When looking at a UK pension transfer to an overseas pension scheme, approved as a QROPS (Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pensions Schemes), specialist QROPS advice would be needed because of the issues involved.
One important QROPS advice consideration is the UK rule changes as to what age an individual can access their benefits. From 6th April 2010, the minimum age at which benefits can be paid to a member is 55. This is known as the Normal Pension Age.
Up until 6th April 2010, the UK legislation permits a normal minimum pension age of 50. This is important point to bear in mind for those born between 6th April 1955 and 5th April 1960, as this leaves a limited period of time to bring benefits into payment before 55. If benefits have not been taken by 6th April 2010, no new benefits can be taken until age 55 – virtually a five year delay for those born just before or around the beginning of April 1960.
For people who have transferred or are looking to transfer to QROPS, who are within the 5 year reporting period, the age that they can access their QROPS benefits is the same as the Normal Pension Age of the UK pension schemes.
The UK Normal Pension Age is an important point for both the QROPS client and the receiving QROPS scheme to understand as the early payment of benefits, to a pension member, could lead to an unauthorized payments charge.