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QROPS & Financial Advice Page

In our ongoing efforts to provide the best possible range of professional services to our customers, Pattaya Jomtien Property are pleased to introduce our associate financial services company, IFA International based in Bangkok. The British partners have vast experience in the field of International Financial Services offering UK clients based overseas, the best advice on UK Pension transfers (QROPS), wealth protection, inheritance and estate planning, offshore trusts and protection schemes.

IFA International offer a full and comprehensive range of financial services, acting in the best interests of their clients in a professional, ethical and transparent way at all times, in the privacy of your own home at a mutually arranged time that is convenient to you.

Why IFA International?

The partners of QROPS Pension Centre at IFA International have over 50 years advisory experience in the world of International Financial Services advising both onshore UK clients and those based overseas.
IFA partner institutions are all highly regulated within their jurisdictions and have a level of investor protection that matches the best international standards anywhere.
The bespoke Financial Planning and Advisory Services that IFA provide are tailored to meet the needs of each individual client on an initial and ongoing basis and fall broadly into the following categories:

  • UK Pension Transfers (QROPS)
  • Wealth Protection & Management Services
  • Inheritance & Estate Planning
  • Offshore Trusts and Protection Schemes
  • IFA have worldwide distribution and advisory agreements with publicly listed global institutions and are therefore able to offer their services overseas to an international client base.

QROPS Pension Centre is wholly owned by its founding partners and thus remains independent and able to act in the best interests of its clients in an ethical and transparent manner at all times.


Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS)

It is now possible for all non UK residents, and those who are planning a move overseas to transfer their UK Pension Funds to an HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) approved offshore scheme, which in most cases can have significant benefits:

  • Leave your pension fund intact for your family
  • No requirement to purchase an annuity
  • No UK tax on income or capital gains tax on assets held *
  • Early retirement option & Succession Planning
  • Flexibility of investment choice
  • Loans and self-investment options
  • Choice of base currency in Pounds, Euros, or Dollars

* Provided that you are not resident in the UK for tax purposes.

QROPS Pension Centre specialise exclusively in providing a full, impartial tracking and assessment service for non UK residents who, regardless of nationality, have accumulated UK Pension funds.

All UK Pension holders already living or intending to move overseas, would be well advised to examine their own position and the transfer options now available to them.

Overseas Pension

Up until recently, the options for those living overseas with UK pension funds in excess of the State Scheme, were extremely limited butthis situation has now changed!

Previously there was no regulated and approved arrangement that allowed for the transfer of funds to an overseas scheme recognised by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This meant that monies were trapped in existing schemes and bound by their rules, or transferrable only to other UK arrangements. The result was an inflexible, unfriendly tax environment for what are an important part of most peoples' finances. In the majority of cases now however, there are significant advantages for those who qualify for the QROPS system.

QROPS PENSION CENTRE deals exclusively with the tracking and assessment of UK Pension Funds, for the purpose of establishing the merits or otherwise of this important option.

What is a QROPS?

Pensions "A" Day, enacted in the UK in 2006, made provision for those living overseas, to transfer their existing UK Pension Scheme into more flexible arrangements offshore that reflect a "non-resident for tax purposes" status, with the approval of HMRC. The official name for this part of the Act is known as QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme).

QROPS is a specialist area of financial planning and the benefits are significant for the majority of people and their families. However, there are certain circumstances and existing schemes where the advantages are not sufficient for a transfer to any other scheme, either within or outside the UK. An initial viability assessment by us will quickly identify those schemes which will benefit from an HMRC approved QROPS transfer, and those which are best left where they are – our advisor will confirm this with you.

Do I Qualify?

If you are now resident overseas, or imminently becoming so, and have, what is referred to as "Retained Benefits" (existing pension monies) in the UK, regardless of nationality, you may well be eligible for a QROPS transfer. Please note that by retained benefits we are referring to holdings over and above the UK State Pension.

The caveats to the above are that certain types of schemes which offer quality defined benefits, the Civil Service Pension for example. would not warrant a transfer to any other scheme, UK or QROPS. In addition, there are certain minimum values, below which the viability of such a transfer may come into question.

QROPS Pension Centre are specialist advisers working exclusively in this field and following "best advice" guidelines have the means to professionally assess your current UK pension arrangements. This includes running a critical yield analysis where required, with a view to establishing whether or not an overseas pension transfer is the right course of action for you.

Why Guernsey?

Guernsey is internationally recognised as one of the world's premier and most closely regulated offshore financial centres and is home to many major international and UK banks, investment businesses, insurance companies and asset management institutions, servicing a global client base.

The island is protected by the British Crown but is self-governing and enjoys the same level of independence it has had since first becoming associated with England. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission is the regulatory body for the finance sector. Guernsey provides all of the following for international investors:

  • Political stability
  • Fiscal independence
  • A favourable tax regime
  • Excellent communications
  • A high level of legal and financial expertise
  • No exchange controls
  • Confidentiality - no public filing of trust deeds
  • A modern Trust Law providing protection for beneficiaries

Guernsey is now home to some 150 licensed financial services providers, ranging from large organisations to independent, boutique operations and together they employ approximately 2,200 staff and hold between £250bn and £300bn worth of assets in trust.

Perhaps most importantly, Guernsey is on the G20 ‘white list' as having substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard and it is these developments which were central to it being named 'International Finance Centre of the Year' at the STEP Private Client Awards 2008/9.

For those clients seeking a safe and compliant home for their accumulated pension rights, Guernsey should be considered as a preferred jurisdiction.

Main FAQ's

Why Independent Professional Advisers?

There are, in fact, a significant number of QROPS Providers and therefore professional advice is essential. Pension transfers are a specialist area of financial planning and assessments should only be performed by independent professional advisers who can take a holistic approach.

It is important to note that QROPS Pension Centre are independent specialists whose partners operate under “best advice” guidelines and have no financial interest in any QROPS Trust. Equally, no QROPS Trust has any financial interest in QROPS Pension Centre.

The IFA assessment process will determine the best course of action for any individual situation, based on a complete analysis of the schemes available.

How is QROPS taxed?

Guernsey does not tax non-Guernsey and non-Jersey residents, thus income payments and pension lump sum benefits are paid without the deduction of tax.

Can a US resident transfer a UK pension to a QROPS?

Such a transfer can be considered if the client has taken specific US tax advice and the opinion was favourable. The client would need to share the written advice with the trustees. IFA are aware of developments to structure a QROPS that is compatible with US tax laws and we hope to have further information available in the near future.

Can I transfer commercial property held by a UK pension?

A UK pension can make an “in specie” transfer of commercial property to a QROPS. IFA have been advised that no stamp duty is payable on the transaction unless the property is mortgaged and in which case stamp duty is payable on the value of the debt. When the property has been transferred all of the rental income less any allowable expenses would be taxed at 20% when held by an offshore company. Any capital gains would continue to be tax-free.

Case Studies

Mr W.

A wealthy businessman from his thirties onwards, Mr. W had accumulated an amount almost equal to the HMRC lifetime allowance (currently £1.75 Million for 2009-10, then £1.80 Million for 2010/11 to 2015/16), within his Pension Scheme.

Now living overseas, he was very concerned to preserve these monies for his three children, after the ultimate demise of he and his wife.

After age 75, UK residents are required to purchase an annuity if they wish to avoid the 70-82% tax levy on the pension holder’s death. The 70% is standard but this percentage is increased should the individual fall into the Inheritance Tax bracket (currently £325,000 for 2009-10). Other than the much criticised annuity option, for overseas residents, a QROPS is the only way to avoid this ubiquitous charge, on lifetime pension savings.

IFA wasted no time in performing a critical yields analysis, to ensure such a transfer was within “best advice” guidelines, in his case.

Once confirmed the transfer was in his best interests, IFA arranged for the QROPS trustees to move swiftly to establish his Trust and IFA organised the portfolio in such a way as to provide sufficient income, with the real possibility of capital growth.

The conclusion is that IFA have been able to ensure that the better part of 2 million pounds will, on his demise, go directly to his family.

Mr S.

In common with many people, Mr S. had been employed by a number of companies throughout his career. The length of service varied in each case but the total amount, once combined, was in excess of £100,000.

At 55, he had left the UK for sunnier climes and was in a quandary as to how to deal with his UK pension rights.

With his authority IFA obtained the relevant information from the original providers and it became apparent that none of his schemes had any specific guarantees or defined benefits, which increased the likelihood of a transfer to a QROPS being in his best interests.

Mr S. had no interest in becoming involved in the management of his funds on a day to day basis and the decision was made to utilise the QROPS “Managed” fund of a major UK Institution, issued through their Guernsey office.

After completion of the transfers, Mr S. now withdraws 8% of his fund per annum, payable monthly to his overseas account, which he can access through the local ATM system or via internet banking. Subject to the trustees approval, he can also request “lifetime requirement” payments for one-off purchases, such as home improvement or a new car.

He has no intention of returning to the UK, therefore there is no requirement for him ever to purchase an annuity, allowing him to leave all his remaining pension fund intact for the benefit of his dependants. In addition, there will be no liability to Inheritance Tax and his nominated beneficiaries will receive the funds direct, with no requirement for probate.

For Further QROPS Information

Please feel free to call into the Pattaya Jomtien Property associate office, located at 70/28 Moo 12, Thepprasit Soi 5, Jomtien and pick up your FREE information leaflet on the pension options that are now available to you and how IFA International, together with the QROPS Pension Centre, can help you benefit from the recent changes to the pensions regulations in the UK and free financial planning advice.

IFA Partners

Friends Provident International are part of Friends Provident Group Plc, a UK listed FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 Company. Established in 1832, the company is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (UK) and has funds under management of over 48 billion pounds. Friends Provident employs 3,600 people, has 2.5 million policyholders, and strong credit ratings from Moody's, Standard & Poor's & Fitch.

Man Investments is part of Man Group Plc, a world leading investment management business with over $ 43 billion under management. Man Investments provides asset management and investment management services to private investors, institutions, and financial professionals around the world.

Royal London 360 is the international division of the Royal London Group, the largest mutual life and pensions company in the UK with group funds under management of 35 billion pounds serving 3.6 million customers, and employing 2,890 people.

IFA International Ltd is the appointed intermediary company for the Far East region. IFA handle QROPS enquiries for Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. The partners of IFA have over 50 years experience both onshore UK and Offshore Asia and specialise in QROPS, Offshore Trusts, Wealth Protection and Inheritance Planning.

Contact IFA

Asia Pacific region time zones, (including Australia and New Zealand) please contact us at our QROPS advisory centre in Asia:

IFA International Ltd
Level 29, The  Offices at Central World
999/9 Rama 1 Road Pathumwan
10330 Thailand

UK and European time zones, please contact us at our QROPS Pension Trustee and Administration Services company:

Bourse Pension Trustees Limited
PO Box 646,
Havelet House,
181 South Esplanade,
St Peter Port Guernsey,
GY1 3JS Channel Islands