Thursday, 30 September 2010

September in summary

  • QROPS

  • International Pension Planning

  • Lost, mislaid and forgotten accounts


As we have reached the last day of the calendar month, I thought I would reflect on the main issues and topics from the 14 posts in ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ during September.

The most feedback in terms of readers contacting me was without doubt the topic of QROPS. During October I will update the post 'QROPS - Questions and Answers' to incorporate some of your queries. I’m always pleased to receive emails

Using the statistics provided by my service contractor, I can also indicate the most popular posts in terms of the number of people who visited the pages. They were, in order;

  1. Lost, mislaid and forgotten Accounts


  1. New Zealand QROPS


If you need advice please email me for connection to an authorised and regulated adviser.

  1. QROPS Week Feedback


The blog is also being read far and wide. So far, according to my statistics, it has been read in 16 countries. Not surprisingly, the furthest away being New Zealand.

The top three in order;

  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • France

It is great to be able to give you the feedback and readership popularity but I thought I’d also tell you what I enjoyed most of all.

Most of my writing comes from personal experience as an adviser, from my first hand knowledge in Spain and lots of reading to keep up to date with trends and changes. However, one article that pleased me enormously was the one on Section 615, UK Pension, 100% cash’. So why did I enjoy that one?

  • Based on a fairly ‘old’ piece of legislation, Income and Corporation Taxes Act (ICTA) 1988, I needed to do extensive research to bring myself up to date
  • Most expats that I come across are those who have retired in Spain. Section 615 was a new challenge – its one for the workers! Those who live and work in Spain. This is genuinely a great opportunity.
  • It was good to raise a subject which few advisers know and to give a brief insight into a ‘new’ subject from a tried and tested piece of legislation



I would also like ideas. If any reader thinks that there is a subject that I should cover, please drop me an email

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Why Invest Offshore?


·         Not for tax evasion!

·         Lost faith in British & Irish Banks

·         Strategic financial planning


The term “offshore” originally comes from financial institutions located offshore from UK in the Channel Islands, but is now used figuratively to refer to banks in many regions, particularly Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Bahamas and politically neutral European jurisdictions such as Switzerland.

Individuals or organisations (including companies and businesses) may be interested in placing assets offshore for a variety of legitimate reasons, including:

1. The existence of a sophisticated infrastructure of financial institutions and  professional service providers (lawyers, accountants, corporate services, etc). This is particularly true of Jersey and Guernsey where most of the financial services professionals will have trained in the UK

2. Tighter government regulation in the region in which the financial institution is domiciled. This may allow for a relatively favourable investment environment as compared to onshore.

3. Access to politically and economically stable jurisdictions. This may be an advantage for individuals who lack faith in the financial institutions in their ‘home’ country. After experiences of the last few years many British and Irish people might have lost faith in Banks.

4. Tax neutral.  Having no added local tax burden is a useful advantage for individuals who are not obligated to pay tax on worldwide income, or who may be able to defer taxation.  It also allows individuals to structure their assets without having to worry about local tax complications.

5. As part of estate and/or asset protection planning.

6. Broader "global" view than often found with onshore institutions.

7. Strong privacy and confidentiality laws to help protect depositor's privacy.

Before considering any offshore investments you should carefully consider you objectives and decide what you are trying to achieve. The expertise in giving you advice needs to be at a high level. I can recommend advisers with the expertise, if you email me. You might therefore also like to read my previous post which covers getting good advice.


Tax Evasion Warning
Individuals with non-legitimate intentions may also seek to do business offshore, just as they do onshore, incorrectly assuming that their activities may be more likely to be overlooked or found acceptable. This of course is tax evasion and is illegal. The only advice I can offer such individuals is to make themselves legal and legitimate! Use an authorised and regulated adviser that I will be happy to recommend id you email me



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You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

Monday, 27 September 2010

Tax avoidance and Tax evasion

These subjects have been made relevant, pertinent and current by a speech by Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Liverpool.

  • Avoidance and evasion are not the same

  • Tax avoidance is legal

  • Tax evasion is illegal


Tax Evasion - Definition
Unlawful attempt to minimise tax liability through fraudulent techniques to circumvent or frustrate tax laws, such as deliberate under-statement of taxable income or wilful non-payment of due taxes. Whereas tax evasion is an offense (punishable by both civil and criminal penalties), tax avoidance is not.

If you need advice or have a query please email me

Examples

  • Being resident in Spain (i.e. living in Spain for more than 183 days in a calendar year) but not registering with the tax authorities
  • Not declaring income from property letting
  • Spanish resident having an Individual Savings Account in the UK
  • Not declaring gross paid interest on offshore accounts


Tax Avoidance - Definition
Lawful minimisation of tax liability through sound financial planning techniques such as phasing the sale of assets over a period long enough to effect maximum exemption from capital gains tax. Whereas tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is not.

I am quite happy to answer any queries you may have but I will refer you to an adviser for authorised and regulated advice, if you email me

Examples

  • Pension schemes are legitimate and avoid tax
  • UK residents having an Individual Savings Account
  • The legitimate use of ‘loopholes’ created by poorly drafted legislation or statutory instruments
  • QROPS for UK non-residents
  • QNUPS
  • The legitimate use of offshore trusts to hold assets


Notes to Mr Alexander

  • Tax avoidance schemes have to be registered with the tax authorities (HMRC) so you have chance to stop them
  • Ensure that legislation is correctly drafted to avoid loopholes
  • Please encourage pension savings
  • Stop confusing legal tax avoidance with illegal tax evasion
 Tax is high on the agenda in all counties as Governments struggle with huge deficits.

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You can write to me with your personal experiences, ask me a question or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Lost, forgotten and misplaced Accounts (updated)

I thought that QROPS week had been very successful and the feedback was really good to receive. However, in visitor numbers the most hits have been on 'Lost, forgotten and misplaced accounts'.


I have updated the blog as I found an extra website which may add to your searches. My original post mainly centred on pensions, life policies and bank accounts. I have found a website which includes lists, which may themselves trigger reminders of items you have mislaid.

Given the number of privatisations and building society conversions to banks, many of you may also hold shares. If you might have lost, misplaced or forgotten about these shares please try this link


I hope that your searches are profitable! If you find more sites please email me


* * * * * * *


PS If you recover lots of cash, please remember the guy that told you about it!

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Any adviser can advertise on the internet or in a newspaper but that does not guarantee that they are properly authorised and regulated.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email



Wednesday, 22 September 2010

UK Pension, 100% Cash

·        Even if you work overseas

QROPS and QNUPS are relatively new having come from Statutory Instruments (SI) from 2006 and 2010 respectively. The idea I am bringing here is based on a 1988 Act of Parliament. In other words it’s tried and trusted.

  • UK approval by HMRC

  • Benefits can be 100% cash

  • Residency, Domicile and Nationality are not relevant


First of all the Technical point;

An International Pension Scheme has been arranged pursuant to Section 615(6) of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988. This has been accepted by HMRC. The Section applicable is this weblink


For this article I shall be referring to this scheme as ‘Section 615’.

I telephoned a number of UK Financial Advisers, operating in Spain, and asked them if they could advise me about a Section 615. Not one of them could tell me! If as a result of this post, you want to talk to an adviser who does know and has advised others, please email me.

There are a number of categories of people who can benefit from Section 615.

  • Employees of UK companies whose duties are conducted wholly outside UK
  • Employees of multi-national employers where an overseas parent company has a UK presence
  • Employees of UK companies, who are UK resident, but who undertake duties inside and outside the UK

Whilst these categories relate to ‘employees’, there is no reason why a self employed person or a partnership could not establish a company for the purposes of becoming employees and benefitting from these schemes. For advice please email me.

The Benefits

For the employer

  • Contributions are allowable against corporation tax in the UK
  • There is no UK National Insurance to pay on the contribution

For the employee

  • There is no tax liability on the contributions
  • 100% of the fund as cash at retirement age
  • Benefits are tax free in the UK
  • Death benefits can be paid to nominated beneficiaries
  • All of the fund can be paid as cash on leaving the service of the company
  • There is no local tax on these contributions as there is no income
  • Even though employed by a UK company there is no National Insurance cost

A wide range of permitted investments, which include;

  • Insurance policies
  • Cash and money funds
  • Equities
  • Fixed interest securities
  • Property


This is only an outline of Section 615 but each time I think about it, more groups of people seem to be potential beneficiaries of the Scheme. If you think you might benefit, or just want more information, please email me.


* * * * * * *

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

Any personal information that you give me will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and care. Your details will only be passed to a third party with your written authority.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Successful and Sound Financial Planning



  • Carefully consider your objectives

  • Insist on clear and unambiguous charges & commissions

  • Understand your own ‘attitude to risk’

  • Get all advice in writing


I apologise in advance if these points are obvious but I increasingly find that individuals, couples and partners are not clear in what they have and what they want.

Let me also bring your attention to some items, which in my opinion often lead to inaccurate, misleading and false information. My three least favourite comments are;

  1. ‘It was in an advert in a newspaper’
The content of an advertisement is not necessarily accurate

  1. ‘I heard somewhere that……..’
Hearsay, conversations in bars and rumours are notorious in giving misleading advice

  1. ‘They are a well known company, they must be good’
Just never make that assumption, do your homework and find out for yourself

Financial Planning is not an exact science and you would be amazed how many people with very different circumstances and different objectives are sold an ‘off-the-peg’ solution. Many financial advisers are in effect product salesmen. Beware  If you want to be recommended to an adviser who will talk to you about your objectives please email me.

If the adviser does not provide clearly and openly what the charges are, it begs the question ‘What has he or she got to hide?’ It has been Financial Services Authority (FSA) policy in the UK for open disclosure of charges and commissions since 1993. Yet even FSA authorised advisers in Spain often do not disclose all charges and commissions. I see no reason why a table of charges should not be clearly set out in writing.

Good advisers are always happy to be open and will answer your requests in writing. If you would like to be recommended to an adviser please email me.

In my opinion, your attitude to investment risk is a key question that an adviser should ask. As this is not a concept you may not have heard before, the best advisers will give you examples. As most will use a Confidential Questionnaire or Fact Find, they can explain the concept based on your needs and desires.

Never be afraid to ask questions and expect answers. Of course if you ask an adviser a technical or obscure question he or she may need to seek clarification themselves. But always insist on your questions being answered.

* * * * * * *


If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Please take note of the points in this article.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email


Friday, 17 September 2010

QROPS Week - Feedback


Week commencing 6th September was QROPS Week on Financial Pages in Spain.  The feedback has been excellent (thank you all) so now I’m letting all readers have a flavour of this. I’m still happy to receive more comments too

  • ‘Financial Pages in Spain' spreads far and wide

  • High charges was a common theme

  • New Zealand QROPS got the highest readership


‘Financial Pages in Spain’ was started since I had extensive knowledge of UK financial services but especially pensions and retirement planning. My knowledge of financial issues in Spain came from being unable to find reliable independent advice in Spain, when my wife and I bought our first Spanish house In 2002. I therefore did my own research.

But ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ has received contacts from other countries other than Spain and the UK ;

  *   Canada                                              *  France
  *   Portugal                                             *  Cyprus
  *   Ireland                                                *  USA

In most cases I have been able to find contacts in these countries and also have former colleagues working in territories where expats live. Please email me for a recommendation

+ + + + +

The most common feedback that I have received is on high charges. In many cases, it has been the difference between the individual effecting the transfer to QROPS and doing nothing.

One reader brought his experience to me in some detail. The potential transfer from three pension funds came to £174,495. In the report from the adviser the charges were not listed in a table format, to make them clear, but were hidden in the detail. However he put them all together and did his own calculation.

The proposed investment in the QROPS was a life assurance investment bond. The initial charges amounted to more than £5,000 and the on-going annual charges were over £3,500 and he would be locked into this investment for 10 years! They did not get his QROPS business and he walked away from them.

The UK does tend to have lower charges than most of Europe and QROPS is a complex concept which needs professional advice. I will be happy to recommend an adviser if you email me.

On a related subject, one reader told me that he had gone to a UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) because he expected disclosure of commission, as he would have got in the UK. The adviser said that there was no requirement to disclose commission because he was in Spain. I believe that is technically correct but if advisers advertise that they are FSA registered they should give clients UK rules.

+ + + + +

Based on the readership figures that I get weekly from my service provider, there was a clear winner as the most popular article.

Day four of QROPS Week dealt with New Zealand QROPS. Over time this has been a contentious subject and much misinformation has been given in the Expat Press. If you didn’t get to read my blog that day, here is another chance. http://expatsfrombritain.blogspot.com/2010/09/qrops-week-day-four.html

NZ does stand out amongst the territories which have approved QROPS. However, I cannot, as requested, recommend a particular NZ trustee. However, I can recommend an adviser who specialises in New Zealand QROPS, if you email me



* * * * * *

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Any adviser can advertise on the internet or in a newspaper but that does not guarantee that they are properly authorised and regulated.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

Wednesday, 15 September 2010



QNUPS – Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes

Oh no – not another acronym!

  • Who will most benefit?

  • Remember that QNUPS is a Pension Scheme

  • Ideal for In-Specie Transfers


Firstly I think the technical description. The Inheritance Tax (Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes) Regulations 2010 [S1 2010/0511] have introduced this acronym ‘QNUPS’. Weblink gets you to the precise Statutory Instrument (SI).


I have just read an article by a leading International Financial Adviser (that’s their description not mine) which contains inaccurate information. So very much like QROPS, with QNUPS you need advice from the right source. I can provide you access to a professional adviser, if you email me.

In short, earlier this year HMRC confirmed that contributions to a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme, would be exempt from UK IHT. What this means is that as long as the pension walks and talks like a pension, then the assets held in it will be protected from UK IHT.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but I believe there are four categories of individuals who will most benefit from or should consider a QNUPS;

  • Any UK resident who from 6th April 2010 will be restricted on their UK pension contributions to basic rate tax relief.
  • UK domiciled persons (that includes many UK citizens who have become Spanish residents), and UK residents who want to make pension contributions beyond the UK maximum limits.
  • UK non-residents, including Spanish residents who already have a QROPS but want to add to their pension funds.
  • Any UK resident or domiciled individual who wishes to build up a pension fund in excess of the current lifetime limit


In my article on QROPS Week – Day five, I particularly dealt with the subject of In-Specie transfers.


QNUPS provides an excellent opportunity for in-specie transfers. Investments you have built up, properties you own and other revenue producing assets can just as easily be a pension contribution. The investment does not have to be cash but cash is not excluded. Remember that the QNUPS has to be a Pension Scheme but it is also a plan to defend assets from Inheritance Tax (IHT).

If any adviser suggests selling your assets and buying another financial structure beware. In-Specie Transfers offer a much more cost effective route, normally, and also selling assets can lead to a tax charge (eg Capital Gains Tax). To avoid this pitfall please speak to a recommended adviser. Please email me for details.


* * * * * *

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Any adviser can advertise on the internet or in a newspaper but that does not guarantee that they are properly authorised and regulated.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email



Monday, 13 September 2010

Lost, forgotten and misplaced Accounts

Last week was QROPS Week and the response was tremendous, I will be producing a Feedback page at the end of this week. Today I am looking at something which affects a surprisingly high number of people. Please pass on to your family, friends and colleagues.
                                 
  • Pensions – company or personal
  • Insurance Policies
  • Bank Accounts
  • Building Society savings
  • Shares
  • Inheritances
So you’ve moved to Spain (or going to) and you wrote out a ‘To Do List’ (well its probably in your head) but have you missed anything, lost an old bank account, maybe even a small pension with a company you worked for 25 years ago? Just think about it for a few minutes. Talk to all of your family and friends and you never know what you might recall.

My own enquiries had started when I found a website called ‘my lost account’. This is run in conjunction with the British Bankers Association (BBA) and the Building Societies Association (BSA). If you have lost accounts or think you may have unclaimed assets, as long as you can identify yourself, you can reclaim your money.

Financial institutions have literally billions of pounds in unclaimed assets, waiting for their rightful owners to collect. Did you know that uncollected inheritances go to the HM Treasury?

If you have pensions you cannot trace, then a financial adviser may be able to help. Many companies have been taken over or merged and can be difficult to trace. I will recommend a regulated adviser if you email me.

ITV ran a programme which concentrated on life assurance policies, but the same is true of shares, bank accounts and building society funds.

I will give you three sources where you can look




Seriously it is worth a look. If you find any others, please email me and I’ll add them to my blog.

What’s more you could be doing your family, friends and neighbours a great favour by passing on this information. You just never know……….

* * * * * * *

PS If you recover lots of cash, please remember the guy that told you about it!

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Any adviser can advertise on the internet or in a newspaper but that does not guarantee that they are properly authorised and regulated.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email









Friday, 10 September 2010

QROPS Week - Day five

This is QROPS Week, on Financial Pages in Spain. An article has appeared here daily dealing with different aspects of QROPS. Day five today is the final day and deals with various QROPS issues.


Avoid Long term lock-ins
Times change, investment conditions change and an individual investment group may not always be as good as you first thought. This suggests that you need flexibility to change as circumstances change.

There is one company which locks you in for 10 years with very high penalty charges if you want to get out! But at least it guarantees not only their initial commission but the trail commission for at least 10 years. For an alternative adviser please email me

Access to Cash
The question of New Zealand QROPS has already been mentioned this week. It should also be noted that since Pensions Simplification in April 2006, the vast majority of schemes can pay, in the UK, 25% of the fund as tax free cash. This is an important option which should be borne in mind.

In-Specie transfers
I recently had a conversation with an English guy now living and working in Spain who was telling me about his Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). Naturally, I asked if he had considered transferring to a QROPS. He told me that he was very happy with the investment returns in his SIPP and that his ‘adviser’ had told him that it wasn’t possible to transfer the assets in his SIPP to QROPS!

Wrong

Such a transfer is possible and is known as an In-Specie transfer, this is perfectly possible and clearly good advice where the individual is pleased with his investment performance. He has ditched the ‘adviser’ and only the possibility of a return to the UK is holding up his in-specie transfer. Please don’t get the wrong ‘adviser’ email me

Why not Spain?
Spain does not recognise a trust structure, which is necessary to accept a UK pension. Therefore any potential transfer to a QROPS by a Spanish resident would take assets currently in held in trust, out of trust, with negative taxation consequences.

It is much better for Spanish residents to have the capital sums outside Spain in a trust and then for any income to be taken and declared in Spain. By declaring that the income is an annuity, which Spanish law recognises, favourable tax treatment is given, even though an annuity need not be bought from a pension provider.

Which is the best QROPS jurisdiction?
The only honest answer is that it depends on personal circumstances and can also be determined by an individuals own preferences. I can say that for Spanish residents the worst jurisdiction would be Spain!

By being open and frank with an authorised and regulated adviser, a plan can emerge which has to be in the individuals best interests. If you email me, please give me a brief outline of your circumstances and what your immediate objectives might be. I will ensure that you get authorised and regulated advice. If you live in Spain and are considering a Pension Transfer (including QROPS), the adviser that I recommend will regulated by one or more of the following;

CNMV
Comision Nacional del Mercado del Valores is the principal financial services regulator in Spain and responsible for authorising investment products.

DGS
Direccion General de Seguros y Fondos de Pensions is the Spanish regulator for insurance products which can be marketed in Spain.

FSA
The Financial Services Authority - the UK's financial services regulator.

* * * * * * *

Feedback please!
If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Any adviser can advertise on the internet or in a newspaper but that does not guarantee that they are properly authorised and regulated.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email


Thursday, 9 September 2010

QROPS Week - Day four

This is QROPS Week, on Financial Pages in Spain. An article will appear here daily dealing with different aspects of QROPS. Day four today deals with New Zealand QROPS.

  • Taking cash

  • HMRC Approved

  • Low annuity rates


New Zealand (NZ) QROPS have one feature which I have not seen in any other jurisdiction. After being UK non-resident for 5 or more complete tax years, the funds held in a New Zealand QROPS can be taken as cash, on the basis of a ‘return of capital’. The big question is why?

All QROPS have to be approved and are regulated and monitored by the UK tax authorities (HMRC). The Trustees of schemes have to report to HMRC all details of cash withdrawals for a period of 5 complete tax years. Those withdrawals must be in line with UK pension rules and law. After 5 complete tax years ( UK tax years starting on 6th April ), there is no requirement for the QROPS trustees to report to HMRC and crucially, the QROPS then becomes governed by the rules and taxes of the jurisdiction in which they are.

In the case of New Zealand rules, a lump sum can be taken and there is no tax deducted for non-New Zealand residents.

If, like me, you have seen many articles suggesting that NZ schemes are questionable, then I have to say they are just wrong. This short article is the most difficult one I have written this week, mainly because of misinformation about NZ. On the latest HMRC list of approved schemes, dated 23rd August 2010, there are more than 60 approved New Zealand schemes. To get access to the best NZ QROPS, please email me.

My own view is that the people most likely to benefit from NZ QROPS are ;

  • Where the fund is less than £100,000 (though there could be bigger cases)
  • Where the fund size is more than £18,000 (outside age ranges of 60 to 75)
  • Where the individual already qualifies as UK non-resident for 5 or more complete UK tax years
These are only guidelines and depend on personal circumstances. To get advice from a New Zealand specialist please email me.

With annuity rates being very low at present, the amount of income that be taken from a ‘small’ fund is very low indeed. I used a comparison site published by the Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB) which used to be part of the Financial Services Authority.

I put in the following criteria;

Male aged 65
Fund of £60,000
Taking regular monthly income
Income increasing yearly in line with Retail Prices Index
Single life basis (no widows pension)
No guaranteed time period

The very best annuity available is £201 per month, from Canada Life!

So you’ve handed over £60,000 and all you get is £201 per month! That’s not all. If you want to provide for a widow you’ll get less.

With the help of a good adviser (email me for a recommendation), you would not get a better annuity rate but you would get better investment advice.

* * * * * * *


Tomorrow I shall be dealing with a number of issues and summarising QROPS Week on Financial Pages in Spain.

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Any adviser can advertise on the internet or in a newspaper but that does not guarantee that they are properly authorised and regulated.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

QROPS Week - Day three


This is QROPS Week, on Financial Pages in Spain. An article will appear here daily dealing with different aspects of QROPS. Day three today deals with Malta and the Isle of Man as financial centres offering QROPS.

  • Isle of Man QROPS

  • Malta QROPS

  • Get the best advice


Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is a stable place for financial planning because it is a low tax environment, has expertise in tax planning and is mainly served by UK trained advisers, lawyers and accountants.

For Spanish residents and people planning to live in Spain, the Isle of Man is not a good place for your QROPS. The Isle of Man does not have a Double Taxation Treaty with Spain. This means that tax collected in the Isle of Man cannot be offset in Spain or claimed back.

It is the policy of the Isle of Man to apply a withholding tax from pension income including QROPS made by non-Isle of man residents. The Isle of Man is a good jurisdiction, for residents in a country that has a Double Taxation Treaty such as Norway, Sweden or Finland.

Do not fall into this trap. To be recommended to an adviser who knows these rules very well, please email me.

Malta
Malta has three distinct advantages when dealing with British and Irish clients, especially those who become residents in Spain.

  • Malta is an English speaking country
  • A low cost economy
  • A member of the European Union

After many months of negotiations, Malta as an established Financial Services Centre was given approval by HMRC to offer QROPS in November 2009. Individual trustees then need to get approval from the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). It was not until February 2010 that the first QROPS were approved.

In my opinion, Malta will become a major centre for QROPS in the future. At present there are not many schemes available. My sources tell me that the MFSA requires lots of detailed information before approving any scheme. That is very good news, especially if it gives investor protection.

In the long term it is possible that Malta could even rank alongside Guernsey as a QROPS jurisdiction. However at present the shortage of choice means that good knowledgeable and regulated advice is needed. I can recommend an adviser if you email me.

* * * * * *


Tomorrow I shall be discussing New Zealand QROPS.

If you have your own question, I’d be delighted to answer it. Those of you who live in Spain or intend to live in Spain should be very careful when choosing an adviser. Any adviser can advertise on the internet or in a newspaper but that does not guarantee that they are properly authorised and regulated.

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email