News & Insights

Regular savings or not, your pension planning matters

Both types of pension scheme certainly have their respective disadvantages. For example, if a person dies under the terms of a final salary scheme the surviving spouse is entitled to only 50% of the pension, while children or other dependents receive nothing, even in the event that the surviving spouse also dies. This is hardly an ideal situation and does seem more than a little unfair, particularly given that final salary schemes are also inflexible and, furthermore, void if the company goes out of business – former employees of now defunct companies such as Woolworths can stand testament to the painful impact of these shortcomings.

On the other hand, in cases where the saver dies before turning 75, defined contribution schemes pass to beneficiaries tax-free. Furthermore, funds held under these schemes become available to savers when they reach 55 and can largely be used when and how the saver chooses. Although this might not sound drawback-free, the reality is that some savers have been shocked to learn that they must pay huge income tax on withdrawals from the fund – again, hardly an ideal situation for most.


The situation for expats is interesting. This is because they are eligible to transfer their pension funds to a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

Although QROPS have official status with HMRC, they provide an attractive level of flexibility and are very favourable from a taxation perspective.

For example, they can be converted into income with only minimal tax liability, qualify for tax-free lump-sum withdrawals of up to 30% of the fund value and can pass on to spouses, children and other beneficiaries tax-free. There is little doubt that a QROPS transfer represents a sound choice for qualifying British expats, whatever the level of their regular savings.

Other News

How to get a mortgage in Portugal as an expat

Portuguese TramIn recent years Portugal has become a very attractive prospect for anyone looking to move to sunnier climes. A number of initiatives by the Portuguese government have made it easier for non-European citizens to apply for special visas, which allow them to both live and work in the country. The most famous of these is the so-called Golden Visa, which permits people to become resident based on their making a significant investment in the country, purchasing property, or setting up a business. Whatever your reason for wanting to move, and there are many, getting a mortgage in Portugal is going to be high on your agenda.

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Tax evasion

As we all know we have been told time and time again that, because of the world´s economic state, we all have to pay as much tax to the governments as humanly possible and that, if we try to hide any money, we will be heavily penalised. Well, yet again it has been proved that there is one rule for us and another rule for them – by them I mean the 1% that are super wealthy, politicians, or large corporations. 

Governments, tax authorities, journalists and experts on tax evasion and avoidance on Monday tax evasionwere digesting news of a major leak of confidential and reportedly revealing documents from a Panamanian law firm. Some are calling it the biggest leak of confidential information ever to hit the global financial services industry.

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