What is a QROPS - UK Frozen Pension Transfer

What is a QROPS - UK Frozen Pension Transfer

A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) is a service available for expats in possession of a frozen UK pension.

The HMRC-recognised QROPS pension transfer service allows people to shift their UK pension into another jurisdiction that may be more flexible and tax-efficient. Prior to QROPS’s emergence in the market in April of 2006, when an individual left the UK to retire abroad, their pension usually got frozen. This left them with little access to their money, a problem many found deeply inconvenient.

Since then, however, HMRC has established a list of countries where QROPS pension transfers can be accepted. In order for a QROPS to qualify it must be legally-recognised by HMRC and must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be recognised by HMRC for tax purposes - therefore, it must be open to residents of the country where it is based, where there are stable taxation laws in place.
  • As long as you have been living outside the UK for five or more years, the maximum lump sum taken should not exceed 30% of the total pension fund if it is domiciled in Malta or 25% if it is domiciled in Gibraltar.
  •  To draw your pension you must be at least 50 or 55 depending on your chosen jurisdiction and the period of non-UK residency.

According to pension specialists, for British expats the most favourable QROPS jurisdictions are Malta and Gibraltar thanks to the Finance Act of 2012 which brought with it a slew of benefits for people who want to move their frozen UK pensions. For a full list of the benefits look at our Benefits of a QROPS page.

When you do make the choice to transfer your pension into a QROPS, you will get direct access to a portion of your money in the currency of your choice - thus minimising exchange rate losses - as soon as you retire.

Moreover, depending on where you retire and the tax treaties available at the time of retirement, you may also receive your lump sum and income payments in a tax-efficient manner.

One of deVere Group’s aims is to provide every client with a best standard of service and create value for their money. For this we have a team of professional QROPS advisers who are the experts in their fields and will be ready to provide all the information and advice that you will need throughout the process.

If you meet the above QROPS criteria, then you could potentially enjoy a more luxurious retirement. Contact the deVere Group today and see how simple it is to unlock your pension in the UK and transfer it to a more favourable jurisdiction.