Losing investment cash to fraudsters is the 2014 hot topic for retirees

Published:  19 Aug at 6 PM
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UK retirees living overseas are facing threats to their life savings from both the HMRC and the number of fraudulent FAs lurking in expat havens.

Expat forums based in many favourite retirement destinations in Europe and Asia have indicated that the two top topics concerning the loss of pension pots are the triggering of heavy tax penalties by transferring cash between pensions and the likelihood of falling foul of fraudsters. Both fears involve mis-selling and bad advice by UK salesmen operating illegally overseas.

For example, pension liberation to date has cost totally honest retirees either a fortune in costs, heavy fines or the loss of their entire savings to crooks. The question being asked across the expat world is how can pension savers safeguard their cash when transferring from onshore pensions to offshore QROPS.

Firstly, checking out every aspect of any financial advisor offering to help is essential, as is not getting drawn in by tempting websites offering QROPS transfers as well as general financial advice. The majority don’t give addresses or qualifications and are best avoided as they are often fronts for fraud at worst and poor advice at best.

HMRC’s fortnightly updated QROPS list is the pension saver's friend, and all its 3,400 offshore QROPS in 42 offshore jurisdictions use a standard transfer system. Each provider must convince the regulator that its scheme meets UK tax strict rules and is overseen by a local regulator.

Should HMRC have any doubts or receive complaints about a particular scheme, it’s likely to suspend it until an investigation has taken place and a final decision made. Perhaps it’s best to also avoid providers who tick the ‘no publicity’ box on their HMRC registration form, as they are not included on the official list even although they may be solid.
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