QROPS not to blame for pension transfer problems

Published:  25 Aug at 6 PM
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Overseas pensions are more about investment quality than volumes of cash moving overseas, with problems down to dodgy advisors rather than the schemes themselves.

Following the UK government’s published concerns on rogue financial advisors targeting expats overseas as well as retirees in the UK, critics of QROPs are inferring a reduction of the numbers of jurisdictions implies a fall of interest in the schemes. Relevant articles by respectable providers on financial websites, however, seem to be confusing the issue as regards the aim of using QROPs.

The reality is straightforward in that pension transfers are simply about investment returns, security and the actual benefits of moving cash overseas, and are eminently suitable for expat retirees as a result. It’s true there are now fewer financial centres offering QROPs than when the scheme was first introduced, but those who remain offer a service which is thoroughly compatible with the rules and specifications issued by the UK government regulator.

If there was just one QROPS scheme which held to the rules and offered investment and tax benefits without hassle or risk, that single scheme would be sufficient for the vast majority of retirement savers. It’s too easy to blame the QROPs set-up for failures to transfer and other problems including the proliferation of dodgy advisors preying on expat retirees as well as those in their home country.

Expats considering a QROPs pension transfer should keep in mind the proliferation of UK scam pension schemes run by fraudsters. The risks were made clear by the UK regulator’s recent move to ban pension-related cold-calling and tighten up HMRC rules to stop scammers from opening fraudulent pension plans. Another measure to be introduced is tougher action aimed at preventing money transfers from occupational pension schemes to fraudulent schemes.

As with any other financial decision, care still needs to be taken as regards the origin of any advice given on the subject, whether it’s from a UK-based advisor or an overseas IFA. Expat retirees are more vulnerable to financial scams as there’s no protection offered by the UK regulator for those who’ve lost funds due to fraud.
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