Is A UK Pension Transfer To Australia As Simple As A Bank Account Transfer?

Posted by Paul Davies on 14/11/09 13:49

When someone looks at migrating to Australia permanently, they instinctively look at moving their assets with them. Whether it is switching funds from one bank account to another, a pension transfer to Australia or moving any other asset across, advice is needed.
If you have funds in a UK bank account, the transfer of those funds from the UK to an Australian bank account can be quite simple. But is a pension transfer to Australia just as straight forward?

There are similar considerations when looking to transfer both bank account and pension funds – the exchange rate, for example or the financial strength of respective institutions.

However, because of the Australian tax issues involved – such as FIF (Foreign Investment Fund), tax on growth within Australian superannuation schemes and the ‘6 month’ rule – an individual needs to be aware of more points with pensions than they would with moving money from one bank account to another.

In addition, there are the UK rules for a UK pension transfer overseas to consider. From April 2006 only schemes registered as a QROPS (Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pension Scheme) with the UK HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) can accept UK pension transfer funds. Many migrants would look to move their UK employers pension to their new Australia employers superannuation but what if their Australian employer’s scheme is not a QROPS?

From both a practical and tax saving point of view, an individual should speak to an experienced adviser at Global QROPS Ltd before deciding on whether a pension transfer to Australia is suitable.