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New NZ regulations to cause more turmoil


  • Access to funds from NZ superannuation schemes to be extremely limited at age 55
  • Schemes can change their rules without your consent
  • Rules will change on 1 December 2016 at the latest


Since the turmoil of UK regulations that eliminated all KiwiSavers and Australian schemes as qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (QROPS) – therefore not allowing UK pensions to be transferred to them since April 2015 – it has been quiet on the legislative front.
However, new New Zealand rules coming later in the year could throw the cat among the pigeons again.
And while not as seemingly draconian as the recent UK changes they could have longer term consequences for people who have transferred to New Zealand schemes in the past or are considering transferring their UK pensions.
The ability to access 30% of the funds at 55 is about to be significantly reduced.
Currently when someone transfers their UK pension to New Zealand the amount that they can withdraw is determined by UK regulations. This means that the earliest you can withdraw transferred UK pension funds is age 55 and the amount that you can withdraw is essentially 30%.
Many people have relied on the ability to withdraw this 30% at 55 to pay any tax liability that has accrued when they transferred their pension from the UK to New Zealand or simply to take the lumpsum to reinvest or use for other purposes.
However, on 1 December 2016 new legislation will come into effect that will restrict the amount of funds that can be withdrawn from a New Zealand superannuation scheme for members age 55 years old to only 10% of the fund balance.
These rules are being introduced under the Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMCA) and schemes cannot opt out of the rules.
This is part of the Government attempting to better align the accessible age for personal superannuation schemes with KiwiSaver Schemes which is age 65. The new rules allow NZ schemes to either:

  • Complusorily shift all their existing members over to the new rules, or;
  • section off all existing members and have members joining after 1 December 2016 to be on the new rules

People who have transferred their pensions in the past, or are considering a pension transfer immediately need to understand how their New Zealand scheme intends to deal with these complusory legislative changes. After 1 December 2016 you will not be able to join a new scheme and still have the ability to withdraw 30% (or more) at age 55.
Now is a perfect time to do a comprehensive review of either your existing QROPS scheme in New Zealand or investigate whether to transfer your UK pension to New Zealand now or later.
Any review should also consider the the possibility that the UK government will move QROPS rules into alignment with the new flexible access arrangements in the UK. Such a move would allow people in some existing QROPS in New Zealand to access 100% of their funds at age 55 years old.
In order to understand whether an existing New Zealand QROPS would offer accessibility to 100% of the funds at age 55 a deep understanding of each schemes trust deed is required.
Further to this and importantly the issue of tax on transfer could become even more acute where only 10% of the funds are available at age 55 to pay a tax bill.
There have been no updates from the IRD in terms of how tax can be paid that’s owing from a pension transfer where a tax liability has been accrued. In a number of circumstances the IRD has worked with an individuals tax agent to structure a deal for the individual but no blanket approach has been approved by the IRD.
With legislation constantly changing around both New Zealand and UK pensions it’s crucial to stay up to date on changes and how they impact on your pension and not simply leave it in the UK or transfer to New Zealand without the right advice.

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very stress free

Thank you Cambel for your help and guidance throughout this process in getting my pension transferred (very stress free for me). It is greatly appreciated and I would certainly recommend you and Charter Square to others who are interested in transferring their pension.

David R, New Zealand

You guys rock!

I just wanted to say a great big thank you to you and your team. You are all totally awesome. I received a cheque yesterday from the Prudential to apologise for the ‘recent inconvenience’ that I had experienced. Thank you for doing this for me. You guys rock!

Noelle B, New Zealand

professional, insightful

Charter Square were professional, insightful and a pleasure to work with. They rose to the challenge of consolidating my overseas pensions and bringing them home with minimum fuss for me and maximum effort on their part.

Jens H, New Zealand

thorough, professional and prompt

Very thorough, professional and prompt service from the team at Charter Square. Thanks for making the bewildering world of pension transfers super simple.

Jules T, New Zealand

Best party to deal with

Thank you kindly for keeping in touch with me. For now, I will not be moving my pension. I will however be keeping your details and referring back to you when I wish to pursue. You by far are the best party to deal with, no nonsense, professional and in my opinion genuine. I do sincerely thank you for your advice to date.

GE, New Zealand


Securing the freedom to use savings that are actually ours to work with has been stressful in the extreme. While I never planned on giving up there were many times when the current (UK) holder made the whole process seem well beyond my determination and ability. It’s easy to look at the 36 month history of this claim with the benefit of hindsight, but the conclusion is that employing Charter Square in the first instance would have been wise had I been able to anticipate the red-tape that appears to have been deliberately created to stall access.

CP, Auckland
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