Choosing A QROPS Pension Adviser As An Expat

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Written By Mohsen Salami

A good pension adviser will help you make the most of your retirement cash – but finding one that measures up to the task may be difficult.

Lots of so-called international IFAs are only too willing to offer advice for a fee.

But you need a qualified and experienced QROPS pension adviser to guide you through the retirement planning maze.

What to look for in a QROPS adviser

It’s important to choose a pension adviser with the correct qualifications.

Any pension adviser must be registered with the regulator in the country where they are giving advice. These qualifications vary between countries, but the common ones are:

  • STEP – The Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners
  • SOLLA – Society of Later Life Advisers
  • CISI – The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments

Other qualifications include those from the Personal Finance Society or ICSA (Certificate in International Finance and Administration).

The minimum qualification is a QCF Level 4 or equivalent.

What are the pensions for expats?

If you are a British expat, typically you are looking at a Self-Invested Pension Plan (SIPP) or Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

QROPS are also an option for foreign workers who may have pension savings from working in the UK in the past.

Why professional bodies are vital

Only deal with a QROPS adviser who belongs to a professional body – and do not just take their word for it.

If they belong to a body, they are likely to have professional indemnity insurance that will pay compensation in the event of you losing your money due to poor advice. They will also have a grievance procedure for dealing with complaints.

Check out membership by searching the regulator’s database online or by giving them a phone call. You will need the adviser’s trading name and business address to carry out the check.

Is your adviser independent?

Financial advisers can offer different levels of help to clients:

  • Independent – This means the adviser has no ties with any provider and can draft a bespoke financial strategy to suit your needs
  • Tied – An adviser who can only offer products from a single provider
  • Multi-tied – An adviser who can only offer products from a limited range of providers

Tied advisers cannot point clients towards providers who may offer better deals than the firm or firms they are tied to.