Sunday, 22 March 2015

2015: UK Budget, Pensions & QROPS

Also looking from the perspective of a British Expat in Spain

From the changes first announced in the 2014 Budget through to the immediate changes last year, the UK Autumn Statement, changes to QROPS recently enacted and on to the last Budget of the current Parliament, one thing is for sure:

UK Pensions will not be the same again!

All of the changes I want to outline, which affect Expats will make one HUGE assumption: Unless you take fully Authorised & Regulated Advice you cannot possibly know the full picture. An advert for QROPS in a newspaper does not take into account YOUR personal circumstances and probably ignores the fundamental changes.

There is NO ‘one size fits all’ approach to pensions anymore, even if there ever was!

Please enquire about regulated advice

UK Pension changes in summary

·        There is no longer the need to convert a pension fund at retirement into an annuity and pension drawdown becomes much more flexible
·        In addition those already in receipt of an annuity can enquire about trading them in for a lump sum though from 2016 not immediately
·        The Pension Commencement Lump Sum (known in the UK as tax-free-cash) does not change but can be taken in a series of lump sums. It still represents 25% of the total fund
·        The fund which remains can be taken in lump sums rather than evenly by month or annually but this is treated as income and therefore taxable
·        If all of the fund is withdrawn as one lump sum, there is the potential for a Huge tax bill at higher rates of tax
·        Please note the give away to these changes: It may be more flexible for those with pension plans but in the next three tax years the UK Treasury will collect INCREASED tax from pension income.

I am more than happy to refer you to a UK Pensions Specialist if you email me with an outline of your circumstances


Many people had assumed that the UK Government would merely replicate the new UK rules to QROPS – but they are NOT

QROPS now become more complex because different jurisdictions will have different rules. Principally, the flexible rules applying to UK pensions, don’t apply to QROPS from April 2015. Those who already have QROPS, are in the process of moving to QROPS or are concerned about the future can contact me  Don’t expect to hear from an existing provider!

In addition, QROPS benefits cannot be taken before age 55.

Even if I cannot answer your queries, I can refer you to a suitably qualified Pensions Specialist

These are fundamental changes but with the correct professional advice, you can get the best from them. Don’t be concerned or worried just ask!

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain
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Further Reading:

Scam Watch Just say NO to cold calls

Professional Advice Always best

La Torre Fx- Foreign Exchange beating the banks on bank transfers!