Published on May 17th, 2011 | by john.weir2
New Zealand QROPS providers look to clean up their act
A group of New Zealand QROPS providers are working together to create a code of conduct in order to improve the reputation of the country’s marketplace for overseas pensions.
The move comes as there is growing disquiet in the UK and abroad about unlicensed and unqualified pension advisers giving misleading advice to people looking to emigrate to New Zealand.Â Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) are offshore pension arrangements designed to allow retired British expatriates to draw an income abroad.
Recently, a number of pension schemes have been shut down by UK authorities for failing to comply with regulations.Â In some extreme cases, advisors have been found to be deliberately mis-selling the schemes as a way of reaping tax benefits; in particular, by giving customers the ability to withdraw their cash as a tax-free lump sum after it is transferred abroad.
The New Zealand code of conduct is being chiefly organised by Strategi, a New-Zealand based consultancy which says its driving motivation is the desire to restore consumer confidence in QROPS.
“The New Zealand QROPS marketplace has suffered under global scrutiny amid claims that the jurisdiction is the ‘wild west’ of QROPS, an unfair label given that much of the foundations for this reputation can be laid at the feet of international advisers who have misled or bullied local product providers into some limited inappropriate new business,” said Mark Hattersley, QROPS and best practice compliance officer for Strategi.
Geraint Davies, managing director of pension specialists Montfort International says ” Â The message should now be loud and clear to all migrants that international financial planning advice is at the complex end of complex when it comes to advising on whether a pension fund should be transferred ex-UK and that will never, ever change. Â Hardly a day goes by when we have to explain to a client, that the person they have been talking to is not regulated to give advice in the UK.Â Then we hear sometimes where a client has been told itâ€™s a case of just transfer the pension funds without written advice into the country of current or future resident. “
“Quality advice is essential.Â I am sure that there are going to be a few people knocking on the door of the FMA.Â Its good to see NZ regulation being pro-active.”
To get qualified advice on moving your pension to New Zealand, Australia or Canada, then visit Down Under Live, the UK’s number one event for emigration to Australia & New Zealand at the Business Design Centre in London on the 17th and 18th September 2011.