As you live in Australia and have UK pension benefits you may be aware that you can no longer transfer the funds into the Australian Super system until you are aged 55.
There remains, however, some excellent opportunities available to help you maximize your future retirement funds. With the current market forces in place, it is an opportune time to investigate these further.
Defined Benefits (Final Salary)
If you have a defined benefit scheme entitlement you possibly have access to an historically high CETV. You can still take advantage of this without transferring to Australia. (Once properly analysed). This could potentially lock in these values now, protecting your own future.
We are one of a small handful of financial planning firms, based in Australia, with the appropriate licensing to recommend a UK Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). This enables you to take advantage of a potentially high CETV and yet remain invested in the United Kingdom.
As this is such an important area of advice we have dedicated a whole page for you to read. Click here.
Defined Contributions (Money Purchase)
If you have a defined contribution arrangement you may well be paying high fees or receiving consistently poor returns or even worse, both. This is why you need advice from a properly qualified adviser (UK Diploma and G60 or AF3) based in Australia. Unlike in Australia, the UK pension arena has over 40 different styles of defined contribution pensions.
For example, is your fund a Section 226, a Section 32, or perhaps a Stakeholder pension? Does it contain GMP, capital units or initial units? Is it a traditional or unitised With Profit fund and, if so, what are the implications of transferring out? Are there embedded GARs and what does that mean to you? What are the death benefit entitlements, ROCNI, ROCWI, or face value?
To not review your current UK pension funds, based on the fact you cannot yet transfer to Australia, may seriously impact on your ultimate retirement income.
Why consider a transfer?
- Current defined benefit schemes are providing historically high Cash Equivalent Transfer Values (CETV)
- Access to modern investment portfolio structures and performance
- Avoid highly charged UK pension contracts
- Consolidate numerous funds to one clear fee structure
- Remove poor death benefit entitlements
- Uncertainty surrounding BREXIT
- Access to local, UK and Australian qualified advice and fee structure
- Regular financial reviews in Australia
Just as an Australian based financial adviser will make recommendations regarding super rollovers to one appropriate Super fund; the same process applies to your UK pensions.
You need to review your funds to ensure they are working in your best interests and are not heavily charged and/or have consistently poor investment returns.
Many older style UK pensions have high charges, poor ongoing returns and little or no value if you die before taking the income!
UK Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)
In line with the new 25% Overseas Tax Charge (click here for more information) it is now unlikely to be in your best interests to transfer to a QROPS that is not based in the country that you live.
So where does that leave you if you have a defined benefit pension or a highly charged, poorly performing defined contribution pension?
The answer is a UK-based Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) that we can advise you on.
The advantages of using our SIPP are:
- Access to a modern platform charging structure
- Access to state of the art Financial Technology (FinTech)
- Access to investment portfolios based in GBP or AUD, whichever is your preference
- Reduced costs
- Full return of fund death benefits
- Regular strategic reviews by an Australian based adviser
- No requirement to decide whether you will retire in Australia
Alternative Jurisdiction QROPS Advice
The UK Spring budget (8th March 2017) introduced a fully expected and immediate tax charge of 25% of your fund value if you transfer your UK pension fund to a jurisdiction that you are not a tax resident in. (Outside of EU jurisdictions).
Prior to this date many under 55 year old expats were being advised to transfer their pension funds out of the UK into a QROPS in alternative tax jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Malta or New Zealand. This can no longer be the case for the majority of UK pension clients.
We are fully able to make specific recommendations if an alternative QROPS jurisdiction, particularly New Zealand, can enhance your retirement plans in addition to Australia.