News & Insights

QROPS and Brexit negotiations

“The big difference between Gibraltar and the UK is that Gibraltar has a very clear view of where it needs to be,” said Picardo. “The UK economy is larger and has many more moving pieces, so it’s harder to move from the shock of the morning of the 24th to a clear position which takes into consideration all of those areas.”

Gibraltarians voted by an overwhelming 96 per cent to 4 per cent to stay in the EU – a higher margin than in any other eligible voting district. This has led to speculation that Gibraltar might somehow remain in Europe while maintaining its status as a British Overseas Territory. There is a precedent, of sorts. Greenland, which is, in effect, a Danish overseas territory, voted to leave the EU while still retaining its political links to Denmark.

Picardo has gone so far as to describe a “hard exit” Brexit deal as an “existential threat” to Gibraltar. This is partly because each day thousands of Spanish workers cross into Gibraltar to work; something which may not be tenable if Brexit negotiations bring an end to free movement of labour between the EU and the UK, including any overseas territories.

As it stands it is still possible, and potentially crucial, for British expats to seek financial advice in order to ensure a Gibraltar QROPS, although the continuance of this arrangement is likely to be something that will be up for discussion during Brexit negotiations.

Other News

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This goes some way to explain why thousands of British expats have recently been caught and penalised for either failing to pay taxes or unlawfully claiming British pension and other social security benefits while living and, in some cases, working abroad.

Cross-border taxation for expats is a notoriously confusing area of wealth management and can seem especially onerous with new data sharing and enforcement rules in place. Unfortunately, not all asset managers are as familiar with tax reporting requirements as they should be. This may seem inconceivable, but wealth management professionals in Spain, across Europe and indeed the globe have an obligation to clients to ensure that they understand and follow all the rules.

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Rise in Red Flag Activity Not as Simple as Stats Suggest

Red flagUK pensions consultancy, XPS Pensions Group (XPS), has reported a concerning rise in “red flag” pension transfer scam activity. It says that the number of red flag incidents rose from 13% in June 2018 to 34% in June 2019 and calculated the total value of the pensions savings placed at risk during the 12-month period at £73,000,000*.

It is possible that the rise in red flags could be a by-product of the enhanced reporting processes that came into effect with the June 2018 revisions to the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) Code of Good Practice (originally published in 2015). These served to highlight pension scam warning signs, to encourage greater awareness of fee and charging structures, and to improve communication between pension schemes and their members.

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