Are QROPS Still Relevant?

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS)

The Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme remains a key pension planning tool for expatriates and non-UK nationals.

The QROPS has quite rightly (in our opinion) been attacked by HMRC and the UK government in recent times. As with all financial planning miss-selling issues, the problem is rarely the ‘product’, but with the way it is sold. In our second opinion work, we have often found clients have been told total inaccuracies about planning with QROPS.

The QROPS is not suitable to just anyone who has every lived outside of the UK. Often, QROPS been ‘sold’ as the perfect international pension solution. However, in almost all circumstances we’ve encountered when giving a second opinion, it has not been the most suitable solution.

Transferring pension funds back to a UK SIPP or private pension (providing a much higher level of regulatory protection, lower costs and actually far more planning functions) can be difficult, and could trigger retrospective UK taxation. Be cautious when taking advice over QROPS planning.

In far too many cases, the QROPS has been the easiest solution for an unscrupulous salesman to make commissions. The QROPS used to be very ‘under-the-radar’; an overseas pension positioned to dodge taxation and allow miss-selling across the international industry. Unfortunately the QROPS has been most popular for financial salespeople with little knowledge or understanding of their true benefits and drawbacks.

How we can help QROPS scheme members

If you’ve received advice or indeed taken out a QROPS, we would be happy to help even if it’s with a few tips and pointers to steer you in the right direction.

Whether you have a QROPS in Malta, Gibraltar, Guernsey (now de-listed) or any other jurisdiction, we can help. If you’re been misadvised, please be prepared for some difficult conversations as we work to recover your planning.

All that said, as we opened, the QROPS does have its place. If you are not returning to the UK, the QROPS is likely a positive planning tool. If you intend to retire in the UK, it may be worth considering alternative options. Read our free QROPS guide for more detailed technical information.

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