QROPS Transfers Slow But Cash Values Hit New High


The number of QROPS offshore pension transfers for expats are slowing, but the average amount of money retirement savers switched overseas reached a new high.

The average QROPS transfer was £125,773 in the year to April 5, 2017, according to the latest official statistics from HM Revenue & Customs.

This beat the previous average transfer size of £109,489 set the year before.

The figures were buoyed by employers offering increasingly attractive cash mountains to retirement savers willing to trade in their workplace pensions.

Last year, 9,700 British expats and international workers moved their pension funds offshore.

The number was down 4,000 from 13,700 the year before.

The fall in transfer numbers is likely to have followed tighter compliance by HMRC.

£10 billion transferred to QROPS

Numbers are expected to fall again in the current year as concerns about the overseas transfer tax grip the market. The tax is a 25% levy on some QROPS transfers which is unlikely to be paid by many expats.

Since QROPS started, retirement savers have made 118,400 transfers worth just over £10 billion with an average value of £84,713.

According to the HMRC QROPS List, around 1,000 schemes are open worldwide across 29 financial centres.

“Since April 2006 individuals have been able to transfer their pension savings in a registered pension scheme to a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS),” says the HMRC report.

“To be a QROPS a pension scheme must be based outside the UK and meet certain requirements. Provided the requirements are met transfers to QROPS are free of UK tax up to the lifetime allowance. This is intended to allow people who wish to emigrate to take their pension with them to their new country of residence.”

QROPS Pension Transfers 2006 – 2017

Tax YearTransfersTransfer value (millions)Average transfer value

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