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If you have a UK pension and are considering transferring your benefits, the specialists at Blacktower can help. Our advisers have many years’ experience guiding individuals through the processes relating to international pension transfers to help maximise the chances of protecting and growing your wealth, while also minimising any tax liability.

UK pensions fall into two broad groups:

  • Defined Benefit Schemes (often referred to as a ‘Final Salary Scheme’), and
  • Defined Contribution schemes (often known as ‘money purchase’ schemes)

Defined Benefit Pension schemes

Defined benefit (final salary) schemes are often described as ‘gold-plated’ because they offer guaranteed benefits at retirement. However, they have faced many challenges in recent times as employers struggle to fund them adequately. The UK Pension Protection Fund reported that, as at March 2017, even the best funded schemes were 25% underfunded, putting great financial strain on the companies that run them.

Defined Contribution schemes

These schemes do not have the guarantees that defined benefit schemes offer. Instead, the pension at retirement relies upon three main factors – the level of contributions paid, the investment return earned by the fund and the rate at which that fund is converted into an income (the annuity rate).

Your Options

Many people who retire abroad find that they have a mixture of defined benefit and defined contribution arrangements. There are two main options for a transfer:

  • SIPP (Self Invested Pension Plan)
  • QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme)

Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

A SIPP is simply a Personal Pension but with wider investment powers. A transfer to a SIPP is an option for those living abroad, as well as those based in the UK, to go ahead with a pension transfer. If you transfer your benefits to a SIPP, the benefits will still be subject to UK pension regulations.

Find out more about full SIPPs low cost SIPPs and hybrid SIPPs.


A QROPS is an international pension scheme and often the preferred vehicle for international pension transfers.

If you transfer to a QROPS, the benefits broadly cease to be governed by UK pension regulations although there are certain reporting and other requirements that must be met.

Find out more about QROPS.

Help from the specialists at Blacktower

If you have pension benefits and are considering a transfer, we can help. As a fully regulated firm, Blacktower has international pensions transfer specialists who can help you decide whether a transfer is suitable for your circumstances and, if so, whether a SIPP or QROPS is the best solution. We can help you plan your financial future whatever your country of origin and current country of residence.

Contact us today using the online form at the top of this page.

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