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QROPS - UK Pension Transfers

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS)

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QROPS remain an excellent retirement planning option WITH authentic financial advice from a REGULATED UK financial adviser who has FCA authorisation to conduct PENSION TRANSFER arrangements.

It is now important to understand;
    - Your personal retirement plans
    -  Whether the new tax applies to YOU or not
    -  How the UK plan to exit the EU affects your pension now and in the future

Ask about PERSONAL advice EMail


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is the UK's primary financial services regulator has strict rules, now, about UK Pension Transfers, including QROPS. Unauthorised advisers are NOT allowed to give advice. For any adviser to give advice on Pension Transfers, they must pass TWO tests.
1. They must be authorised and regulated by the FCA
2. They must have a licence from the FCA to specifically give advice on UK Pension Transfers. The licence is granted on passing a pensions specialist written exam.

QROPS have existed since 2006 but started to become part of overseas financial planning in early 2008. For such a recent innovation, there have been many changes along the way. Major adjustments made by the UK in April 2012, are now well established and the market more mature. Further changes were advised in March 2015.

For most people, in the UK, their pension is their second biggest asset after their home. When they emigrate they have this important asset which needs careful administration and control. Tax preferences given lead HMRC controlling very closely how the funds can be used. The tax advantages include;

  • Full tax relief, under maximum allowances, on all contributions
  • Major tax advantages to the tax treatment of funds held in pension arrangements
  • Under UK tax rules, 25% of the fund can be paid TAX FREE as a pension commencement lump sum

So whilst pension planholders regard it as ‘MY MONEY’ the tax authorities (HMRC) have a say in how it is distributed and taxed.

Once the individual emigrates, or plans to emigrate, the possibility of transferring to a QROPS becomes an option.

The principal advantages are;

  • The fund will be free of UK Inheritance Tax
  • In most situations, the income can be paid gross
  • Income limits imposed by HMRC will cease after a qualifying period
  • No requirement to buy an annuity, which is especially beneficial when interest rates are so low
  • The funds within the pension fund can be invested more flexibly. In fact, some QROPS Trustees allow self investment similar to a SIPP
  • Consolidation of disparate funds into one
  • Taking income is no longer controlled within the scheme rules but is more flexible

Jurisdiction: Why not Spain?
Spain is NOT a good jurisdiction for QROPS

Spain does not recognise a trust structure, which is necessary to accept a UK pension. Therefore any potential transfer to a QROPS by a Spanish resident would take assets currently in held in trust, out of trust, with negative taxation consequences.

It is much better for Spanish residents to have the capital sums outside Spain in a trust and then for any income to be taken and declared in Spain. EMail  for more details

Non-UK Nationals

I am aware that people of many nationalities have, from working in the UK, preserved benefits. Good news – you do not have to take benefits when the scheme says so. You may also be entitled to a UK pension transfer to QROPS. Just email for more details.


The best advisers will compare all jurisdictions before making a recommendation. The determining of your priorities should be the overriding reason for recommending a particular QROPS. Some advisers only deal with one provider in one jurisdiction. If you’ve received a recommendation and would like a second opinion please email me.

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) are for professional advisers and their clients and hopefully the unqualified, unregulated imitators will disappear.

I guarantee that you will be given only REGULATED advice if you contact me (with brief details) by sending me an email