From April 6, 2006, new pensions regulations in the UK have allowed expats to transfer their UK private pension rights overseas.
This option is available regardless of nationality provided you have settled permanently outside the UK. In some cases those still living in the UK can also transfer their pensions overseas if they are planning to settle outside the UK.
QROPS, or qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes, are the only option for transferring UK pension benefits outside the UK.
QROPS offer considerable financial and personal benefits to expats including the ability to mitigate and even eliminate tax on your pension income. QROPS also allow complete freedom to choose beneficiaries to your residual pension fund, whereas beneficiaries of UK based pensions are often restricted to a narrow group of ‘dependants’. Some of the other benefits available through QROPS transfers are:
- Ability to diversify away from British pounds
- Potential for legitimately avoiding UK Inheritance Tax and other pensions charges on your pension fund
- Greater asset protection for your pension fund
- Wider range of investment options and more personalised investment management
- More flexibility in selecting your income level with no requirement to purchase an annuity
Although QROPS can offer significant measurable benefits for many if not most expats, a QROPS transfer of UK pension rights may not necessarily be appropriate for everyone. QROPS regulations are based entirely on UK law and practice and so we would always strongly encourage anyone considering an overseas pension transfer to consult with a professionally UK qualified financial adviser.
More information on QROPS can be found at the QROPS Bureau
For advice on planning your QROPS transfer please email us.