Can I Transfer My Pension To A Philippines QROPS?

If you are a British expat living in The Philippines who believes switching UK pension into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) is impossible, then think again.

Even though no providers are based in The Philippines, providing you find the right pension to suit your personal circumstances, transferring to a QROPS and taking advantage of the special features for expats should not be a problem.

QROPS providers have to work to the rules imposed by their local pension regulator – and these come in two formats:

  • Regulators in some financial centres, such as Jersey and Guernsey, only allow expat residents to take out a QROPS
  • Others regulators, such as those in Malta, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man allow non-residents to transfer their UK pension into a QROPS administered in their jurisdictions.

In simple terms, that means if you are an expat living in The Philippines, you can transfer your UK pension into a QROPS run from another financial centre without any problem.

Public funded pension transfers

Not all UK pensions are eligible for a transfer.

You cannot switch your state pension into a QROPS and the rules about civil service or public sector pensions are complicated:

  • Generally, if your QROPS is run from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) – the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – you cannot transfer a civil service or public sector fund to a QROPS
  • If the Philippines QROPS is operated from a financial centre within the EEA, you can for the time being, but the government is looking to bring in new regulations to stop these transfers, so the clock is ticking down for anyone interested in making the switch

Who is eligible for a Philippines QROPS?

Philippines QROPS have features that offer tax and investment opportunities for:

  • Foreign workers who have British pension rights who now reside in The Philippines
  • UK residents with UK pension rights who want to emigrate to The Philippines
  • British expats with UK pension rights living in The Philippines
  • British expats living in the Philippines who want to settle somewhere other than the UK at some time

Expats will find that providers take offer a range of products to help savers with pension pots of any size. Special products are available for ‘small pots’ of between £30,000 and £100,000, while specialists handle funds of more than £100,000.