Concerns for UK based pensioners post-Brexit? QROPS might save the day for expat pensioners concerned over the survival of their pensions, James Barlow writes With such high numbers of pensions directly linked to the state of the economy, it isn’t surprising that there are concerns amongst British expat pensioners about the survival of their respective schemes. Bearing in mind that most pension funds are managed by investment brokers and managers, the amount of gains a pension accrues would be directly proportionate to how the economy fares in the sector where their monies have been invested. In other words, with trade and the economy being a huge concern in the wake of the Leave vote, expat pensioners are concerned over the survival of their pensions. There is however a potential simple remedy available, in the form of a QROPS. QROPS might save the day for expat pensioners In all, it is estimated that there are almost 2 million British expats living abroad, mostly in European countries with Spain having the largest number. Of those 1.8+ million expats, it is estimated that almost 25% of them are receiving a pension in the UK. With growing concerns over the health of UK pensions in the wake of Brexit though, many are now beginning to seek the help of financial experts such as Tilney, with the aim of protecting their money by transferring their UK fund to a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme, or QROPS. Changes in QROPS set to take place in April An important factor to consider with a QROPS though is that there are changes set to come into force for these in April 2017. Again, this has caused concerns amongst expats with such schemes already in place. To summarise some of the key changes, those with a QROPS will be able to take out as much as 25% without paying tax on that money, with some sources saying that sum can be up to 30% depending on the fund. After that, they can pay as high as 50% tax on money they withdraw. With this, some investment brokers have suggested that they then roll that amount (the amount above 25%) over to an offshore QROPS. Don’t draw any conclusions without seeking expert advice As the law reads, an offshore pension known as QROPS is for those pensioners currently living abroad and those soon to move abroad. There is some question as to the legality of a British resident transferring their pension to a QROPS and whether or not an expat pensioner’s new home nation will look to tax any income from that fund. Currently there are some countries where British pensioners don’t necessarily need to pay income tax, one being South Africa; so it is advisable to speak with an investment manager prior to personally relocating, or moving any money whatsoever. As well as this, expert advice should be sought by those with any fears regarding what Brexit may do to a UK-based fund and whether this could lead to any changes in tax laws which could also have an effect.
There is some question as to the legality of a British resident transferring their pension to a QROPS and whether or not an expat pensioner’s new home nation will look to tax any income from that fund

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