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 :)

QROPS List – September 1, 2015


Ten more new Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) were added to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) QROPS List this week. Portugal was added as a QROPS financial centre after the financial centre was delisted in June 2015. Four QROPS are listed in Portugal. Overall, the net number of QROPS schemes increased by 10,

Pen Man Of Beirut Raises £74,000 In 30 minutes


Crowdfunding seems to have taken a new turn as public appeals to raise money for charitable causes are switching to pitches for donations online. Two appeals for cash this week have raised thousands of pounds. In just a few hours, a tragic image of Syrian refugees Abdul and his young daughter Reem, aged four, asleep

Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off With Pension Cash?


Living with debt is not ideal for anyone – especially those approaching or already in retirement. According to research by financial firm partnership, around 610,000 over 55s intend to pay off their mortgage with their pension. New pension freedoms offers the opportunity to take a cash lump-sum and settle mortgages and loans, but many borrowers

Expat Savings Rates – August 20, 2015

Protecting Expat Cash In Offshore Savings Accounts

Ruthless banks are closing expat current and savings accounts due to changing business focus. Expats are becoming tainted customers for banks as they have to put complicated systems in place to identify them and then report their financial information to home country tax authorities. The issue was started by the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance

QROPS List – August 17, 2015


The latest HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) List showed a big uptick in the number of schemes on the market. The latest list showed 832 QROPS are available from 40 financial centres worldwide – up from 757 from 38 centres on the last list posted on August 3, 2015.

Can you transfer your pension to a QROPS?


The latest rule change by the UK Treasury has left many retirement savers unable to switch their pensions to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS). To clarify who can move their UK onshore pension to a QROPS, here’s a guide outlining eligibility. The main factor to consider is the status of your pension –

What is the European Economic Area?


The European Economic Area or EEA is a group of countries that allow the free movement of people, goods, services and finance within the Europe’s single market. The EEA comprises all the member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Switzerland does not belong to the EU or EEA but is part

Generali Vision Savings Plan


One of the financial products we often find our readers asking about at iExpats is the Generali Vision Savings Plan. This is a plan that many international financial advisors favour for the level of advantages offered to the client, so what exactly are these advantages, and what is the Generali Vision Savings Plan all about?

Law Rushed In To Ban Public Sector QROPS Transfers


The government has quickly moved to plug a gap in Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) rules for civil servants and public sector workers. After a loophole was spotted in rules that were aimed at stopping the transfer of civil and public sector pensions to QROPS, retirement savers were warned more legislation was on the

Expat Pensioners Trapped In Visa Nightmare


Thousands of British pensioner expats are living in limbo in Australia because the government stopped recognising their residency visas a decade ago. The Australian immigration authorities granted 410 retirement visas to expats over 55 years old who could prove they could fund their retirement from personal resources until 2005. Since then, the visa has not

QROPS Thailand FAQ


Many expats in Thailand do not realise they can transfer their UK onshore pensions into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). Having a QROPS in Thailand can offer several benefits to British expats when compared to their UK-based scheme, so here’s a list of some frequently asked questions about the offshore pensions: Can I

Qatar Construction Boom Fuels Explosive Growth


Qatar is laying the foundations for building a prosperous future brick by brick as the construction industry surges ahead showing the most impressive growth across all the Gulf States. Although the nation may lose the right to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup, construction in Qatar is expected to maintain an average annual growth rate

FATCA Fails Fair And Just Test Of Good Law Making


A good test of a fair and just law is that the people who have to comply consider the rules fair and just. Now and then a law sparks controversy and one such law is the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Five years after the law hit the statute books and a year

QROPS Transfers from Public Pensions Loophole

QROPS Loophole

Civil servants and public workers transferring their pensions to Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) face a race against time as the government moves to change the law. Public sector pension savers were banned from switching their funds to an offshore QROPS as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s pension overhaul in April that introduced flexible

China Crisis Is The Real Danger To World Economy

China Admits Millions Of Firms Fail In Early Years

Forget fears of a Grexit and German grumbles over the billions of euros going to bail out Athens, the real economic crisis is in China. Yes what happens in Athens is important and if the Eurozone and Greece had said goodbye, the economic shock would have reverberated around the markets for a while. But China

Pension Freedom Costs Confusing For Savers

Pension Freedoms Spark Tax Windfall For Treasury

Pension freedom comes at a cost and some savers are paying a lot more than others as financial firms are making big profits to allow early access to retirement cash. A study comparing charges savers are paying on income drawdown services from 18 leading pension providers revealed someone could end up £3,000 better off over

QROPS List – August 3, 2015


Nearly 50 Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) opened for transfers in from UK onshore pensions and other QROPS in the past two weeks. The latest QROPS List published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) details 759 pensions offered in 37 financial jurisdictions worldwide. Despite concerns voiced by some advice firms over the eligibility of

Pleas For Australia QROPS Tax Amnesty Rejected

QROPS May Come Under Easy Access Pension Rules

Australia Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) savers who have switched money offshore from UK pensions since April 6, 2015 face hefty fines for breaking strict cash transfer rules. On April 6, the pension age test came into force that bars a UK or QROPS pension from paying out benefits to anyone under 55 years

FATCA List – August1, 2015

FATCA Tracker

As the first reporting deadline for FATCA passed on July 31, more than 5,500 new financial institutions signed up to comply with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). FATCA now lists 171,109 financial institutions outside the United States – 5,648 more than in June 2015 when the last list was published. The Cayman