Last South African QROPS removed from list by HMRC

Published:  17 Oct at 6 PM
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The latest HMRC list has confirmed the removal of South Africa’s last QROPS.

The list, published October 15, conforms the removal of the ABSA Group Pension Fund, with neither the group nor HMRC commenting on the removal to date. Normally, QROPS deletions take place for one of three reasons – either HMRC is investigating the scheme’s tax or administrative status, the last members has either transferred out or drawn down or the provider itself has closed down. South Africa has been a registered QROPS participant ever since the scheme was introduced 12 years ago.

Initially very popular with expat retirees, the number of available QROPS peaked between March 2010 and June 2015, offering between 28 and 31 pensions. Following changes in rules and tax in June 2015, available QROPS nose-dived to just seven, rising at the beginning of 2016 to 12. South African QROPS were subject to the 25 per cent overseas transfer charge unless expat workers with UK pension rights were transferring pension savings to a QROPS or were living overseas.

South Africa is the second QROPS jurisdiction after Hungary to lose its status during 2018, with the only new jurisdiction that of Hong Kong, which joined HMRC’s list in May, making a total of 28 jurisdictions. However, recent statistics show QROPS as a product is becoming far less popular with expat retirees. Numbers of retirees taking advantage of the scheme have fallen annually by around 5,000 from a 2014-2015 peak of 20,100 to 4,700 in 2018, although the average transfer value has risen to £157,446 from £87,562.
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