Mon 22 May 2023

SIPP and SSAS trustee changes - keeping titles up to date

With the introduction of the Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (in terms of The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 (Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land) Regulations 2021) we are seeing many SIPP and SSAS trustees (who could be affected by this legislation) checking their title deeds to ensure that they are compliant with the new rules.  This has led to a number of trustees considering whether, in the event there have been changes in trustees within the SIPP or SSAS, it would be beneficial to make changes to the title deeds.


Furthermore, in Scotland certain transactions will require that the current trustees are infeft in the title (in other words registered or recorded as owners or tenants in the relevant property register) and this also leads trustees to consider if they should currently be updating their titles. The steps involved in updating a title depends on whether trustees are resigning or whether new trustees are being assumed. If there have been trustees removed from the SIPP or SSAS scheme set up and the title needs amended this can be dealt with by an application to the Land Register of Scotland (for registered titles) to remove that trustee. However, if there are new trustees appointed a conveyance will need to be carried out to ensure these new trustees can be registered in the Land Register and all of the trustees noted on the title will require to convey to the new trustees.

Not only is this relevant when there are appointments of new individual co-trustees for a SIPP or a SSAS but also if the professional trustee is to change (the latter often being by way of an in specie transfer or as part of a SSAS takeover).

In these cases, the current position in Scotland is that assuming no chargeable consideration is given, such transfers will not attract Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

The timing of when to register any new trustees is therefore a question to consider in each individual case. It could be prudent to do this as soon as a new trustee is appointed which would then ensure that all parties are available to deal with a conveyance at the same time as executing any deeds of removal and appointment. However, with a cost element involved in dealing with the conveyance for any new trustees appointed (including payment of registration dues) we often see this left to be dealt with at a later date (when for example a transaction requires that the current trustees are infeft). This can of course lead to issues if the previous trustees are not readily available (or in the case of companies no longer in existence) and there is a time pressure to update the title. As such this aspect should always be given consideration when trustees in a SIPP or SSAS change. 

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