, last updated - UK Pension Transfer

The difference between QROPS and SIPP pensions – Taking your pension abroad

expat teachers

Retiring abroad? What is the difference between QROPS and SIPP?

Does a warmer climate, lower tax and a relaxed lifestyle get you dreaming of life abroad? These dreams are undoubtedly achievable, but often start to fade when you have to work around moving your pension abroad.

But there’s no need to stress. With various different options available to you, moving your pension abroad needn’t be a struggle. With the help of a financial advisor you can sit back, relax and think about the important stuff….. Like which beach to visit first.



One of the options open to you is a QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme). A QROPS is an overseas pension scheme that meets the requirements set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to transfer and consolidate UK pensions, including frozen pensions.

A QROPS allows you to transfer the vast majority of privately administered personal or corporate UK pension, without incurring any unauthorised charges.


Retirement and pension planning are highly important and if carried out properly, British expats can get significant benefits from their pension.

  • Avoid significant tax in the UK.
  • There’s no maximum lifetime allowance. Any growth in value of the QROPS above the value of the UK Lifetime Allowance paid as a pension, will escape the 25% lifetime allowance excess tax charge.
  • Transferring your funds to a QROPS provides you with protection from UK inheritance tax.
  • Overseas and expat pension schemes will ensure that residual pension funds are passed to the intended beneficiaries more easily and quicker than if you held a UK based pension.


A Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is a flexible pension plan that allows you to take control of your own investment decisions when saving for your retirement. An International SIPP gives you the choice to appoint an authorised financial advisor or, to manage the investments yourself.

If you no longer live in the UK, an International SIPP allows you to transfer and consolidate benefits from a UK registered pension schemes easily and efficiently to your new country of residence, while still protecting you under UK regulations.


An International SIPP holds many benefits. SIPP investments provide you with a much wider range of investment choice and flexibility than a standard pension. A standard pension typically has a limited choice of funds which tend to be overseen by the company’s own fund managers.

SIPP pension investment vehicles typically may include:

  • Investment trusts
  • Gilts
  • UK and overseas stocks and shares
  • Unlisted shares
  • Insurance Bonds
  • OEICs and unit trusts
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs)
  • Property and land (not typically residential property).

…. And to sweeten the deal, SIPP Pension investments grow free of capital gains tax or income taxes.

Both QROPS and SIPP have their benefits. To make sure your move abroad is filled with fun and family, contact Harrison Brook today and we’ll make your pension transfer a quick and easy process.

Want to find out more?

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only which is subject to change and should not be relied upon. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.

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