Guernsey: Guernsey Hosting QROPS Seminar In London
Last Updated: 21 March 2012

Clarity on what the future holds for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) in Guernsey will be given at a London seminar in May.

The pensions industry is currently waiting to hear what amendments might be made to overseas pension regulations following consultation on draft legislation proposed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in December 2011. The consultation period ended on 31 January 2012 and the new legislation, if enacted, will take effect from 6 April 2012.

Guernsey service providers, including the Guernsey Association of Pension Providers (GAPP), submitted responses to the consultation which agreed that most of the proposed changes were appropriate, but also saw them lobby against the introduction of a new Condition 4, which effectively means that residents and non-residents must be treated equally in terms of tax on benefits paid within any QROPS scheme.

In addition, the Guernsey authorities have also taken steps to ensure that local service providers will continue to be able to offer a competitive environment for QROPS should the UK push ahead with its proposed changes. The Guernsey Parliament approved plans to create a new category of pension scheme which, by extending the tax exemption on pension benefits to residents, is designed to meet HMRC's proposed revised criteria for a scheme to be considered a QROPS.

Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry, said: "There is a lot of uncertainty out there among independent financial advisers and people who already have QROPS in Guernsey and other jurisdictions because of the potential changes from HMRC. Unfortunately we won't know what these changes are going to be until the Budget Statement is released or the 2012 Finance Bill which is published after the budget.

"However, Guernsey has already announced that we have responded to the consultation because we believe there are some unintended consequences that come out of this, most notably Condition 4. Yet, at the same time, we felt it was important to adopt a dual-track approach. If our concerns, voiced in response to the consultation are not taken into account then we needed to have a QROPS product in place that fitted the changes required by HMRC.

"While we are currently uncertain about the future we feel it is important to get the Guernsey message to advisers, particularly in London, to address the situation. By the time of the conference the overall position will be very much clearer."

The seminar, titled QROPS: Look no further than Guernsey, is being held by Guernsey Finance and GAPP. It takes place from 4pm on Wednesday 23 May in the Stevenson Theatre at The British Museum, Great Russell Street and follows on from a series of QROPS events that Guernsey Finance has held in London and other UK cities in the last few years.

Guest speakers at the event will be announced shortly but will consist of Guernsey QROPS professionals discussing the impact of the changes proposed by HMRC to overseas pension regulations.

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