A Malta QROPS for expat pensions has closed to new business over a ‘technical issue’.
The pension provider, MC Trustees, launched a Malta QROPS in 2010, but has temporarily closed to new transfers from expats and international workers wanting to relocate their funds from the UK..
Managing director Martin Cadman issued a statement explaining transfers had stopped “whilst we resolve a technical issue”.
“While we resolve this, we are not taking new members and have, on a purely precautionary basis, asked HM Revenue & Customs to temporarily take us off the published QROPS list.”
“We expect to be re-included shortly. We do not expect our QROPS status to be affected.”
No problems, say regulators
No more details about what the technical problem may be have been released.
Joseph Bannister, chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority, has commented the problems lies with taxing pension benefits paid by the Malta QROPS, while explaining the matter was “clarified” and that there was “nothing wrong, nothing untoward”.
The MFSA said the glitch in the QROPS expat pension involved technical changes, and that another Malta QROPS had already undergone a similar review.
Temporarily stopping expat pension transfers in to a QROPS is not unusual. However it can add uncertainty to a client’s decision to transfer their UK pension.
“This is an example of why anyone looking for a QROPS needs to speak to a specialist who is aware of the ever changing QROPS landscape” explains Chris Wright, Manager at QropsInvestor.com, a specialist QROPS advisory firm..
Chris says, “With more than 2,000 schemes in nearly 50 financial centres, schemes are constantly under review to ensure they meet the strict criteria for QROPS schemes laid down by HMRC.”
Qrops Investor has a page dedicated to Malta QROPS which outlines the basic details and benefits of that jurisdiction.
HMRC QROPS list
Most of the issues relate to taxing benefits in the country where the QROPS is based and ensuring the scheme is open to residents as well as expats living in other countries.
In previous cases where financial centres or providers have withdrawn their service from the market, most have returned after a short time – only those removed from the QROPS list by HMRC tend not to resume business.
The QROPS list is maintained by the HMRC as a self-certified database of global QROPS expat pension schemes.
The list is published at least monthly by HMRC and exclusion means UK pension fund managers must not switch funds from their schemes to the offshore provider.
However not all schemes are shown on the list as some providers have requested not to be listed.