The riddle surrounding the delisting of Slovakia QROPS has deepened as the provider of all four pensions suggests their removal is simply a ‘communication problem’.
Tatra Bank, the Slovak QROPS provider, made a brief statement that seems to be at odds with another issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
“These funds are missing from the list just temporarily because of some communication misunderstanding. We hope that by the next update, you will find it there again,” said the bank’s Marina Smolkova.
However, an HMRC spokesman has confirmed the Slovakia QROPS were removed – but did comment that this was not in error.
“We do not comment on individual jurisdictions or schemes,” said an HMRC spokesman. “But I can confirm that Slovakia is not missing from the list in error to the best of my knowledge,” said a spokesman.
QROPS closed to new business
The four delisted Slovakian schemes are:
- DDS Tatra banky Konzervativny prispevkovy ddf
- DDS Tatra banky Rastovy prispevkovy ddf
- DDS Tatra banky Vyvazeny prispevkovy ddf
- DDS Tatra banky Zaisteny prispevkovy ddf 2017
The QROPS list is published fortnightly by HMRC and contains details of nearly 3,000 offshore pensions for British expats and international workers with UK pension rights.
If a scheme is not on the list, the provider cannot accept transfers from another registered pension – including UK schemes and other QROPS.
Delisting means Slovakia’s QROPS business is effectively halted – although investors with Slovakia QROPS are not currently facing any fines or penalties from HMRC.
From time to time, some QROPS schemes are removed from the fortnightly HMRC QROPS list and are reinstated a few weeks later.
HMRC has a policy of not commenting on QROPS schemes or jurisdictions, but generally this appears to be the result of self-certification errors by the providers, whose schemes are delisted while forms are resubmitted.
This is only the third time since April 2006 when a QROPS jurisdictions has been removed from the list – the previous were Singapore and Cyprus.
Neither jurisdiction has been reinstated.
Singapore provider Panthera went on to lose a well-documented High Court case with the HMRC over the validity of the scheme, while providers in Cyprus have not commented on their delisting.
Other QROPS have faced delisting – in a pensions ‘night of the long knives’ in April 2012, hundreds of schemes, mainly in Guernsey were forced to close when HMRC revised QROPS rules. Most schemes remain active for investors but have been unable to take on new business.