There has been much coverage recently surrounding the huge tax penalties suffered by UK pension savers due to fraudulent pension liberation scams. These apparent legitimate schemes claim to be able to help savers access their retirement funds early, however many have lost out due the exorbitant attached fees and fines. Some have lost their entire pensions. It’s a sad story, but unfortunately these crooked scavengers continue to slip through the net on occasion.
The news of these UK developments has of course filtered through to the expat community, and those considering a switch to and overseas pension (QROPS) in order to escape the deficit-laden, restrictive and uncertain UK pension landscape are now thinking twice about whether their money will be secure in transfer.
Fortunately since its inception in 2006, QROPS have always had the highest level of regulation and due diligence in place across the majority of the funds offered. Those that deviate from the precise set of HMRC rules and regulations are very quickly found and barred from involvement.
The transfer procedure is a tried and tested formula, and as QROPS are relatively new (in comparison with the creakingly out-dated UK pension foundations), there is far more knowledge available on every aspect of the schemes by those qualified to give advice. There are built-in checks to ensure that the transfer has been carried out according to the HMRC regulations, and they also produce a QROPS list published every two weeks, which denotes all the schemes which qualify currently under their terms.
While there has historically been a few errors within the HMRC list – and there are also a sparse array private QROPS which choose not to be listed – things seem to have been extremely reliable as of late as the QROPS market grows and more attention needs to be paid to getting the information correct.
Get Trusted Advice
The main point for most in relation to allowing a UK pension to be transferred, is whether the financial advisor trusted with assisting, can be trusted, what is their track record? Do they have a credible background? Are they offering you the whole of market, or just a single provider? You should be presented with an array of options when considering the switch, if this is not the case: Avoid.
If your pension fund is transferred into a non-qualifying oversea scheme, the penalty for unauthorised transfer is 55%. This is why it is vital that checks are done, and redone.
A QROPS is an extremely beneficial option for the majority of UK pension holders, however the process can be complex, and it is important that an experienced professional is on hand to deal with the transfer.