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

By March 23, 2016News

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.