A type of overseas pension scheme
that mimics a UK pension scheme, but provides often
QROPS are just like UK pension schemes
There is a lot of talk about QROPS, but what is a QROPS exactly. And what do they do?
In straightforward terms a QROPS is a pension scheme set up outside the UK that mimics a UK pension scheme, because it follows most of the same rules set in the UK. And because a QROPS mimics a UK pension scheme the UK authorities will allow people to transfer their pensions into them, provided that the QROPS agrees to some conditions. So the important characteristics and conditions of a QROPS are:
- Is regulated as a pension scheme in the country in which it is established, and
- Does not allow benefits to be paid before the age of 55 years old (this is known as the pension age test and is just like the UK rules)
- Is recognised for tax purposes in the country that the QROPS is established, and
- Is in a country where pension income is taxed in the same way for residents and non-residents (to stop people setting up discriminatory schemes)
- Agrees to report all transactions out of the scheme to the HMRC for all UK pension transfer members for 10 years after the member joins
- Follows UK investment guidelines in respect of allowable investments (no residential property etc)
Schemes must work to retain their QROPS status
A scheme must apply to become a QROPS with the HMRC in the UK. The HMRC will review the documentation of the scheme to ensure that it is appropriate and meets the conditions and criteria as set out above. These conditions and criteria can change over time, and if a scheme wants to remain a QROPS it will need to ensure that it can change to meet the new criteria.
The HMRC keeps a register of all QROPS, but because schemes can change their rules, countries can change their legislation and the QROPS rules themselves can change, the HMRC will not warrant that any scheme on their list is actually a QROPS. For this reason before transferring a pension to an overseas scheme most UK pension providers will do an analysis of the QROPS to understand if it is meeting the conditions for being a QROPS.
QROPS can be better than UK schemes
Anyone with a UK pension scheme that meets the criteria who lives overseas or is planning to leave the UK can transfer their UK pension plans into a QROPS.
The reasons for using a QROPS is that they can often provide benefits that are not available through UK schemes, such as:
- The ability to leave your pension fund to your loved ones free from UK tax
- Investments denominated in the currency of your choice, like New Zealand dollars, Australian dollars, sterling and many more
- Payments out of the scheme that are free of tax
- Being able to manage your scheme in the same time zone as you
- and many more…
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Until now I'd imagined my UK pension funds being locked away behind all manner of firewalls and bureaucratic hurdles to access on retirement. Before committing the one surviving official document of my English OE to the bin - a single page detailing my private pension details - I contacted you out of curiosity. The result feels a little like winning lotto.
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.
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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!
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.
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Very thorough, professional and prompt service from the team at Charter Square. Thanks for making the bewildering world of pension transfers super simple.
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.
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.