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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
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

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.