A good QROPS adviser can help your pension prosper, but picking the right person to manage your biggest financial asset can be a daunting task.
Like any other pension, a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) is a long-term investment that needs specialist advice.
Not just any financial adviser can help select and manage a QROPS.
Like doctors, you need an expert in the field not a general practitioner.
So where do you start the search for the perfect QROPS adviser?
If you have a network of expat friends, word-of-mouth is a good place to begin.
Do listen to what other people have to say, but take the referral with a pinch of salt. Sometimes poor advisers don’t get found out for a few years.
Other places to try include the internet, business directories and local chambers of trade.
Some large companies have a network of offices around the world and can help with other products and services besides QROPS, so all your financial needs are integrated.
Expect your QROPS adviser to have some letters after their name.
All pension advisers in the UK should have a QCF Level 4 qualification as minimum – anything higher is better up to Level 8.
Questions to ask your QROPS adviser
Some will also say they belong to SOLLA (Society of Later Life Advisers) or STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Planners) which are professional networks. Also look for CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments) or a Personal Finance Society qualification.
Importantly, the adviser should have experience of overseas pension transfers for expats and a back-office that can give expert advice on cross-border tax issues.
Avoid any tied adviser. They can only offer a limited range of options. An independent financial adviser is the best choice as they can tailor your QROPS and other financial needs from any provider.
You also need to ask some questions.
Besides inquiring about their QROPS experience, quiz them about some other matters:
- Confirm they are independent advisers and check out them and their firm online – especially with the organisation granting their professional qualifications and their standing with the pensions regulator in the country where you live
- Discuss costs and negotiate a fixed fee deal if you can – it’s cheaper than an open-ended arrangement
- Consider when and how any ongoing QROPS reviews will take place and how much they may cost