Everybody has a unique set of questions depending on their circumstances and understanding; here are three of the most common topics.
1. Living abroad
Depending on why you’ve emigrated, which country you’re living in and how long you intend to stay there, you can either leave your pension in the UK or transfer it overseas.
- The State Pension
Although you will be able to receive your State Pension, depending on which country you live in may mean that you become ineligible for its annual increase.
- Workplace pension – leaving it in the UK
- Workplace pension – moving it out of the UK
If you’re emigrating permanently it may be possible to transfer your pension scheme from the UK to a suitable overseas scheme called a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme, or ‘QROPS’ (pronounced “Q-rops”). There are a number of conditions that have to be met and you’ll need to engage a specialist financial adviser to manage the transfer, deal with the various organisations involved and make sure you comply, efficiently, with any tax regulations both here and abroad.
You can still be a member of a UK-registered pension scheme and contribute towards it although you may not be eligible for tax relief.
2. Regulation and complaints
Regulation and complaints about the pension industry, pension schemes and how they are sold is shared by five principal agencies.
- The Pensions Regulator
Despite its name, The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of UK workplace pension schemes only and works with trustees, employers, financial advisers and pension specialists. Although it doesn’t work with individuals, there’s a lot of very good advice on its website, especially about auto enrolment. For more information, please visit The Pensions Regulators’ website.
- The Financial Conduct Authority
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) oversees the conduct of individuals and companies who provide financial services. If you have a private pension scheme or have used your pension pot to buy an annuity or drawdown product, your financial adviser should be authorised by the FCA and your provider is likely to be overseen by the FCA. The FCA keeps a register of the firms and individuals it regulates. For more information and check the FCA register, please visit the FCA website.
- The Prudential Regulation Authority
The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is part of the Bank of England and was created by the Financial Services Act 2012 to ensure the ‘prudential’ operation of any organisation offering financial services, including banks, insurance companies and major investment firms. (Note: despite its name it is not related to Prudential plc.) For more information, please visit The Bank of England’s website.
- The Pensions Ombudsman
The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman is an independent organisation that investigates complaints about how pension schemes are run and can help if you’ve tried to resolve a problem but aren’t satisfied with the outcome. They offer a free service, reviewing the case impartially and have legal powers to make decisions. For more information, please visit the Pensions Ombudsman website.
3. Get advice – you’ll be glad that you did!
When you think what’s at stake it becomes hard to exaggerate how important your pension is. Most people pay a lot of attention to earning the most they can during their working life because it’s so obviously important: it pays the bills and supports their lifestyle. So why do so many of us give comparatively little thought to what’s going to happen when we retire? What’s going to pay the bills and fund our lifestyle then? Although we can’t escape the need to have a well-paid job, we seem to ignore the need to have a well-paid retirement, something mirrored by the fact that less than one in three people in the UK currently save into a pension scheme.
‘Yes’, pensions are complicated. ‘No’, you are not expected to be an expert and understand everything about them. Talking to a qualified financial adviser will certainly ‘help you get your ducks in a row’ and, at the very least, you’ll know what you can and can’t do. You’ll probably come away from a meeting with an adviser with a far better understanding of your financial circumstances, the basics of a solid plan and you may have even set the wheels in motion. It may be only a very small start but it may make all the difference when you retire.
If you want a better understanding of pensions and don’t want to talk to someone – maybe you’d just like to know a bit more before committing yourself to a meeting – two of the most useful websites to visit are:
- The Pensions Advisory Service
- Pension Wise
Pension Wise is a new, free and impartial government service that, in light of the changes known as ‘pension freedom’, was set up to offer impartial advice about defined contribution pension schemes and the options you now have. For more information, please visit the Pension Wise website.
How can One Financial Solutions help you?
One Financial Solutions is here to help you. We’ll work with you, assess your current circumstances, review your retirement goals and help you come up with a plan to meet them, ensuring that having a ‘financially secure and comfortable retirement’ isn’t left to chance.
We’ll assess the value of your State Pension and make sure you receive everything you’re entitled to; we’ll review any workplace and private pensions you may have and recommend any changes we feel may be financially beneficial. If you need a pension scheme we’ll find one for you and, as a truly independent firm of financial advisers, we’ll make sure the one we recommend is selected from the entire market and is the best one for you.
So, if you’re looking for specific help about any aspect of your pension or just want advice on the subject, please call us on 020 3714 9565 or ask us to call you by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.