We’re delighted to report that, at long last, pension cold-calling has been made illegal from 9th January 2019 in an attempt to tackle pension scams. SSAS Practitioner.com thoroughly applaud this ban, particularly as it has been introduced whilst leaving the flexibility offered by SSASs in tact. As explained in previous newsletters, SSAS Practitioner.com spent considerable time replying to the government’s consultation on this issue and subsequently liaising with them. We would like to thank our clients who also replied and joined us campaigning to retain the status quo for SSASs whilst tackling the fraudsters undertaking cold-calling.
Companies will no longer be able to make unsolicited calls to clients regarding their pensions. Those that break the rules could face enforcement action from the Information Commissioner's Office, including fines of up to £500,000.
The ban covers all cold-calling relating to pensions, including from legitimate firms, but is primarily intended to target fraudsters. Cold-calling is one of the most common methods used by pension scammers and, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), victims of pension scams lost an average of £91,000 each last year.
SSAS Practitioner.com Limited commenced trading in March 2010. Since then we have developed into a successful small company with a reputation for top-class customer service and excellent value for money. Our innovative, fully inclusive annual fee has proved to be particularly attractive and we now have over 1,150 clients and over £220 million of assets under administration. Uniquely, we pay your scheme’s annual fees with the Pensions Regulator and Information Commissioner’s Office from the fee.
From 2010-14 there was no increase in fees. Then in March 2014, fees were increased by the rate of inflation over the previous four years and at the same time we promised that there would be no further increases for another three years. In March 2017 the fees again rose by the rate of inflation to the current fee of £945 pa + VAT and again we promised that there would be no increases for another three years, provided the nature of our business remained essentially the same. Unfortunately, over the last two years we have been subject to significant increases in costs due to increasing HMRC bureaucracy, the introduction of GDPR, the government’s Pension Scam Consultation and introduction of Legal Entity Identifiers to name a few. Regrettably, therefore, the fee will have to rise a year earlier than we intended. However, the rise will again only be in line with inflation.
Thankfully, inflation has not been particularly high over the last two years (up by 6.2%) and therefore the annual fee will again increase by only £50 (slightly less than inflation) to £995 + VAT for all new set-ups and renewals from 1st March 2019.
We fully appreciate that this will not be hugely popular with our clients, but we are confident that despite this increase we will remain by far the best value SSAS provider in the UK. Furthermore, we are acutely aware, as a small business ourselves, that all businesses do best when they can plan ahead financially with some confidence. We will therefore do our best to ensure that there will be no further increase in the annual fee until March 2022 provided, again, that the nature of our business remains essentially the same. In which case the rise will, as has always been the case with our fees, however only be inflation based.