As efforts continue to try to resolve the long-running debate over the continual fire service pension changes, many former firefighters are opting not to hang around and wait for the outcome, rather get their savings out of the uncertain and unstable scheme sooner rather than later.
This option is currently being explored by ex-firefighters now residing abroad, through the form of QROPS. A QROPS offers a variety of attractive benefits for expatriates, and since the very real likelihood of the retirement age on a fire service pension being raised from 55 to 60 years of age has become apparent, QROPS are being considered by many.
As of April 2015, these transfers will be completely closed off for anyone with an un-funded public sector defined benefit scheme, this includes the Army, Police and NHS staff as well as the fire service. So with just seven months before all decisions relating to the future use of individual’s retirement funds are removed for good, the increase in demand for QROPS can really come as no surprise.
Risk V Reward
Firefighters perform one of the most high risk jobs in the UK, showing outstanding levels of bravery every time they put their lives on the line to rescue others or save the public’s property. It has come as a real kick in the teeth when one of the most attractive rewards to doing a job such as this is threatened with cutbacks as a result of a number of high-level gaffes which had nothing to do with those they affect.
Fire Men Abroad
For expats the potential solution is simple. QROPS are available in many different guises with different levels of flexibility, in different jurisdictions and with a variety of providers. As such, there are not many circumstances in existence which can’t be matched to tailored overseas scheme that provides more benefits than are available in the UK.
Sadly, as of April 2015, QROPS transfers will no longer be permitted for anybody holding a public sector defined benefit scheme, which is seriously bad news for the growing number of savers planning to retire away from the UK. For those already living overseas, the time is now to start weighing up their options.
Having a QROPS in place means that savings will not be exposed to the risk of currency fluctuations when drawn on. They also offer the chance to retire early, an investment strategy based upon appetite, and death benefits which far exceed anything ever offered in the UK.
The Prince Unimpressed
The public sector pension market was recently described by Prince Charles as “not fit for purpose.” As many loyal servants to the country look set to have their retirement plans plunged into uncertainty, few could argue with this damning assessment.