When you start making decisions about your future and looking into retirement options, the idea of a global QROPS seems overwhelming. We’re here to let you know that there are resources available to help you make the decision and we’d love to help you with your decision making.
There are some important first steps that you can take before approaching a financial advisor, including getting valuations on your transfer value. But if it seems overwhelming there is no cost to setting up a meeting with an accredited financial advisor to explore your options.
A financial advisor can help answer some of the important questions that you might have about your retirement funds including:
1. Can I Transfer My Pension?
2. Should I Transfer My Pension?
3. Is A Final Salary Pension Transfer An Option?
The HMRC has laid out stringent qualification criteria, and in order to offer the service, the scheme needs to apply to, and be approved by, the HMRC. In 2012, additional criteria were added which lead to a shift in the popular choice of offshore jurisdictions. Where previously Guernsey was a leading choice, an increase in taxes levied on transfers meant that the country was no longer a competitive choice. Since then Malta and Gibraltar have become popular alternatives.
The scheme has become increasingly popular with British expats due to the investment flexibility and tax advantages when drawing benefits that it offers. There is also a degree of currency flexibility that is appealing. Many retirees also state the ability to transfer their benefits to their chosen beneficiaries on death as their primary motivation for going ahead with a transfer. An overseas transfer reduces the inheritance tax liability substantially as funds left in the UK are taxed on income at a rate of up to 45% and on death (after the age of 75) at 45%.
When the QROPS list was updated in April 2015, the “Qualifying” tag was dropped. This has led to the list now being known as ROPS – Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes list. The reason for this was to add clarity as schemes on the list may not may not be qualifying. It is important to note that many of the Australian and New Zealand Kiwisaver schemes were delisted. This was done as they did not meet the new statutory requirements. Most notably, that an overseas scheme cannot be accessed before the retirement age in the United Kingdom.
There is a lot of inaccurate information on transferring schemes, which jurisdiction to transfer your plan to (including QROPS Australia and QROPS USA) but it’s quite easy to navigate the HMRC website to get the basics including a QROPS list of approved jurisdictions and plans that is regularly updated. This list includes all the schemes that have consented to have their names published.
It is important to note that the HMRC requires schemes to report to them any payments made to members. This is in place for at least ten years from the date of the transfer. An important exception to this is if the plan holder has been non-UK resident for five complete tax years. If this is the case, then they can benefit from more attractive options than those allowed under traditional retirement plans.
A QROPS is likely to suit individuals with UK citizenship who who have left the UK to emigrate permanently and intend to retire abroad having built up funds in the UK for retirement.
A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme is a pension scheme established outside the UK which complies with HMRC regulations.
Introduced in April 2006, it enables individual plan holders, in certain circumstances, to transfer funds from a UK pension scheme into an overseas scheme.
If it’s tax savings and greater flexibility you’re looking for, you’ll find it here: