What’s the difference between a SIPP and a SSAS?

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Investing in a SIPP or SSAS can provide you with considerable control over where your retirement funds are deployed, allowing you to access returns from a multitude of asset classes. 

Like typical pension plans, both provide substantial tax advantages, with tax relief starting at 20% for basic rate taxpayers. However, there are distinctions to be made. We’ve summarised the key differences to help you decide which pension plan is right for you. 


You can read our dedicated post on SIPPs here.

A SIPP or Self Invested Personal Pension, SIPPS can be opened by any UK resident over the age of 18 and are administered by specialist SIPP providers. A SIPP might be suitable for you if you want to take control over your pension plan and are comfortable making your own investment decisions. 

SIPP administrators have a duty of care to carry out due diligence on all investments allowed within your SIPP. 

Features of a SIPP. 

  • Provide you with the opportunity to make your own investment decisions and manage your own pension pot. 
  • Open to any UK resident over the age of 18
  • Managed by a specialist SIPP administrator. 
  • Personal Pension Plan.


A SSAS or Small Administered Pension Scheme is typically set up by directors of a business. Like SIPPs, SSAS provide members with discretion over how their pension funds are invested. 

SSAS schemes are especially popular with company directors. Directors can raise funding through the SSAS scheme by lending to the sponsoring employer (their company) or by buying its shares.  With the tax advantages of a SSAS scheme in mind, raising funds through a SSAS could be an attractive source of financing. 

Features of a SSAS. 

  • Provides members with the opportunity to make their own investment decisions.
  • Typically employed by company directors.
  • Can lend to & invest in the equity of a company.
  • A company pension scheme.

SIPP & SSAS Comparison Table

Setting up a SSAS or SIPP

If you would like to set up a SSAS or SIPP, you should speak to a financial advisor who can determine if the scheme is right for you. 

WiseAlpha allows you to gain exposure to the senior secured and high yield bond market with your SIPP. The senior secured & high yield bond market is dominated by large pension funds, highlighting the attractiveness of the asset class for self-investing pension investors. You can read more about investing with WiseAlpha through your SIPP and our partner providers here. 

Find out more about investing with WiseAlpha. All factual information true at the time of publishing.

Capital at risk, instant access not guaranteed. No FSCS protection. Saving for retirement requires careful consideration. Please note that WiseAlpha makes no recommendations or statements on behalf of any of the providers; nor do we provide any guidance or advice to investors on how to choose their provider.