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Finding Old Pensions Before Making a Pension Transfer Overseas

Man with binocularsThe days of the “job for life” with a single employer are, for most of us, long-gone and we are now far more likely to have multiple jobs paying into a number of different pension schemes. This means tracing old pensions when you retire – whether defined benefit, defined contribution or private stake holder. In order to get an accurate and full idea of your pension wealth it is essential that you begin finding lost pensions to factor every single one into a total valuation.

Pension transfers are a hot topic at the moment, especially if you’re an expat and want to transfer pension pots overseas. And if, like many, you have lost track of the various pension pots you have amassed throughout your career, it can be hard to gather together all the information you need to decide whether a pension transfer would be in your best interests.

ABI and FCA Highlight Pensions Advice Shortfall

FinanceReceiving independent, regulated financial advice on an expat retirement transfer is essential for any person who is considering the possibility of converting their existing pension scheme into a QROPS or SIPPS.

However, analysis by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reveal worrying trends.

In 2018, the FCA published research findings showing that during the 12-month survey period 91% of UK adults did not obtain regulated financial advice.*

Your Expat Pension and Exceeding the Lifetime Allowance

CalculatorThe pensions tax relief Lifetime Allowance (LTA), otherwise known as the pension lifetime limit, should be an area of active concern for any expat with a high-value pension.

Despite this, far too many wealth management clients have insufficient knowledge of precisely what the pension lifetime limit is and they could be affected. In fact, significant numbers of expats may be unwittingly breaching the LTA pension limit, oblivious to the possible consequences.

Custodial Sentence for Pensions Fraudster

PrisonAn investigation by The Pensions Regulator has for the first time resulted in an immediate custodial sentence for the perpetrator of professional pensions fraud, after William Bessent, an accountant who used his position as the trustee and administrator of a pension scheme to steal his clients’ savings, was sentenced to 40 months in prison. He pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges, making prohibited employer-related investments, and separate charges of acting as a director while disqualified.

The landmark case, being heard at Preston Crown Court* will also hopefully result in the return of stolen funds. On July 5 the courts will seek to obtain a confiscation order in order to make Bessent repay the remainder of the money he owes; he has so far repaid £80,000 but owes a further £200,000.

How to avoid a pension scam

Man using mobile phoneSince the UK government introduced pension reforms in 2015, there has been a huge increase in pension scams with unscrupulous firms targetting the over-55s with advice regarding what they can do with their retirement savings. Statistics issued by the Pensions Regulator in January, show that, on average, victims of scams lost £91,000 in 2017. 

EU Expat Pensions Receive EIOPA Reassurance

Map of EuropeLast year the Association of British Insurers (ABI) provoked something of a panic among British expats in Europe. Those who in some way rely on insurance products, such as annuities and life insurance, for the payment of income and expat pensions were understandably alarmed when Huw Evans of the ABI said that a no-deal Brexit could leave insurance contracts in legal limbo because of a risk that payments could not be fulfilled for contracts written pre-brexit. (Read more in our blog.)

Expat Pension Concerns Cause Dwindling Number of Brits in EU

Its time to say goodbyeThe number of British pensioners living as expats in the European Union (EU) fell from 468,790 in 2017 to 462,680 in 2018, according to figures based on data derived from the Department for Work and Pensions.

It is the first time in more than a decade that there has been a decline in the numbers of British pensioners abroad and it is thought that Brexit and the uncertain future of expat pensions are the major factors behind the decline.

Although the draft withdrawal agreement seems to have provided some security for Brits abroad concerned about their expat pension and legal residency rights, this is only assured until 2020,

Pensions Regulator Announces Enhanced Transfer Information Sharing

WhiteboardFor many retirement savers finding the best way to realise pension plan benefits will be the key to unlocking a financially secure retirement.

Pension transfers, whether from a defined benefit plan into a QROPS, SIPPs or other vehicle, are likely to be an important consideration as part of this process. However, in recent years it has become clear that although pension transfers can be advantageous for many individuals, particularly those who live abroad in the European Union, a minority of advisers are failing to properly examine the question of suitability, thereby resulting in some investors being saddled with an unsuitable product.

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