Overseas Pensions

Overseas Pensions?

I wonder if you have been persuaded to invest in an overseas pension? The new flexible pension rules that permit earlier access to a pension fund have caused more than the odd ripple in the global pensions world. We are highly connected to other jurisdictions and particularly those within the Commonwealth.

82% culling

HMRC recently reviewed its list of pensions that it “recognises” (which isnt the same as endorses or approves) but clearly suggests a connection. Earlier in June there were 3,811 overseas pensions on the HMRC ROP list, this has now been culled to just 663 – a reduction of about 82%. See the list here: HMRC site

It may well be that there are some “reinstatement” in time, but essentially the vast majority of overseas pensions failed to respond to the HMRC, who wanted the schemes to confirm that investors could not access their pension before the age of 55 unless, and only if, the member of the pension scheme is in ill-health – for which read – seriously unwell.


Australians in Wimbledon

A lack of response meant cut from the list. Those with Australian pensions this is a particular blow and today there is only one recognised Australian pension. Not so great for all you Australians living in Wimbledon and parts of south-west London. This will impact anyone in the process of moving their pension to an overseas pension and could result in hefty punitive “unauthorised payment charges”…. which can be 55%.

Not Just the Aussies

Obviously it isn’t just Australians that this impacts, London has many people from all over the world that are here for perhaps a short working period in their lives or much longer. This also impacts British domiciled people who wish to emigrate.

Loopholes – a pension is meant to be a pension

The motivation for this is that pensions are meant for retirement. Tax relief is provided on contributions here in the UK, but ultimately income would be taxed. Historically it has been possible in some circumstances to transfer a pension abroad – largely if you are emigrating or returning home. However, as with many things offshore, some loopholes are exploited where terms are more favourable – largely because tax relief in those jurisdictions wasn’t provided in the first place.

Overseas pensions requires specialist advice and not something that should be entered into lightly.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk