Equity Trust loses court battle over Qrops status

Equity Trust, the trustee of the Singapore-based Panthera Recognised Overseas Self-Invested International Pension, has lost its battle with HM Revenue & Customs meaning policyholders now face a 50 per cent levy on their funds.

HMRC removed the scheme from its approved list of Qrops in 2008 claiming it did not meet the statutory conditions to be a Qrops. Two years later Equity Trust brought a case against the Revenue arguing the HMRC ruling was wrong and that it should not have been removed.

On Friday, the high court ruled in HMRC’s favour with Lord Judge Hodge saying Equity Trust trust had failed to prove the pension was open to Singaporean residents and that the scheme should have been registered with a regulator in Singapore.

Panthera managing director Bethell Codrington says the firm intends to appeal against the decision.

An HMRC spokesman says: “We welcome the ruling and are pleased the Court has recognised HMRC’s longstanding view of the legislation.”