Transferring UK Pensions to Australia
We have been working with UK Expats in Australia and Australians (with UK Pensions) who have worked in the UK for nearly a decade assisting them in assessing where their retirement monies might be best placed for their retirement.
However since April 2015 due to UK Legislation and the introduction of the 'Pensions Age Test' it is no longer possible for a person under the age of 55 years to transfer a UK Pension directly to an Australian Super Fund (however please see the under age 55 options below).
Also from this date (again due to UK Legislation) Pensions that are UK Government Un-Funded Defined Benefit Schemes (such as NHS and Police Pensions) were/are unable to be transferred to an Australia Superannuation Scheme regardless of age (or indeed any Pension/Super Scheme that is not a Defined Benefit Scheme).
Age 55 and Over
For persons age 55 years and over it is possible to transfer a UK Pension to Australia (subject to it not being a UK Government Un-funded Defined Benefit Scheme (as detailed above).
Therefore If you are 55 years or over and have a UK Pension then we can work with you in assessing your retirement needs and transferring (if appropriate) your UK Pension to Australia to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).
The area of UK Pension Transfers to Australia has become more and more complex over the years due to a number of legislative changes from both a UK and Australian point of view.
Some of the most prevalent changes under Australian Rules include the lowering of Australian Contributions Caps and the lack of Australian QROPS (public offer) Superannuation Funds.
As of today 5 February 2019 there are no public offer Australian QROPS Schemes available to receive a UK Pension Transfer (however we understand that there are a few in the pipeline).
This means that the only option currently to transfer a UK Pension to Australia is to establish a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) and apply to HMRC for the Self-Managed Super Fund to be QROPS Registered which involves engineering the Trust Deed of the Fund to allow only members age 55 years and over (or alternatively converting an existing Self-Managed Super Fund to a QROPS).
Self-Managed Super Funds are definitely not for everyone and so part of our service will be to educate clients prior to even entertaining a UK Pension Transfer. If collectively we believe that a Self-Managed Super Fund is a viable option then we will move forward with you.
Given the lower Contribution Caps now in place (in relation to how much you can actually transfer into Australia) a lot of cases now have to undergo a phased Contribution Strategy that will need to be planned for so that breaches of the Australian Contribution Caps do not occur.
This may include the opening of separate UK Pensions (SIPP) and internal UK Transfers but this is something that will be assessed and indeed as part of our service we will undertake the whole process for you.
Under Age 55
Although it is not possible for a person to transfer a UK Pension to an Australian Super Fund if they are under the age of 55 years it doesn't mean that there aren't any other options available to you and that you need to remain in your current UK Pension Fund.
A review of your current Pension Arrangement/s could be warranted for many reasons such as:
- Your investments within your current Pension are not aligned to your Investment Risk Appetite;
- You are only invested in a Cash Fund within your UK Pension;
- You want to have the ability to convert and invest your money in Australian Dollars and to manage currency risk and your UK Pension only offers GBP Options;
- You want to work with a local Australian Adviser who can advise on your Investments within your UK Pension.
At Vista we are one of only a few ASIC authorised Advisers in Australia that are able to work with you in setting up a UK Pension (SIPP) Arrangement whereby we can become your personal (Pension) Adviser .
We will then work with you to ensure that your Pension Investments (retirement monies) are working for you as they should be through a tailored investment solution which can be in either GBP or Australian Dollars (or a combination of the two).
Where required Vista will engage UK FCA regulated Advisers authorised and qualified to deal with safeguarded Pension Benefits on your behalf.