Don’t worry if you are an expat wanting to transfer your UK pensions to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) but the country where you live has no provider.
To be fair, the problem applies to around one in four countries as QROPS pension providers are based in 42 different places out of around 200 countries worldwide.
So you are not alone.
Any international IFA worth their salt can easily solve the problem.
These QROPS let expats live anywhere in the world except for the UK while keeping their pension based in one ‘home’ financial centre.
Typically, these QROPS are based in somewhere like Malta, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.
How third party QROPS work
The benefit to an expat is they can live somewhere without a provider or move between countries without having to uproot their retirement savings.
This can save a lot of money as transferring a pension every time an expat moves to another country can be hassle and expensive.
These third party pensions are popular with contractors moving around the world on short assignments – such as oil and gas workers who spend their resting time in places with a cheap cost of living, such as Thailand and The Philippines.
Third party QROPS are a good place to consolidate UK standard pensions – including SIPPs, personal pensions and workplace schemes.
Transferring to a QROPS allows retirement savers to benefit from lower charges, more flexible investments and tax advantages.
QROPS tax advantages for expats
All UK tax-relieved contributions can move into a QROPS – including employer pension contributions and any relief topped up by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
If an employer is offering a golden goodbye payment to encourage a retirement saver to leave a workplace scheme, the payment can go into a QROPS as well.
Once in a QROPS, funds grow without capital gains tax in the same way as UK pensions.
Tax on benefits depends on where a retirement saver lives.
QROPS offer 30% tax-free lump sums and pay in a range of major currencies. Benefits are paid gross and local income tax is applied – not tax at UK rate.