It is permissible for a SSAS to invest in the shares of any company listed on a recognised stock exchange – e.g. FTSE, NASDAQ, ISEQ etc.
Shares listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) are also permissible.
In theory it is also permissible for a SSAS to invest in the shares of a private company. This can include the company which sponsors the SSAS (i.e. the establishing employer) however the maximum amount of investment is restricted to less than 5% of the net scheme assets – which rules out any significant level of investment for most schemes.
There are very strict rules surrounding this type of private company investment through shares and in practice it can be quite difficult to achieve as there are additional complex rules around investment in what HMRC deem to be ‘taxable property’ which can include some of the tangible assets of a company (i.e. plant, machinery, cars etc.) which may be taxable if owned by a SSAS, in certain circumstances.