free or chained


free to be moved


  • Final Salary Company Schemes
  • Defined Contribution Company Schemes
  • Funded Public Sector Service Schemes
  • Personal Pensions
  • Protected rights
  • Retirement Annuity Contracts (RAC) and s32 buy outs
  • Funds in drawdown

chained to the UK


  • State pension
  • Pension in annuity
  • Unfunded Public Sector Service Schemes

Chained – short list, large number of pensions

The 2014 budget in the UK was a humdinger as it set out the most radical UK pension changes ever. These changes fully came into effect on 6 April 2015. These UK pension changes have affected almost every private or public sector UK pension – this has led many people to ask the question can I move my pension from the UK to a New Zealand QROPS. Previously the only pensions that could not be transferred were the first two categories below, but the budget threw a third and massive category in the mix:

  • State pension
  • Fund where a pension has been taken as an annuity
  • Unfunded Public Sector Service Schemes – the budget category

Cynics say, and we tend to agree, that the reasons that these transfers were stopped is because every transfer was bleeding them dry. Unfunded public sector schemes are the UK governments little ponzi scheme. The reason they are described as unfunded is because there is not a pot of cash supporting the pension payments that are made. Instead all the contributions of the existing members are used to pay for the pensions for the retired members, and the payments to retired members are underwritten by the government (more accurately the tax payer).
If everyone was to stop contributing to these schemes and the government had to pay out the pensions that it has underwritten it would cost them nearly £1trillion. So which schemes are unfunded in the public sector and therefore not be transferred (below is a list of the largest):

  • NHS
  • Teachers
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • SPPA
  • Royal Mail (old)
  • Civil Service
  • Armed Forces
The pensions probably account for around 30% of all non-state pensions in the United Kingdom.

Free to be moved to a QROPS

There are still many pensions that can be transferred to a QROPS including:

  • Final Salary Company Schemes (often called Defined Benefit Schemes)
  • Defined Contribution Company Schemes (often called Money Purchase Schemes)
  • Funded Public Sector Service Schemes (e.g. Local Government)
  • Personal Pensions including Stakeholder and Group Personal Pension Schemes
  • Contracted out of SERPS (Protected rights)
  • Retirement Annuity Contracts (RAC) and s32 buy outs
  • Funds where income is in drawdown but an annuity has not been taken


How much longer will the freedom last

It is worth noting that when the first draft of the above mentioned legislation came out all final salary and defined benefit schemes in the UK were going to be locked in and therefore unable to be transferred to any QROPS. The initial thinking behind this was to protect the stability of the source the Governments largest bond purchasers – large final salary scheme pension schemes. After much debate the legislation was scaled back to only deal with the unfunded public sector schemes defined above.
With the UK economy still not out of recession it is foreseeable that the legislation could again easily be amended to include these schemes – so it might be a good time to ask should I move my pension. Given the swiftness with which the last set of legislation was introduced it would be prudent for anyone that is holding a final salary pension to review their options.


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straightforward and painless

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.

Peter W

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