Monthly Archives

March 2016

How long can a transfer from a UK registered pension scheme to a QROPS take?

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We are often asked by advisers and clients – how long will a transfer from a UK registered pension scheme to a QROPS take?

Unfortunately, the answer is always the same – it is impossible to say. The time it will take depends on a number of things, such as: the processes of the UK pension scheme provider, whether the funds will be transferred in cash or in-specie, the number of pension schemes the client has to transfer and finally, all documentation being received in an acceptable manner – such as due diligence being certified correctly etc.

From our experience a transfer from a UK registered pension scheme to a QROPS can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months to complete.

The best way for clients and their advisers to keep the time taken for a transfer to a minimum is to ensure that everything being provided is complete and valid. In an effort to assist and streamline this process, Concept offers advisers the opportunity to scan their client applications in for a pre-check, which is designed to identify any outstanding items prior to the original documents being posted to us.

A UK registered scheme provider is likely to have its own internal processes to follow when a request from a member is received to transfer to a QROPS, but under HMRC requirements the registered pension scheme should carry out reasonable due diligence checks in relation to the transfer and must check the published ROPS list and should be able to demonstrate that such a check was carried out no more than one day before the transfer was made.

Following our involvement in the development of the Code of Good Practice for Combating Pension Scams, we’ve been able to further streamline our processes and dealings to ensure that a UK registered scheme provider has everything they require readily available to determine the bona fide of our scheme. This included the creation of a Scheme Validity Information Sheet which is sent to transferring UK registered scheme providers, detailing all of the required information, references and approvals which they need to ensure the validity of the scheme they will be transferring to.

Further information in respect of the transfer-out process from a UK registered pension scheme to a QROPS can be found on the HMRC website here.

Tracing Lost UK Pensions

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We frequently come across advisers assisting clients who, for whatever reason, are unable to trace an existing UK pension.

This could be as a result of changing employment, having lost the scheme documentation, or simply because so much time has passed since the client was in the scheme that they can no longer recall any details of it.

In an effort to try and assist advisers who might encounter such an issue, the below few sources/references may be of use:

Firstly, the Money Advice Service provides some useful information and tips for anyone who has lost a UK pension, which would be worth sending on to any clients you might come across who find themselves in this position. (Read more).

The Government’s online system for tracing lost UK pension schemes also may be able to assist. (Read more).

Finally, the Pensions Advisory Service offers assistance for individuals who have lost their UK pension schemes, so contacting them may also be worthwhile. (Read more).

 

The States of Guernsey has agreed in principle the introduction of a secondary pensions regime

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The States of Guernsey has agreed in principle for the development and introduction of a secondary pensions regime in Guernsey.

This decision has been taken following an outline proposal which was put together by the Social Security Department as a result of the March 2015 States debate on the Personal Tax, Pensions and Benefits Review.

Much of the detail has yet to be determined on the secondary pensions regime, but in basic terms employers in Guernsey would have a legal duty to enroll their employees into the new secondary pension scheme, or into another qualifying scheme. Employees can choose to opt-out, but experience from elsewhere suggests that most people who have been enrolled into the pension scheme will stay in.

Further information can be found here.

If you are an employer and/or an individual and wish to discuss how the proposed secondary pensions regime could impact you, please call a member of our Sales team who will be happy to speak with you.