Expats considering a QROPS transfer should watch out for sharks

Published:  6 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, England
As QROPS become more popular with expats looking for a tax-effective, flexible retirement option, advice on how to negotiate the financial advisory industry’s shark infested waters are on the increase.

The UK’s HM Revenue and Customs sets strict rules for the 42 countries which offer QROPS, but the problem for investors nowadays is finding a trusted advisor. Given that many retirees have never needed to get involved in the murky world of finance, it’s useful to note the danger signs.

Unregulated financial advisors are the cause of many heartbreaks, but in many overseas retirement destinations they are the only option as local laws make it almost impossible to register. In an ideal world, there should also be an independent complaints process resulting in compensation if bad advice has been given.

For expats living outside the EU, especially in Asia, it’s clear that registered QROPS providers in their home countries are the best bet. Even so, FAs’ registrations should be checked on the regulator’s database, and nothing presented should be taken at face value as scammers are known to trade after their own registration has been cancelled or expired or even to clone reputable businesses’ details.

If an advisor pushes specific providers or jurisdictions, it’s more likely their concerns are for inflated commissions rather than their clients’ financial well-being, making walking away the best option. QROPS are complicated financial wrappers needing advice on cross- border tax planning, estate planning and the investments themselves, with larger companies best chosen for their expertise.

Advisors should be able to tailor the QROPS to the client’s objectives and personal circumstances, and retirees should look for professionals with track records of transfers to various providers. If no examples of previous transfers and their regulatory details can be provided, choosing another advisor is the sensible option.
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