Another twist in the on-going saga of HMRC and QROPS rules has resulted in a refocusing of where the responsibility lies in ensuring that a QROPS scheme meets requirements.

A line has been drawn in the sand on QROPS transfers completed by 24 September 2008, but thereafter, and for any new transfers into a QROPS, there is a greater onus on both the advisor and the member to ensure that any scheme meets the QROPS requirements and potentially a UK pension trustee may be nervous about transferring to a QROPS unless it is satisfied that the scheme is going to comply with the rules. With the prospect of a tax charge of 55% on the scheme assets if a transfer is deemed to be inappropriate, there are going to be concerns on all parties as to where the liability would lie for such a tax charge being incurred.

Tim Bush, Director of Carey Pensions and Benefits Limited in Guernsey said "previously a transferring scheme may rely on a letter from HMRC and that the scheme is included on the HMRC list of QROPS schemes. This reliance may be inadequate moving forward and HMRC are clear that the list does not imply approval or authorisation of any particular scheme"

Tim Bush continues, "an advisor may be reluctant to recommend a QROPS if they are concerned that the transferring scheme will withhold a transfer given the potential risks".

Bush suggests that one option may be for the member to transfer from their UK pension into a SIPP in order to consolidate their pension transfers, particularly if there is any doubt as to whether a QROPS is right for the individual at that time. A transfer from a SIPP to a QROPS can be made when appropriate. As Carey Group offer SIPP's through their UK business in Milton Keynes, there would be the comfort of knowing that a transfer to a Carey Group connected QROPS (such as the Falcon plan which has been developed by Abacus in Malta in conjunction with Carey Pensions ) would be an appropriate scheme.

Carey Group offer a connected solution between their group teams. Bush continues "If a member transfers to a Carey SIPP and then it is recommended that they transfer to a Carey connected QROPS, then the set up costs of the SIPP will be offset against the set up costs of the QROPS"

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