Tighter controls are needed to prevent SSAS being used as pension liberation vehicles.
Dentons' director of technical services Martin Tilley says the firm has seen an increase in SSAS inquiries in recent months.
Recently set up companies are setting up SSAS arrangements and getting rid of scheme administrators so there is no professional entity involved with the scheme. The company directors then act as trustees to the SSAS.
"SSAS are a prime target for pensions liberation as there is no legislative catch to stop the company directors from doing whatever they want to do," says Tilley.
"When we get enquiries through it's worth going on to Companies House website to check the company name and do a search on company directors while these people are still on the phone. If you see the company has been set up in the last two months then you could be looking at potential pensions liberation."
Carey Pensions UK managing director Christine Hallett agreed this was an issue and also pointed out that SSAS are being used to fraudulently access loan backs and unregulated investments.
"The pensions liberation issue is out there and The Pensions Regulator are starting to get wind of it," she said. "As there are no professional entities involved with the SSAS it is also difficult to see what they are doing in terms of loan backs and unregulated investments."
Whitehall Group director Richard Mattison said the issue could be dealt with by introducing a requirement for SSAS to have a professional scheme administrator registered and approved by The Pensions Regulator.
AMPS chairman Andrew Roberts agreed some degree of professional supervision is needed but also believes rules on setting up an occupational scheme need to be tightened up.
"We should explore putting rules in place to say pension schemes should only be set up for trading companies and you can only join the scheme as an employee of that company," he said. "Some degree of supervision is definitely required."
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