QROPS: The Facts & Figures So Far…

There have always been myths and rumours surrounding Off-shore Expat Retirement Schemes, therefore we have attached some numbers relating to QROPS Pensions that may be of interest to the millions of British Expats all over the world.

The latest figures released by HMRC have shown that £5 billion of pension assets have been moved from the U.K. so far by expatriates all over the world. The 2012/2013 figures alone were around £1billion of transfers being completed into Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes. Since April 2006 there have been over 27,000 Expat Pensions that have been moved to QROPS schemes, with over 3,000 QROPS Schemes registered in about 50 different countries worldwide at present, with the average transfer value being approximately £185,000. Some QROPS Trustees accept transfers of smaller amounts, although transferring lower-value pensions to offshore pension schemes is not always the best advice.

The market for this type of transaction is mind-boggling. It is estimated that there are about 1.5 million international workers who have accumulated pension funds in Britain, making the total market at around 7m people who could potentially be eligible, when you include the 5.5 million British Expats that have permanently left the U.K.

QROPS – The Benefits…

Any UK registered pension can be switched to off-shore QROPS. Valuable benefits such as:

  • Tax-effective investments
  • Opportunities to invest in a wider range of assets
  • Tighter control over currency exchange rate fluctuations (QROPS can pay benefits in most major currencies)
  • A larger tax-free lump sum on retirement (typically a UK pension pays 25% of the fund, while QROPS pay up to 30% of the transferred fund)
  • No UK inheritance tax, so funds can be passed on without the UK’s 55% tax charge with appropriate estate planning