Q: What are my transfer options?
A: That depends on your current status of residency and also your future plans for retirement. In the main though, you should have already made a decision – or be contemplating one – to retire overseas, before a transfer is really in your best interest. Expat pension release isn’t suitable for everyone.
Q: What are QROPS?
A: QROPS, or Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes, were first introduced by the UK government in April 2006. This enabled people who are seeking to leave, or who have already left the UK, to transfer their UK pensions abroad to HMRC pre-registered schemes called QROPS. Most UK Pension Schemes can be transferred to a QROPS including ‘protected rights’. The exceptions are typically State Pensions and most Final Salary Schemes already in payment.
Q: How do I know if a QROPS is right for me or not?
A: As with all major financial decisions, you first need to discuss your circumstances / wishes for the future with a qualified financial adviser. He / she will then be able to explain all of the available pension transfer options to you and point you in the right direction regarding the best way forward.
Q: What are the risks involved?
A: In many cases, probably less than your current UK arrangements. We only use jurisdictions with a very high degree of compliance and regulation in place, such as Malta, New Zealand and the Isle of Man.
Q: Can I have all of my accumulated pension money now?
A: No, that is not possible. HMRC stipulate that the earliest date that benefits can be taken is age 55 and the maximum that can be taken as initial cash is restricted to 30%, providing that you are then deemed a long term (5+ years) non-resident of the UK.
Q: Is my money safe?
A: The UK authorities will only allow pension funds to be transferred from one approved provider to another approved provider. In turn, when you come to take benefits, the money can only be sent directly to you and NEVER via a third party.
Q: How long does the process take?
A: This very much depends on the length of time that the UK providers take to release the information to us, once we have requested this from them. However, the whole process from start to finish is normally wrapped up within 6-8 weeks.
Q: What are the costs?
A: The costs will depend on the chosen route at the time. As independent advisers, we deal with several jurisdictions, which in turn have different providers all with varying charges. So until a personal recommendation is made, these clearly cannot be quantified until that time. All pension transfer charges are then disclosed in full and typically deducted by the new provider at the time of transfer