If you leave your pension scheme the benefits you’ve built up still belong to you. You have the option to transfer them to another pension scheme, which could be based abroad.
If you're living or working overseas and you have pension benefits held in one or more UK pension schemes, you may want to think about transferring these to an overseas pension scheme (which could include your current employer’s scheme).
UK pension benefits can only be transferred to an overseas pension scheme if it is recognised by HM Revenue & Customs as a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS). You can find out more about QROPs by reading out spotlight here.
To be recognised as a QROPS, the scheme must be:
- Regulated as a pension scheme in the country where it is established; and
- Recognised for tax purposes (so benefits that are paid to you from the scheme must be subject to taxation).
If the new scheme is not a QROPS, your scheme administrator or pension provider can’t transfer your UK pension benefits to it. If it's a QROPS, the transfer goes ahead in the same way as a transfer to a UK pension scheme. If the new scheme is not currently a QROPS, it can apply to be approved as a QROPS and, if this is granted, the transfer can go ahead. If your UK pension benefits that you are transferring include contracted-out benefits, your UK scheme will have to go through a few extra steps to make sure that the QROPS you are transferring to is suitable.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have issued information for consumers on transferring or switching UK pensions into international self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) which can be found by clicking here.
Where can I find out more?
If you need more information, please contact us. A pension specialist from our team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Our help is always free.