Should I stay or should I go now?
Qrops were originally created as part of the UK pension rule changes in April 2006 for ‘pension simplification’. They allowed Individuals to transfer their pension savings to a registered scheme based outside the UK that still met requirements laid down by HM Revenue & Customs. However, for the past few years the number of transfers to qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (Qrops) has continued to fall due to several factors.
The biggest of these came in the UK Budget of Spring 2017 when the then chancellor Philip Hammond, announced that transfers would be subject to a new overseas transfer charge from midnight the same day. This essentially meant that all transfers to non-EEA based scheme members would be subject to a punitive 25% penalty from the transfer value proceeds (the only exception being those non-EEA based where both member and scheme were in the same country).
While Qrops rule changes have progressively seen their potential benefits for expat members eroded to mainly just lifetime allowance planning opportunities, The UK pensions over the same time have been boosted by progressive rule changes. Especially the unexpected ‘Pension Flexibility & Freedoms’ for UK money purchase schemes that UK chancellor George Osborne announced in the Spring Budget of 2015.
Sipps (self invested personal pensions) were well placed to meet the demand as well as much of the drop off in the Qrops transfer market. However, for the expat client there was still a barrier due to the fact that most providers would only deal with UK advisers and/or clients when it came to transfers in.
International Sipps can now offer a real alternative.Although called ‘International Sipps’ it should be noted that these schemes are UK-registered pension schemes but with the benefit of working for both expat clients and advisers.
With online technology readily available via offshore investment platform providers the good news is that expat clients can now easily access a cost-effective International Sipp from a single provider with a simplified scheme/investment solution that offers a more efficient and automated error-free experience instead. An added bonus being that fees are typically 50% of those charged by Qrops schemes.
If you are not aware of all the recent pension changes or are just considering all your options you may well need the advice of a reliable and highly regulated Financial Adviser who understands the complexities of establishing yourself in a different country and maybe even having to do it all over again when you return home?
If so please email us : [email protected] for further information.