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Update on the Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (ROPS) List – One Australian - 1 July 2015 As of today (01 July 2015) the Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (ROPS) list released by the UK Government no longer has the array of schemes in Australia previously recorded as a ROPS and in fact only has one remaining – the Local Government Superannuation Scheme. This scheme qualifies for ROPS status under a special exemption clause. Please see the link below: This has a major impact on anyone transferring/planning to transfer their UK Registered Pension Scheme to Australia. Any transfers now made from the UK Scheme to an Australian Superannuation (previously on the ROPS list) almost certainly will be seen as an unauthorised payment and lead to a possible 55% tax charge payable to the UK Government. Those schemes that transferred after 06/04/15 are in line to be considered similarly, if the rules are strictly applied. We strongly urge anyone in the process of transferring to seek advice and suspend the transfer from going ahead until further notice from the UK Government with the same applying to anyone thinking of transferring to such a scheme in the near future. You will notice Australia has been the focus of this article but please bear in mind that a variety of schemes in other countries have also been removed from the list. Ultimately, we believe anyone considering the transfer of their UK Registered Pension Scheme abroad should seek specialist advice. The above statement is based on current legislation and releases by the UK Government. Please bear in mind that the decision could be changed in the future. Please contact us on +44 1483 202072 if you would like to discuss the issue further.  Wednesday, 01 July 2015 16:50
‘DO NOT TRANSFER’ - Pension Transfers to Australia, New Zealand, Canada & - 16 June 2015 If you have seen any financial news regarding UK pension transfers ex-UK, you would have been hard pressed to not see anything about the current issues regarding transferring UK pensions to Australia or New Zealand or Ireland or Canada. Once upon a time, transfers from the UK to these jurisdictions were seen as the only way to go. The problem was that this was not always the right thing to do as many of our clients will have discovered when we delivered a ‘do not transfer’ recommendation. Today a ‘do not transfer’ recommendation may be because not only is the advice to not transfer, but the scheme you were considering is not compliant. The following will explain more. Recently, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sent a reminder to the schemes who had previously self-assessed to now re-assess their compliance status and confirm to HMRC that they still met the qualifying status of being a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. The reminder was to ask them to confirm that they knew their QROPS obligations and could still meet the Pension Age Test as at 05 April 2015. If they could do this they could continue to remain a QROPS and if they believed they could not, they would need to stop receiving funds immediately from a UK Registered Pension Scheme (RPS). If funds continued to be accepted, those people who had pensions transferred may have incurred a 55% personal tax charge as a consequence of a transfer into a non-compliant scheme. The thought of transferring is still an option but the practicalities are now considerably more difficult especially as those interested are being directed to taking expert advice. At the heart of recent events is the Pension Age Test and also now questions surrounding whether transferring was actually the right advice in the first place. This has been a problem for QROPS in countries like Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand and for those KiwiSaver QROPS in New Zealand. Local legislation determines that Australian pensions and KiwiSavers and Canadian and Irish pensions can in certain circumstances allow access prior to the age of 55, meaning that they cannot meet HMRC’s Pension Age Test. The worst-case scenario if you do transfer or have transferred to a scheme purporting to be a QROPS, is now you are facing the 55% tax charge as previously mentioned. In the eyes of HMRC, the scheme is reclassified to a plain Overseas Pension Scheme (OPS) and is not actually a QROPS, hence why you would be facing a personal tax charge of 55% of the amount transferred (that’s right, you pay it personally). HMRC consider such pension releases as Unauthorised Payments (UP). In order to protect yourself now more than ever, it is vital to seek suitable retirement planning and pension transfer advice. Also beware of a practice we have seen where advisers Statements of Advice that have disclaimers make you liable for such tax liabilities all because the small print says that you take responsibility if the advice is wrong. If you are considering transferring your UK pension to Australia or New Zealand, already in the process of transferring your pension, or have already transferred UK tax-relieved pension benefits since 06 April 2015, contact Andrew Hains at Montfort International on +44 (0)1483 202072 to assess your situation without delay. Tuesday, 16 June 2015 10:09
Spain and Financial Thoughts - 22 May 2015 Spain’s economy grew by 1.4% in 2014. GDP growth accelerated to 0.9% in the first quarter of 2015 and the forecast, made by the Spanish Government, Brussels, international agencies and most private analysts for 2015 predict GDP growth around 2.8%. Despite the good macroeconomic news, the “ordinary citizen” is still waiting for better salaries and work conditions and especially for the effective reactivation of bank credit as most Spanish families with low and middle income, but with investment properties expected to be sold at prices above the current market average, have been living since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008 on their savings, which largely have come to an end. Will this turn the tide with Brits no longer considering a return to UK and the issues that would surround returning to having transferred from a UK Registered Pension Scheme to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) For those planning a move to Spain the prospects are really good, according to Ruben Garcia who manages Montfort International clients moving to Spain, as they will find a property market collapsed, with prices at rock bottom, but expected to recover within two years as macroeconomic and employment figures continue to improve. “Maybe this is the best opportunity in 20 years for those planning to retire in Spain with the aim of buying primary residential property” says Ruben. QROPS planning needs to be considered for all migrants.  Friday, 22 May 2015 11:11
British Expats Face 55pc Tax Charge on Pension Transfers - 12/05/15 Moving your pension to Australia or New Zealand could trigger a huge tax charge, thanks to the pension freedoms. British savers who are moving abroad and transferring their pension to Australia or New Zealand could face a shock tax charge of 55pc thanks to the pension freedoms which applied from April 6. Under the new rules, which allow savers to take their whole pension pot as cash, pension schemes must prohibit members from accessing their savings before the age of 55, unless the member is retiring early due to ill-health. Schemes in Australia and some in New Zealand, where thousands of British retirees emigrate each year, do not have this restriction written into their rules. They allow under-55s to take some of their funds early in some circumstances, such is if they are suffering financial hardship. HM Revenue Customs has written to all these schemes, known as qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (QROPS) and warned them that unless they meet the new requirements they will no longer be able to receive UK transfers without tax penalties. Schemes must tell HMRC whether they meet the requirements by June 17. Geraint Davies, of Montfort International, said overseas schemes are highly unlikely to change their rules to accommodate with the UK requirements because it would disadvantage their local members, who make up the vast majority. He said Australian and New Zealand schemes are instead looking for an exemption, but the process could take some time. In the meantime a lot of these schemes could continue accepting UK transfers even if they don't meet UK requirements, so it's essential that anyone thinking of transferring their pension makes absolutely sure that the scheme they are using is compliant. Otherwise they could face a 55pc tax charge.  Wednesday, 13 May 2015 14:47

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

       

NEWS NEWS NEWS

In order to keep informed of all the latest information on the QROPS and QNUPS markets,  sign up for our newsletter. Our website will also be updated regularly so that we can educate the market in why QROPS and QNUPS cannot be overlooked as a viable option for all UK based advisers and their clients.

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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.