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Qrops confusion mars the market

International adviser Abbey Expatriate Services has warned that Qrops are a misselling scandal waiting to happen due to a lack of Government information and the poor quality of offshore brokers.

Managing director Sam Instone says that AES is very cautious about recommending qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes to clients due to a lack of HMRC guidance and fear of retrospective legislation.

His biggest concern relates to international or offshore brokers. He says: “They are rarely qualified, do not hold professional indemnity insurance cover and in many cases do not understand the first thing about the UK, let alone international pension planning. By allowing offshore brokers to get involved in UK pension transfers, HMRC and product provid- ers are allowing all the protective systems and controls provided by the UK regulatory system to be bypassed.”

HMRC is thought to be investigating Qrops in all jurisdictions. Guernsey-based Concept Group, who run the Aurora International Pension Plan Qrops, managing director Roger Berry believes any changes made to Qrops legislation are likely to emerge in the pre-Budget report. He says: “The HMRC will, in all likelihood, accommodate all jurisdictions on pension transfers as long as they do not abuse the spirit of the HMRC’s base legislation.”

Offshore pensions adviser Panthera says it is in susp- ended animation until HMRC clarifies where it stands after its recent move to de-list Qrops in Singapore.

Managing director Bethell Codrington says: “There has always been free movement of capital allowing people to transfer pensions. Short of ripping up EU treaty law and rewriting the 2006 Pensions Act, the Revenue cannot stop people transferring their pensions, they can just make it a damn sight more difficult.”

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