What Is A UK Pension Transfer?
A pension transfer is when you move your UK pension from your current UK scheme to either another UK pension scheme or a QROPS. The transfer process involves cashing up your UK scheme and moving that lump sum of cash to another scheme.
There are lots of parties involved in the process of transferring a pension.
How does a pension transfer work?
If your UK pension can be transferred, the actual transferring process involves a great deal of paperwork. QROPS NZ assists with all that paperwork:
- Complete documentation for setting up a new member account with your new QROPS scheme in New Zealand
- Complete overseas pension transfer forms for your existing UK pension scheme
- NZ QROPS scheme and financial adviser sign-offs
- Complete numerous UK HMRC forms depending on the type of pension you are transferring.
- Ensure you correctly certify documentation for all the schemes in the process
- Provide all the information you need to complete a tax return in New Zealand for your pension transfer
QROPS NZ processes ensure all the paperwork is correct before being sent to your UK pension scheme. This ensures the transfer is made promptly and without question or unnecessary delays. Once received, your UK Pension scheme will convert your existing investments in the scheme to cash and then transfer the cash to the trustees of your new NZ QROPS member account, enabling them to invest those funds based on your investment instructions.
On some occasions, the transfer of the assets from the UK may be what is known as “in specie”. This is where the Trustee of the UK pension scheme assigns ownership of the assets you have in your UK scheme to the Trustee of the New Zealand QROPS scheme. An example would be when an asset like a commercial property is held in a UK pension, and the person transferring their pension does not want to sell the property but merely transfer the ownership to their New Zealand QROPS scheme.
There are many parties involved in completing a pension transfer, and they must all be coordinated. This is where QROPS NZ processes ensure your pension transfer runs smoothly and with minimum work by you or interruption to your busy life.
What to consider before transferring
Your Current Pension Scheme
Knowing what type of pension scheme you have in the UK can make a difference to how the value is calculated and what can be transferred. Generally speaking, there are two types of pension schemes; Contributory Schemes and Final Salary Schemes (also known as defined benefit schemes). Transferring a UK final salary scheme pension is more complex.
Not all UK pension schemes can be transferred to a New Zealand QROPS, so it pays to know if yours can before you even start (around 40% of all UK pensions currently cannot be transferred to New Zealand). A quick call to QROPS NZ on 0800 102 599 will help establish whether your UK pension can be transferred.
Your Current UK Pension Benefits
You may have valuable benefits associated with your UK pension that you may lose when transferring to QROPS. You need to understand what you are giving up with a pension transfer and what you might potentially gain and weigh each against the other.
The Tax on a Pension Transfer
Tax is a significant consideration for UK pension transfers. Tax can be levied on:
- Payments from a scheme
- Growth in a scheme
- Transferring your pension between schemes.
It pays to know all these different tax obligations for leaving your pension in the UK versus transferring your UK pension to a QROPS. Only then you can compare the tax situations for each course of action to fully understand if one option provides the best tax outcome.
Once you’ve decided to transfer your UK Pension, we’ll help you set up your member account in your new New Zealand Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. A QROPS must meet all the criteria outlined by HMRC (in that it basically has to act like a UK pension scheme). Not all QROPS are the same, and their attributes vary considerably from:
- Investment options – GBP vs NZD investments
- Tax structures and rates
- Fees and charging structures
- Rules surrounding withdrawals