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QROPS Guide INTRODUCTION WHAT IS A QROPS QROPS Guide Over the last decade more and more professionals from all walks of life are finding themselves working and living abroad. As an expatriate your specific financial objectives and requirements may require specialist adviser knowledge and training as every region of the world comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages to contend with. An understanding of offshore financial services and products can help provide you with the kind of life that you and your family deserve along with the security of knowing that your investments are working as hard as you are. Offshore investment is no longer reserved only for the wealthy the international market has opened for all expats living abroad who wish to enjoy the flexibility and accessibility of overseas accounts. Never before has the demand been greater and the financial industry has responded in turn with more and more financial institutions offering options to the international investor. The choice of provider is thus wider than ever- with services ranging from lump sum investments and saving schemes to pension plans and wealth management accounts. Chartercross works in conjunction with the worlds leading insurance providers and investment firms. It is these powerful relationships with the top players in the industry that ensure every product offered by Chartercross is of the best value to the investor and comes backed by the highest level of protection. In this guide well provide you with some essential information about making the most of your status as an expatriate and moving your UK pensions into the QROPS system. Quite simply it is a system that allows people living abroad to uplift and transfer their pensions out of the UK and into another jurisdiction. Prior to 2006 when a person would leave the UK their pensions would be frozen as they were no longer being contributed to and would remain so until said person reached the retirement age- usually this was age 65. This would leave the holder of the pension without any access to those funds until the UK retirement age and when the retirement benefits were paid out they would still have to follow UK pension rules. This all changed in 2006 when HMRC created the system known as QROPS- it stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. Transferring your deferred pensions into a QROPS allows you to take advantage of the much greater flexibility and options of an overseas jurisdiction while at the same time retaining the security of a system legally recognised by HMRC. In order for a QROPS scheme to qualify with HMRC it must meet the following criteria The scheme must be established in a jurisdiction that has a double taxation agreement with the UK The scheme must be recognised for purposes of tax and regulated by the relevant authorities within the jurisdiction in which it is established The scheme must not allow for the commencement of benefits prior to members 55th birthday except in the case of ill health The purpose of the benefits provided must be roughly similar to those which are available to a UK registered scheme ie. the benefits must be used as a pension BENEFITS OF TRANSFERRING TO A QROPS AM I ELIGIBLE TO TRASNFER MY FUNDS INTO A QROPS QROPS Guide If you are living abroad transferring your pension into a QROPS can add flexibility to your retirement plans. There are many reasons why expats look to moving their benefits into a QROPS. Here are some of the main advantages Ability to take benefits from age 55 65 in the UK Currency flexibility only GBP in the UK Tax efficiency Much wider range of choice and freedom of investment The ability to pass on the full amount of funds to beneficiaries upon death only 50 in UK Income taxed at a lower rate if you decide to move back to the UK In light of the recent changes to pension legislation in the UK as well as those in the preceding years as well as the declining solvency and closure of UK final salary schemes- it becomes clear that one of the key reasons for moving into a QROPS is to protect your assets from the failings of the UK pension system. In order to transfer your UK pensions into a QROPS you must be between 18 and 75 years old and have pension funds totaling at least 25000 in aggregate value in the UK. You must either be currently living overseas or planning to leave the UK permanently within the next 12 months. There are of course reporting requirements to HMRC for a period after the transfer as well. QROPS Guide The QROPS scheme must be legally recognised by HMRC in the country in which you transfer your pension to. HMRC releases a list of all approved schemes on its government website which you can find here- fying-recognised-overseas-pension-schemes-qrops To find out if a QROPS is a suitable solution for you you should speak with a professional financial adviser. The time is now to begin planning. At Chartercross we work with the worlds leading investment houses and insurance providers. Our consultants have all been trained to give the best advice and have an understanding of the local requirements of the region you plan to move to. ABOUT CHARTERCROSS We understand that every client is an individual so our approach is to help find products and solutions that are tailored to fit your unique circumstances and goals. Chartercross is a whole of market advisory and not tied to any one individual life company so we are free to offer the best advice on products from any provider. Thus our fully qualified consultants and Wealth Managers are able to provide not only accurate but Simple Impartial Advice. The advice we provide is free and without obligation. All opinions expressed in this Guide constitute the authors own judgment as of the date of the Guide. Please note that as we have only indicated the general position and whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information we can accept no responsibility for any act or failure to act based upon its content. The views expressed herein are purely those of Chartercross employees and are not to be construed as advice. This material is for information purposes only and does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice or an investment recommendation or an offer of or solicitation for a product. The information provided and contained in this brochure are believed to reliable but are subject to change without notice and Chartercross makes no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of the information or of any opinions expressed.