Given all the talk and acceptance of QROPS transfers, expats in France could be forgiven for forgetting that there was ever a time when they were short of options.
But it’s worth remembering that before QROPS transfers became available, expats in France and elsewhere in Europe had very few choices available to them when it came to deciding what to do with their UK-based pensions. For many it was a horrible and disempowering situation that, in some cases, resulted in poor decisions and traumatic financial losses.
Fortunately, the introduction of new laws has addressed this fraught area of the law, and the willingness of the government to incorporate QROPS transfer pensions within the remit of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has produced a win-win situation for all interested parties, particularly those who benefit from the tax-efficiency of QROPS. QROPS has changed everything.
But the benefits are not only about tax efficiency. QROPS can be based in jurisdictions which allow far greater flexibility than similar pension plans in the UK. For example, savers can retain real control of their pension assets, including the ability to pass them on to family at the time of death. They also benefit from greater currency control and significant structural flexibility.
For those who remember the darker pre-QROPS days, it should be a thing of wonder that they are now able to have such autonomy when it comes to wealth management, succession and estate planning. There really are very few vehicles that have been so successful in helping hard working people ensure the smooth transition of wealth to loved ones and dependants.
However, it is worth remembering that all products are suitable for all people and, depending on your circumstances, there may be additional or supplementary wealth management strategies that are more suited to your needs. Speaking with an experienced international financial advisor with a track record in retirement planning and QROPS is likely to be critical.