It is possible to take out a QROPS pension if you will be living abroad for less than five years, but you will be liable to HMRC taxes, which may outweigh the benefits of transferring to a QROPS scheme.
If you have an existing private pension, you may benefit from transferring it into a QROPS scheme. You can also transfer occupational pensions, Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPS), Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS) and stakeholder pensions, although it is not possible to do a QROPS transfer with a state pension.
The age at which you can start to draw your QROPS pension is 55 for most jurisdictions, but for some, it is 50 dependent on your suitability and stringent regulations. However, even if you have not yet retired, you should still consider transferring your pension into a QROPS pension scheme. The sooner you complete a QROPS transfer, the sooner your pension fund will increase in growth. This is because QROPS pensions are more flexible than UK pensions when it comes to investments. You can start investing in a QROPS pension from as young as 18.
When thinking of transferring your pension it is important to be aware of QROPS rules. HMRC keep a QROPS list of approved providers so you should consult a qualified QROPS advisor who will check to ensure that your QROPS provider appears on this list.
Your QROPS pension should also be recognised, for taxation purposes, by the Government of the country in which it is established. Most people choose to take out a QROPS pension in a location with low taxation. This is the reason why there are a vast number of Guernsey QROPS as well as those based in other countries with low taxation. It is also worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to set up your QROPS in the same country in which you are living or planning to live, but you may also have to pay tax on your pension income in your country of residence.
It is not possible to arrange a QROPS transfer yourself. QROPS is a specialist subject, and there are many rules and regulations relating to QROPS pensions. If you are unsure whether you would be eligible for a QROPS transfer or you would like to find out more about the implications of transferring, it is best to speak to a qualified advisor. He will have the relevant expertise regarding tax rules and legal aspects, and an in-depth knowledge of the Qrops market, which will enable him to offer sound advice.
The amount of benefits will vary depending on the country where your QROPS pension is established and on the amount invested, but the advantage of all QROPS schemes is that you have the flexibility to decide where, when and how you take your benefits. There are thousands of QROPS schemes available throughout the world and a qualified Qrops advisor will be able to advise you on eligibility, which schemes are suitable for your personal circumstances and which will be the most beneficial for you.