What is a QROPS (QUALIFYING RECOGNISED OVERSEAS PENSION SCHEME)
A QROPS is an overseas pension scheme that meets certain requirements set by HMRC.
A QROPS must have a beneficial owner and trustees, and it can receive transfers of UK Pension Benefits. QROPS came about as part of UK legislation launched on 6 April 2006. This was a direct result of EU human rights directive for the freedom of movement of capital and labour. It is essentially a trust or a contract-based offshore pension. As such, the tax residence of the beneficial owner or beneficiaries is critical, as some countries do not recognise trusts.
A QROPS can be appropriate for UK citizens who have left the UK to emigrate permanently and intend to retire abroad, having built up a UK pension fund. Alternatively, a person who is born outside the UK and has built up benefits in a UK-registered pension scheme can move their pension offshore if they want to retire outside the UK. Unfortunately, your UK State Pension benefits cannot be transferred. Defined contribution, defined benefit pension schemes and SSAS pensions can be transferred abroad.
A QROPS does not have to be established in the country where one retires; instead, a person can move the pension to another jurisdiction and have the benefits paid into their country of choice. Moving to a QROPS could also be a good option for expats who intend to return home but are approaching the lifetime allowance or have already gone over the lifetime allowance.
See here what Managing Partner, Chris Ball, had to say about QROPS.
QROPS KEY POINTS
- As with other private pensions, you can begin drawdown from the age of 55
- With a QROPS, access is flexible, meaning you can draw down as much or as little as you like.
- QROPS typically offer a broader range of investment options and are not subject to the same restrictions most UK pensions are.
- In contrast, unlike defined benefit pensions, which typically only have a limited inheritance amount for spouses, a QROPS allows you to name any chosen beneficiary you like.
- QROPS allow you to hold and invest in multiple currencies. This can make them appeal to expats who will be retiring abroad and don’t want to receive their pension in pounds sterling.
- The benefits of a QROPS can vary depending on how long you have been offshore, your intent to stay offshore and whether you remain offshore for a long or short period.
- A QROPS can allow you to take an enhanced tax-free lump sum when you begin drawdown. This increases to 30% from 25%.
- Much like a SIPP, a QROPS can consolidate multiple pensions.
- If you transfer into a QROPS and live outside the EEA (European Economic Area), you will be subject to the ‘Overseas transfer charge’ – 25% of the value.
Our pension transfer process
- Simply contact us to organise a no-cost initial meeting for you and one of our advisers.
- Undertake an initial meeting with one of our advisers to summarise your options.
- Engage with Hoxton Capital Management for a Pension Analysis Report, where we will assess your current pensions and complete research into your financial situation further.
- Receive your report – our licensed UK advisers will complete your Pension Transfer Analysis Report, which outlines our recommendations.
- If a transfer is recommended and you accept our recommendations, we will manage all aspects for you.
What are the other pension transfer options
A SIPP is a pension ‘wrapper’ that holds investments until you retire and begin to draw an income. It works in a similar way to a standard personal pension. Read more here.
A Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme (QNUPS) is a form of overseas pension available to British citizens. Read more here.
Speak to us for a review
If you think a QROPS may be a good option for you and would like more information, speak to one of our advisers today.