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International Financial Planning - 24 April 2014 Geraint Davies, Managing Director of Montfort International, the Surrey based advisory firm specialising in international financial planning, predicts that more and more attention will be given by regulators around the world to misleading websites that purport to offer expert advice on transferring pension funds out of the UK. He says “The internet is awash with panic stories that UK pensions are finished. So if you do take ‘advice’ make certain you know exactly who you are dealing with. If you are lucky you might be one of the few who get an advice letter, most just get promises of very high and improbable investment returns. We recommend that you always ask for an advice document before proceeding with any investment and if you do get one always read it very, very carefully. These documents are not always what they seem to be, as offshore UK advisors deliver very different and much more liberal illustrations to those mandated of a UK advisor”. It seems few advisors concentrate on supplying an upfront advice document as too often expats are asked to sign a proposal form before there is even a ‘reason why’ for proceeding document supplied. These documents are often nothing more than a statement of what you have just been sold with little reference to the suitability. What will come as a surprise to many is that the trick of selling a product this way has become all too often a practice in Australia. “Recently we have seen a proliferation of Statements of Advice which if you read carefully you will see are just disclaimer letters dressed up in often glossy reports. When you get to the words that matter you will find terms such as “you have decided to transfer your pension to Australia because of a six month tax free window” or “that you want your pension in Australia” or “that you will be taxed in Australia every year if you don’t transfer your pension”. On close examination you will find that what these terms are really saying is that you didn’t actually decide it was just that you were told it was an option, not that there were lots of other options. And as regards the six month tax free window, what you wouldn’t have been told is that doesn’t really have that much of an impact and as for the annual tax it was removed years ago.” It’s all about trying to get to funds under management and not your best interests. The message is clear that this complex subject is no reason for you to sign your pension away based upon out-of-date tax rules and suspect sales practices and misleading disclaimers. Little wonder the UK has made it mandatory for final salary scheme transfers over £30,000 to have UK opinion delivered using a UK advisor using UK advice processes regardless of which country you live in. Which means that only those who have permission by the Financial Conduct Authority to advise on such matters can opine. In reality this means the rules are being tightened to protect consumers and, as a consequence, overseas advisors will need to work with UK advisors whether they like it or not.  Friday, 24 April 2015 14:38
Chancellor’s Autumn Statement – QROPS - 8 December 2014 When the Chancellor delivered his Autumn 2014 statement to Parliament it was thought there would be some clarification as regards pensions and Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS). There was no mention. The UK and International financial services profession were expecting and hoping for clarification as regards how QROPS are to be treated from the start of the 2015/16 UK tax year. It is already widely known that UK pensions are becoming more flexible next UK tax year as regards freedom and choice of options. However, strangely, QROPS were left out of the Chancellor’s statement. Nevertheless we can see that the pendulum has swung against those who mass market QROPS and many migrants will see the decision more finely balanced. Montfort already see the following broad categories: 1. Leave pensions in UK as is - traditional advice of a UK advisor who was not familiar with QROPS options. 2. Leave pensions in UK but transfer to an alternative UK scheme - rarely adopted but will become more and more seen as a best advice interim and long term option. 3. Transfer to a QROPS in country of residence - traditional advice of an advisor in the same country as migrant which will fade away as an immediate option in many cases to be replaced by 2. 4. Transfer to a QROPS in a country other than that of residence - will be the best advice in some cases and will remain so; this has been the domain of many overseas advisors who are commission orientated. The decision process has become more finely balanced and whereas in the past it may have been overwhelmingly obvious to go immediately for one option, today that has changed. One has to look at each case in great detail. Montfort International and our advisors are committed to keeping you up to date so please keep checking our blog posts for further information as this becomes available. The key for clients at the moment is not only to keep open dialogue with your financial advisor but insist on fully comprehensive advice. If you do not have a financial advisor, we would suggest contacting our team of Independent International QROPS Financial Advisors via our main office phone number 00 44 (0)1483 202072. Monday, 08 December 2014 17:43
QROPS Advice News - 23 April 2014 You have no doubt seen the news about UK pensions. It was very clear that something had to be done and legislative solutions had to be risk tested. The result anticipated is one which harnesses quality advice with solutions that are not one trick pony game plans. In other words those advisors who saw advice as being “as you have moved overseas it’s a choice between QROPS A and QROPS B” should take a very clear message back to their lords and masters, i.e. we have a problem. When we met in Whitehall with the powers that be we delivered a very clear message. The market was now in effect being controlled by “gangs” outside the control of a regulator. In other words there was no law that could control the advisor who was not subject to UK regulatory control. So by opening up the market and removing final salary scheme options and leveling the playing field, the QROPS debate has shifted to “let’s question whether a QROPS is right by forcing UK and non-country of residency options to be considered? And tax considerations to be really essential as would visa status? And then, should a client move to country X to make use of double tax agreement options, etc.” In other words, goodbye to the advisor who doesn’t have the skill sets and only thinks QROPS A or QROPS B. We are already taking on work where UK pension scheme members current or past (QROPS) are questioning what they have been sold or not sold and what exactly was the gibberish that was meted out as “advice”.  Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:07
Australian Tax Amnesty Announced - Just a few hours ago Australian announced a tax amnesty. The tax amnesty applies to any tax resident with offshore assets not declared to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Applicable offshore assets could include, pensions, ISAs, Premium Bonds, cash savings, shares and property, among others. Geraint Davies, Montfort International’s Managing Director, sees this move as, ‘’significant from many perspectives. We have seen the breaking news of a complete re-vamp of pensions in the UK. We see taxation rules getting more and more complicated, with the man in the street often oblivious of what might be taxed and what might not be. A classic case of not knowing what you don’t know and if you don’t know what you don’t know – what do you do? There is no line of separation between the tax cheat and the seemingly innocent. Anybody, big or small, who has a financial connection with Australia has a tax connection.“We have the traditional bank accounts held in offshore tax havens. But we also have undeclared UK pensions, Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes and Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes, both in the accumulation and decumulation phase as well as ISAs and Premium Bond wins. Then there are, of course, rented out properties, share portfolios, endowments, inheritances kept ex-Australia that need to be considered.” A senior Australian tax officer stated, ‘’People disclosing their offshore assets would be assessed for the last four years only and be liable for a maximum shortfall penalty of 10% of their debt instead of 90%. They will have to pay the tax due plus interest for late payment.” Although this may sound like a problem for recent migrants, the tax amnesty is an opportunity for those who have not declared their offshore assets to put their tax position right. We at Offshore QROPS believe that many will come forward for fear of what the ATO have in mind, the penalties of having to pay now being extremely light. However, those not facing up to their obligations now face serious problems, as those that come forward will give clues as to where undeclared assets and income are being held. Pensions undeclared might pose an interesting set of questions now that full access to pensions is proposed UK legislation. Could a migrant see Australia raising tax due under the now withdrawn Foreign Investment Fund (FIF) tax legislation where offshore holdings such as UK pensions are discovered? This FIF legislation caught private pensions. Interesting times! It is not just the UK and Australian Governments announcing such measures either, “I think Governments around the world will unite, the data sharing and powerful technical advances in data capture and analysis are on the side of tax offices around the world and, whether or big or small, any excuse of not knowing about a tax rule will not wash. I think that UK advisers tend to forget that UK is offshore to Australia. Advisers who have purely focused on selling QROPS and QNUPS might well find themselves having to answer questions as to why they didn’t recommend advice on non-commission earning advice areas.” Geraint also stated that, “Any migrant or returning national past or present really needs to have a financial health check at the earliest opportunity to check if they have an exposure. It’s clear that Australia will now be not just looking back in time but will not want to lose tax revenue going forward. Nobody will want a penalty that could be greater in value than the asset being hidden” If you would like a financial health check or to ensure that your migration finances, pensions and investments are in order, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Offshore QROPS on +44 (0)1483 202072, who will be happy to help. Thursday, 27 March 2014 11:26
Transferring Pensions to Australia and the Australian Superannuation QROPS Contribution Cap - Both in the press and on websites, including www.miplc.co.uk and www.qrops.co.uk you will see ample comment regarding the contribution cap when transferring pensions into an Australian Superannuation so we will not go over this well trodden subject. Instead we want to consider a far more important subject, i.e. whether a transfer across to a QROPS in Australia may be in your interest in the first place? There is certainly good news for those who hold UK pension arrangements in excess of the cap as from the start of the new Australian tax year, the non-consessional contribution cap is increasing to AU$180,000 instead of the current AU$150,000. For some, this makes things much easier to make an overseas pension transfer from a UK pension to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) happen. For others, the cap may still not be high enough to transfer a pension into Australian QROPS. Where this is the case, it can still be possible to roll 3 years together. For those with larger pension values in the UK, even rolling 3 years together still does not allow them to transfer their funds into an Australian QROPS. In these instances, there may be solutions available to you utilising a sequence strategy over time. However careful management to ensure you meet the requirements in the most tax efficient manner is all important. One wrong move can expose you to unwanted Australian and or UK tax liabilities and or missed opportunity. Montfort International have since before QROPS were even on the drawing board been delivering bespoke financial and pension planning advice and strategies for any set of circumstance since the overseas pension transfer concept took off, however each and every potential global QROPS victim \ candidate needs to pay heed to the detail. Always exercise caution when dealing around matters concerning the contributions cap. Within this strategy we can advice suitable investment advice to ensure that your funds are working hard for you whilst the process is happening. An investment strategy within your overall pension planning is essential to ensure that your funds at least keep up with inflation. However, careful analysis of your risk tolerance level is needed as if your risk tolerance level is less than the level needed to make a transfer analytically suitable, is a pension transfer to Australia advisable in the first place? Should you wish to speak to Montfort International regarding how Australian superannuation contributions caps and pension transfers to Australia may affect you, please do not hesitate to contact our Financial Advisor, Andrew Hains who will be happy to discuss this with you. Thursday, 27 March 2014 09:29

Offshore QROPS

Offshore QROPS provides specialist Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes advice to anyone who has accrued UK pension benefits and is interested in transferring their fund to an overseas pension when retiring abroad. Discover why so many people rely on us to provide up to date independent QROPS/QNUPS advice on overseas pension schemes.

“Your advice on pensions (we were astonished as to the value of Phyl's pension) transfer of money etc has been invaluable. The way you explained both verbally and in your written reports made life so much easier."

Alan & Phyl Robinson

       

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QROPS.CO.UK remains at the forefront of the industry and we have put in place systems and processes to make this happen. Our continual development and our passion for success is underpinned by our length in the industry and our presence at numerous exhibitions and on expert panels.

 

 

What do we offer?

Retirement pension planning for individuals who spend time working overseas is a complex area. Planning for international pensions can be a very tax efficient way of saving for retirement and can provide greater flexibility over UK based pensions, both in terms of investment choice and payment of benefits. Our vast experience has made us one of the most sought after sources of advice on international pensions.

To find out if QROPS or QNUPS (Qualifying Non UK Pension Scheme) is a suitable solution for you, please contact us for a FREE initial assessment. Once we determine if a QROPS or QNUPS is right for your situation, we can produce a independent QROPS or QNUPS report tailored to your personal circumstances.

In addition, we offer International Tax Planning Services to individuals moving to and from the UK, making the entire process of organising your overseas pension as smooth as possible.

 

Professional Advisors

For Financial Advisors who may have little knowledge and expertise in the field, QROPS.CO.UK is more than willing to work alongside Financial Advisors and their clients in providing specific QROPS/QNUPS advice.

We pride ourselves on being the pioneers in overseas pension transfers and have built up an extensive knowledge of the market ever since.

We provide bespoke reports for both QROPS and QNUPS cases and we also aim to educate other UK based financial advisors in the process.

We want to make sure that a proper code of ethics is followed with regards to recommending appropriate routes to clients and are leaders in the field on giving independent pension advice.

As independent financial advisors we are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and our registration can be viewed online by following this link: FSA Register.