Lisa Smith, Editor and Writer

Expat for over 15 years with my wonderful two children. A teacher and a writer and in my spare time (which is very little) a surfer. You can usually find me at the beach or in a cafe reading or writing. Currently doing a great deal of research and reading in to expat pension and retirement plans such as QROPS and QNUPS. I would love to hear your comments on any article I write, it really does fuel my passion for journalism :)

What Makes A Start-Up Business Flop?

What Makes A Start-Up Business Flop

Entrepreneurs and their small businesses are the engine room driving Britain’s economic recovery, but out of the thousands of firms opening, few survive to grow into thriving companies. The rate of attrition is high – according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), 20% close within the first year and 50% have disappeared by the

Playing QROPS Tax Aces Under New Pension Reforms

Playing QROPS Tax Aces Under New Pension Reforms

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) have not lost their lustre for expats despite the forthcoming easy access rules giving onshore retirement savers more freedoms to take and spend their cash. The Treasury has confirmed that the new rules will also apply to QROPS – but everyone has to wait and see exactly how they

QROPS Tracker – October 15, 2014

QROPS Tracker

The problem with choosing a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) is anyone can see how many pensions are available offshore, but no one really knows where the money goes. Although HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) publishes a QROPS List on the first and 15th of each month, the document only shows how many pensions

Expat Saving Rates: October 15, 2014

Expat Saving Rates: October 15, 2014

It’s all change for expat savers as offshore banks and building societies pull deals and change rates mainly downward. Skipton International has closed fixed term savings accounts for the time being, but retains a variable rate savings account. Conister Bank, the Isle of Man financial institution that offers market-leading rates has stripped 0.75% off their

Expats flee traffic fines in British-owned cars

Expats flee traffic fines in British-owned cars

European police forces are stepping up a gear in their efforts to collect fines from motoring offences committed overseas by drivers with a car registered in Britain. The European Commission is drafting a new directive to net British, Irish and Danish drivers after the governments in each country opted out of an earlier directive letting

QROPS And The New Flexi-Account Pensions Rules

HMRC

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) rules will change with the publication of Chancellor George Osborne’s pension freedom bill. The long-awaited outline proposals were released by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in an eight-page document. Only a few lines related to QROPS pensions, stating: The government intends to make changes to the Finance Act 2004

GAD rates to disappear with pension reforms

GAD rates to disappear with pension reforms

The fall-out from the government’s new pension rules taking place in April 2015 includes the abolition of the notorious GAD rate that caps how much income retirement savers can take from their pensions. The GAD rate is set by the Government Actuary Department (GAD) and reflects standard annuity rates and limits how much pension cash

World’s Wealthiest Are Giving Away Their Fortunes

World’s Wealthiest Are Giving Away Their Fortunes

The world’s richest people give away more money than most average workers can ever dream of earning in their lifetime, according to new research. Profiling wealthy philanthropists, the report reveals these rich do-gooders hand out an average $25 million, are aged around 64 years old and have an average net worth of $240 million. The

British Expats Still In Love With Australia

British Expats Still In Love With Australia

British expats still rate Australia as the best place to live in the world – but other destinations in the Asia Pacific are seeing a surge in expat popularity as well. Australia was voted top by 90% of British expats who have moved out there. They told researchers for the NatWest International Personal Banking Quality

Ebola Could Spread To Europe Within Weeks

Ebola Could Spread To Europe Within Weeks

Scientists are predicting the deadly Ebola virus that has killed more than 3,400 people in West Africa this year could jump continents into Europe before the end of the year. The epidemic has spread quickly across West Africa since March, affecting thousands and killing many of those infected. World Health Organisation (WHO) scientists working to

Pension Fraudsters Cash In On New Rules Confusion

Pension Fraudsters Cash In On New Rules Confusion

Pension liberation fraudsters are ruthlessly targeting retirement savers in their 50s, according to new research. The scammers are exploiting a lack of knowledge about the age when the over 50s can access their pension cash as the study by financial firm Fidelity shows two-thirds are confused about when they can take their pensions. One in

Expats in Qatar: Pensions & QROPS

Expats in Qatar Pensions & QROPS

Qatar has emerged as a destination of real attraction for British expats, keen to take advantage of the high tax-free salaries and luxurious lifestyle offered by relocation to the wealthiest country in the world. Sectors such as oil, construction and IT in particular are flourishing in the oil-rich state, and with Doha now arguably soon

QROPS Tracker – October 1, 2014

QROPS Tracker

Only 30 Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) have delisted or been suspended in the past year as the offshore pensions market stabilises for retirement savers. QROPS started in April 6, 2006, and the early years saw significant tussles between HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and providers as clever lawyers and tax experts tried to

New Pension Rules Open Back Door To Avoid IHT

New Pension Rules Open Back Door To Avoid IHT

Scrapping the 55% death tax on unspent pension cash has opened the door on a new way to avoid inheritance tax for the wealthy. Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement should be welcomed by anyone stuck in a tax trap because their estate is valued over the £325,000 inheritance tax threshold. Instead of elaborate estate planning or

Wish We Were Back Home, Say One In Five Expats

Wish We Were Back Home, Say One In Five Expats

Sun, sea and a more relaxing lifestyle may be a big draw for expats moving overseas – but they still miss home. The miserable weather quickly changing from wind and rain to a bright day is a joke for many, but one of the main things they miss about home to many. This was the

A Look at QROPS for the USA

A Look at QROPS for the USA

It’s only really in the last two years that US residents holding British pensions have been able to benefit from transferring their scheme into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Scheme (QROPS). Although HMRC have always approved the use of QROPS by those residing Stateside, and for providers to operate within the country, the IRS don’t

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, also known as the SEIS or the Seed EIS, offers fantastic tax efficient benefits to investors while simultaneously encouraging investment in early stage start-ups in the UK. This invaluable sector is regarded as being integral to the economic growth of the UK. Initially introduced as a concept in 2011 by

Over 55s Underestimate Retirement Financial Needs

Over 55s Underestimate Retirement Financial Needs

Blowing retirement cash on luxuries when new easy access pension rules come into force next April may leave retirees short of money to pay the bills. The warning comes from financial firm Partnership, which claims most people approaching retirement do not have the cash to cover their day-to-day spending without the lure of the new

Referendum Fall-Out Leaves Investors In Limbo

Referendum Fall-Out Leaves Investors In Limb

The fall-out from the Scottish referendum no vote will continue to affect businesses and investors on both sides of the border. The ramifications of the no vote are not as simple as burying the call for independence. The Conservatives, labour and the Lib-Dems have all put forward proposals to devolve more power to Edinburgh –

QROPS, the USA and FATCA

QROPS, the USA and FATCA…. It has to be Specialist Advice

For a large majority of the ever-increasing number of British expatriates with pensions which remain in the UK, a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) provides a viable and sometimes integral role in retirement planning. This counts for those now residing in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, however arguments still persist over just how