UK Pension Transfer Advice for Expatriates in Portugal

Make sure you know what to do with your UK pension/s!

                                                                                      Ever thought about a QROPS or SIPP?

Unlock access to 100% of your pension

Flexible drawdown offered by transferring your UK pension to a QROPS or SIPP means that you may access the entirety of your pension whenever, and however, you so wish from age 55 onwards. George Osborne appealed to the masses in 2015 when he brought about his plans for pension freedom which meant that pension-holders could access as much of their fund as they wanted once having reached pensionable age. Though in reality, a great many UK Defined Contribution schemes don’t have the means to implement this, furthermore it is not even an option under Defined Benefit (Final salary schemes) which work along the principles of an ‘income for life.’

We can help you explore how 100% access could be made available to you via a transfer to a QROPS or SIPP. Call us today!

Don’t let your pension slip away via deficits!

Severe pension deficits have become commonplace across a great many UK Defined Benefit (Final salary) schemes. Giants such as BT, and BAE have massive defictis, whilst the likes of Carillion have disappeared altogether!

Many of us seek the option to transfer in order to protect them and seize control of our money!
Find out how. Talk to an expert! Get in touch today.

Defined benefit schemes 

Safeguard against currency depreciation

The day-to-day value of pound sterling bears a great significance on the true value of your pension – especially if you are drawing on it whilst abroad. Key advantages of a pension transfer to a QROPS or SIPP includes the opportunities for currency diversification. Whilst UK schemes are valued in pound sterling, it is important to consider where you are likely to draw upon, and spend, your pension monies.

Call us today to discuss how to safeguard against a falling pound sterling, by achieving currency diversification.

Taxes on your pension/s

Don’t pay un-necessary taxes on your pension income. Understand how to achieve tax-efficiency!

Call us today!

Very Generous Transfer Values

Defined Benefit transfer values are currently at a high. “TOO GENEROUS” says the regulator. Transferring now could well mean securing a cash value that you might otherwise never get via gradual drawdown. The value of Defined Benefit schemes has traditionally been in their so-called ‘guarantees of certain benefits for life’. However, with many schemes insufficiently funded in order to meet these liabilities, combined with a climate of low-interest rates, we are seeing incredible opportunities for members to cash-in on super transfer values way above the norm. However, you may want to act swiftly as many industry experts believe that such large offers in Defined Benefit transfer values will not last, indeed some schemes have already stopped members’ transfers altogether. Don’t miss the boat!

Pass on 100% of your wealth

A transfer to a SIPP or QROPS, means that the full value of your remaining pension fund can be passed on to your loved ones. Make sure that any of your remaining pension fund goes to those you love – and not other scheme members! If you currently have a Defined Benefit scheme it is likely that only 50%-70% will be passed on to your surviving spouse, and 0% to non-dependent children. Protect your wealth ! Get in touch today!!

Do you hold multiple pensions?

Consolidation of multiple pension schemes in to one can offer many advantages. Lower overall costs, and enhanced benefits can be brought about by consolidation your multiple pensions in to one scheme

Are your currents schemes best placed to offer you tax efficiency, easy access and peace of mind?
Living in Portugal, for example, and holding a single UK pension could be frustrating at times, and un-clear. Though holding multiple pension schemes could become a logistical nightmare!

Many of our clients have accumulated their pension assets via different schemes as they have changed jobs or worked for different employers throughout their career. This is in fact quite common place.

Consolidation of one’s overall pensions into one scheme can provide far greater clarity and peace of mind – talk to us today to find out how!

Are Pension Transfers safe?

A UK pension transfer is only permissible via an alternative pension scheme which carries UK Government recognition and approval.
Transfer aside, the major ongoing risk factor of a pension transfer might be brought about through how your pension money is invested, and managed within the new scheme – certainly if providing a regular income. Please see the below section How would your pension assets be invested after transfer?

Other important factors applicable to residents of Portugal may include:

The 25% UK Government tax charge on transfer of UK pensions to QROPS.
In consideration of a pension transfer, your current residency in Portugal will be important, but also perhaps your past few years’ residency, as well as any future plans to live elsewhere.

Your adviser at Speciality Advice will also help you to consider any Double Taxation Agreements which may exist between relevant QROPS jurisdictions and Portugal, or the UK and Portugal in the case of SIPP’s.

- We can help you to make sense of these.

*Always ensure that you are confident in receiving all relevant information prior to any transfers of your UK pensions.
Avoid scams, at the bottom of this page are some useful links:


If you have worked in the UK, or for a British company, and have acquired UK pension assets we can then help you to understand the key elements of your pension/s, and whether transferring them to an alternative scheme such as a SIPP (self-Invested Pension Plan) or QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme) is advantageous, or not, depending on your individual circumstances.

Get in touch today for a friendly, no-obligation chat.

See below a case study that helps explain the process!

The process of a UK Pension Transfer Case Study, Mr & Mrs Walker (residents of Portugal, aged 58)
  1. Mrs Walker has stumbled upon Speciality Advice online, Mr Walker then decides to email us in order to arrange a no-obligation, friendly and informal chat.
  2. Mr Walker explains that he has a UK pension , but isn’t too sure of the details. He agrees to contacting the UK scheme to find out the details, and is happy to sign a letter of authority simply enabling us to obtain the information on his behalf. He has the choice of this being sent either directly to him, or us.
  3. Having received this information a few weeks later, Mr Walker sets up a face-to-face meeting/or skype call to go through the info with a qualified and experienced pension adviser from Sepcilaity Advice. The adviser then helps Mr Walker to assess his pension, and the options available together with the pros and cons of leaving it where it is, or transferring out to a SIPP or QROPS.
  4. Having discussed things in detail, Mr Walker is interested in transferring his pension and is delighted to discover that a transfer offers access from age 55, over that of 65 in his current UK scheme.
  5. The adviser explains why a SIPP is the best option, given Mr Walker’s current and likely future circumstances, combined with his financial objectives.
  6. Mr Walker’s transfer value from his UK scheme (CETV) is valued at £323,000. He plans to take his 25% PLCS (tax-free pension commencement lump sum), and then a further lump sum later that year to finance an additional property purchase in Portugal. The remainder he thinks he will leave in order to draw an income.
  7. The application for the SIPP involves the UK pension Trustees verifying the government approved status of the SIPP scheme, and then they liquidate the invested fund and the cash value is transferred over to the SIPP Trust. The SIPP Trustees are then able to pay Mr Walker directly his relevant monies when the time arises.
  8. Mr Walker has decided to let his adviser help him make sure that his new pension fund within the SIPP is invested safely and securely, according to his risk profile, and via some leading and well-known fund managers. He has also expressed a n interest in diversifying across Euro and GBP in order to protect from any future currency risks.

What is a SIPP?

 A SIPP stands for self-invested pension plan. These are essentially UK-based schemes, and are fully regulated in the UK.

It is quite common for UK residents to hold SIPP’s for their pension plans, but for those who don’t – ie, those who hold company pensions, private/personal pension plans, or defined benefit/final salary schemes, a transfer to a SIPP can be potentially offer some key advantages.

What is a QROPS?

A QROPS is a ‘qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension scheme’.

These came about in 2006, and are essentially UK government approved schemes based outside of the UK. Leading jurisdictions include the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Malta.

In 2017, the UK government introduced a 25% tax charge on transfer out of a UK scheme to a QROPS (in certain circumstances) , so it’s very important to consider fully as to which alternative scheme is best for you.

 How would your pension assets be invested after transfer?

 At Speciality Advice, our solutions, offer access to the world's leading fund houses and investment management teams.

Key names include Quilter Cheviot, Dolphin Brewin, Henderson asset management, HSBC and so son, and so forth …

As a client, you have the choice of making your own investment decisions, or as with the majority of our clients - you may opt for your cash to be managed via professional portfolio managers, according to important specifications such as your attitude to risk and so forth.

Get in touch today ...

Useful links: 

Specialty Advice is committed to helping protect the public from pension scams.

Always consider the transfer of your pension very carefully, and make sure that you understand all implications of transferring, including the associated costs, along with any potential risks.

Ensure that you are making an informed decision.

Proud members of the PFS:

 "acting with the highest ethical standards and integrity" and "acting in the best interests of each and every client"