Dunstan Thomas launches SSAS capability for Imago Administration

18 May 2021

New solution addresses challenge of administrating commercial property holdings in SSASs during Covid-19 market volatility

In response to increased market demand to streamline the administration of SSAS books over the last year, the retirement solutions specialist and fintech innovator Dunstan Thomas, formally launched Imago Administration for Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSAS) pensions today.

Imago Administration SSAS provides advanced workflow and straight through processing capabilities to enable professional trustees and scheme accountants to accurately track and report on key SSAS administrative processes including: Establishing a SSAS with HMRC, Cash Reconciliation, Contributions Management, Transfers In, Investments, Property Management, ‘Loanback’ management, Valuation, Regulatory Reporting, Document Management, VAT returns and more.

Establishing a new SSAS

Imago Administration helps manage the otherwise onerous process of establishing a new SSAS. It offers a built-in status tracker from: Preparing, through Validated, Approved (with HMRC), Open and Cancelled status stages. Imago Administration helps to ensure HMRC registered pension scheme information is attached to the new scheme including Pension Scheme Tax References (PSTR), VAT registration, PAYE references and members’ bank accounts.

Banking & Accounting controls

Imago Administration incorporates Accounting at the SSAS scheme level allowing users to assign accounts with a related bank account, accounts without a related bank account for control and memo accounts, financial transactions, including expectations to receive funds and straight through payments, as well as double entry and self-balancing bookkeeping.

Imago Administration supports use of sub accounts which allows for ringfencing of funds, payments and receipts interfaces to external banking systems and support for cash reconciliations between the bank and the system.

Cash Reconciliation

Imago Administration provides a sophisticated Cash Reconciliation capability, automated validation of transaction import files from the bank for any formatting errors or incorrect file controls. Imago Administration’s reconciliation service initially invokes the expectation matcher to determine whether expected receipts can be fulfilled based on preconfigured tolerances.

Where receipts meet the tolerances, automatic reconciliation occurs. The required financial transactions are generated along with the account posting entries. Work items are automatically generated for any bank accounts or Imago Administration accounts with unmatched items.

The importance of strong reconciliation checks and balances has increased for SSASs holding commercial property as some leaseholders have found it difficult to pay their rent as business dried up during the pandemic.

SSAS Property Management

Imago Administration SSAS Property Management provides workflow management to guide users through the property acquisition process, recording key information about that property including property leases, purchase date and price, buildings insurance details including broker information and expiry dates; environmental details, asbestos and other contamination issues, property valuations, rent escalations with review dates and break clauses.

It also holds relevant contact details for property managers, architects, solicitors, surveyors, and utility companies. An automated workflow driven process will identify and generate any rental invoices as well as managing rent collections and identification of rent due.

Unallocated Funds

Within a SSAS, it’s possible for an employer to pay a contribution but not immediately allocate the contribution to a specific member, yet let the funds still be invested. Imago Administration enables any value that is paid into the scheme (from investment growth) and not yet allocated to a specific member, to be held in a non-physical holding arrangement inside Imago Administration. This allows for funds to be invested, tracked separately and not attributed to a specific member’s asset allocation until required.

Imago Administration provides a fast and efficient method of determining the member asset allocation within a scheme. The information for this comes from full valuations of the pooled and earmarked investments, along with a record of all money movements that directly affects specific member allocations.

This sophisticated member asset allocation concept allows for the members’ scheme value to be tracked against individual arrangements for that member such as uncrystallised and flexi access drawdown funds. This allows for partially crystallised funds for an individual member and drip-feed drawdown capabilities to be offered.

Payroll Integration

Imago Administration SSAS provides a fully integrated payroll module designed to cater for unique options associated with pension payments. Payments to an individual can be made at various frequencies including monthly, quarterly, half yearly, annually, or ad hoc.

The system allows income to be taken across multiple pension arrangements and will keep track of the PAYE regardless of the frequency. Imago Administration supports multiple pay days per month using its built-in PAYE calculator. It supports multiple drawdown arrangements in payment and attribute income and PAYE deductions/rebates to each arrangement.

VAT Returns

Imago Administration captures information required for any VAT return when any transactions are completed. This information can then be exported from Imago Administration for easy completion of a VAT return to HMRC.

Paul Creighton-Williamson, Product Owner of Imago Administration at Dunstan Thomas explains: “Imago Administration SSAS benefits from the same robust, highly configurable workflow and process capabilities which already manages many SIPP, Scheme Pensions and Guaranteed Income books.

“This ensures that each workflow is managed, tracked and completed. All these controls, based on the four-eyes principles, provide the bedrock on which automation of many complex and changing pensions administrative tasks can be built. This can make the difference between running a SSAS book at a loss, and gradually improving margins even as new books of business are brought in.”