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 have a QROPS even though Thailand has no providers?
Yes. QROPS are available to British expats and foreign workers living overseas who have built up UK pension rights regardless of where they live.
Not all QROPS providers offer this facility, but those based in places like Malta definitely do.
Will I have to move my QROPS if I switch countries?
Not if you have a ‘third party’ QROPS that stays in one financial centre regardless of where you move – but you cannot keep a QROPS of you return to the UK
Can I transfer my state pension into a Thailand QROPS?
No. You can any transfer personal or workplace pensions into a QROPS, but if you worked for the civil service or were in the public sector, you can only currently transfer your pension into a QROPS administered from the European Economic Area.
This is basically the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
What’s the benefit of a QROPS?
Like all financial products, QROPS will have more benefits for some retirees than others.
Some of the most popular features with financial advisers include:
- Flexible investments – The opportunity to invest in a wider range of commodities, markets and currencies than a UK pension
- Tax on pension payments – Expats pay local income tax rates on payments made from a QROPS
- Currency advantages – Retirees can choose to have their pension payments made from a number of currencies as a hedge against foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations
- Tax-free lump sums – All QROPS pay at least a 25% tax-free lump sum and tax on the balance is paid at local rates.
I’ve heard QROPS are only for wealthy retirees
Not at all, hundreds of QROPS are offered in 35 different financial centres. Some providers have products for small pension pots – between £30,000 and £100,000 – while others specialise in retirement planning for the wealthy.
A good international independent financial adviser should help you find the best QROPS to suit your personal and financial circumstances.