Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How QROPS help ex pats take command of their allowances

By Jess Owen

UK allowances are likely to face more upheaval from the government, pensions minister Steve Webb has warned.

After a chain of reforms, revisions and consultations, the Dept of Work and Allowances now wants to encourage workers to consolidate little pensions left in the dust when they change roles.

The move is another uncertainty introduced in to the pensions landscape for retirement savers - but ex pats and world people with UK annuity rights can already take charge of their funds by changing to a QROPS.

Contemporary changes in the offshore annuities market have brought tax planning and pension opportunities that were once the province of the super rich in to reach for every allowance saver.

Consolidating a number of smaller pension funds in to a QROPS does exactly what the govt intends with for retirement savers with small allowance funds - grouping them in to a single fund that gives leads to cheaper running costs while easily manageable.

QROPS lite pensions offer stripped down versions of the all-singing standard QROPS by offering lower set up and administration costs together will flexible investments.

Many QROPS have no minimum money value to transfer in - though the amount may alter between providers.

For expats, QROPS provide an augmented tax-free lump-sum payment on retirement. The United Kingdom maximum is 75% of fund value while a QROPS can pay up to 80% of the accumulated fund value.

Other extras include exemption from UK inheritance tax rules and pension payments in any major currency instead of only in Sterling, which avoids the vagaries of forex rate fluctuation.

This year, UK annuities have just seen the scrapping of the default retirement age and the necessity to buy an annuity.

Other changes on the way include new measures to finance long-term care following the Dilnott Report and the advent of fixed rate state annuity payments.

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