of acquisition is not for disposal or letting to the employer, including directors or associated companies.
  • Must have adequate liquid investments to meet liabilities.
  • The acquisition and development of the property with a view to its disposal is not regarded as a tax exempt investment.
  • The acquisition of property for personal use (rather than for investment purposes) is prohibited.

Once the above criteria has been met then the scheme can invest in any type of property in the world form residential to office or even an industrial building.

Investing in Shares

  • Choice of broker.
  • Choice of any regulated broker in Ireland, UK, US or further afield.
  • An account is opened with this broker in the name of the pension trust.
  • Funds transferred to the broker to commence investing.
  • Dividend income and CGT are tax – free.
  • At any time you can switch from this investment to another such as property.

When Funds can be accessed?

  • From age 60 onwards or from anytime from age 50 once you retire early, or at any age if you retire due to ill health or on death.
  • Once you retire you will receive 25% of the fund value tax – free, the remaining fund value is available to draw down but is subject to income tax in the normal way.
  • The balance can be used in one or more of the following ways:
    • Full encashment subject to marginal rates for income tax.
    • Annuity purchase.
    • Transfer to ARF(Approved Retirement Fund).

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