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Why SMSF professionals should review their UK expat clients' pension transfer options NOW

Why SMSF professionals should review their UK expat clients' pension transfer options NOW

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Currency fluctuations, UK Government changes, low Gilt rates providing high transfer values, estate planning strategies and complex QROPS SMSF reporting, means you need to review your clients UK pensions NOW.

The UK pension transfer process is ever changing and can be a minefield for accountants and advisers with clients wanting to transfer their pension to Australia. However, for those who engage a transfer specialist partner like bdhSterling, not only will the client benefit, the adviser or accountant will establish a value added service for the business.  

Why do you need to review your UK expat clients’ pension transfer NOW?


The UK government is continually introducing regulations, making it more complex to transfer pensions.

A major change to UK pension legislation took place in April, 2015. This redefined those schemes qualifying as QROPS under UK rules. It also prevented people in public sector pension schemes from making a transfer to an overseas scheme and prevented under 55 year old expats transferring their pension. It isn’t just the UK government making changes – in Australia, changes to the non concessional contribution cap has real implications for expats transferring their pension to Australia.

Possible future changes may further restrict transfers. Additionally, the current, historically low Gilt rate (translating to high transfer values), highlights the need to review your clients’ pension transfer options. Time is of the essence.

Benefits of transferring pensions may include:

  • Optimise inheritance options for pension funds
  • Strategies for clients under 55 years of age
  • Greater investment choice
  • Taxation and superannuation advantages
  • Potentially higher transfer values attributed to the low Gilt rate.
  • Ability to reduce currency risk

What is QROPS?

QROPS stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. The scheme is established in Australia by an SMSF specialist and approved by the HMRC in the UK. The entity, a QROPS registered SMSF, has specific reporting obligations to the HMRC. This is a pension scheme into which a UK pension can be transferred, with potential tax, estate planning, currency management and investment benefits.

Why engage a QROPS specialist, in conjunction with a UK licensed adviser to review my clients’ pension transfer?

QROPS can be complex. There are differing tax and superannuation regimes and different levels of investor protection and compensation. These issues need to be taken into account when deciding if and how to proceed with your clients’ pension transfers.

A UK pension scheme that provides certain defined benefits will not release payment unless transfer advice has been provided to the member by an adviser who holds the relevant permissions with the UK Financial Conduct Authority. The UK adviser provides a recommendation based on the clients attitude to risk, tax and pension regulations. This requirement applies to transfers over £30,000 with safeguard provisions.

bdhSterling, a global group, with offices in the UK and Australia has been involved with cross border financial solutions since 2008. They know pension transfers and are experts in navigating the intricacies and complexities of the process. Our dual licensed advisers are capable of providing advice for both the UK and Australia, ensuring appropriately licensed advice under the one global roof. This eliminates the need to engage third party advisers in the UK.

In addition to the transfer service, bdhSterling provides the option to establish all aspects of the QROPS registered SMSF and if requested, provide ongoing administration and QROPS reporting.

Whether your clients are over or under 55 years of age, bdhSterling has strategies available to assist with their pension transfer.  

bdhSterling: Provides a transfer enquiry and national pension transfer service for accountants and advisers.

bdhSterling offers a Technical Support Team managed by dual licensed advisers. An initial, free phone conversation will determine the viability of a full review of transfer options. See details below.

Contact our Technical Services Team for a FREE initial review of your client’s UK pension.

If you have a pension transfer query on behalf of your client, or wish to discuss how your business can utilise this service, please contact our Technical Services Team on (08) 6180 2555.

or submit your enquiry to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out more at www.bdhsterling.com



Why SMSF professionals should review their UK expat clients' pension transfer options NOW
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