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 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.

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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