Other things to know
Everybody has their own, unique set of questions depending on their circumstances and understanding; here are just three common topics.
1. Living abroad
Depending on why you’re living outside the UK, which country you’ve living in and how long you intend to stay there, you can either leave you pension in the UK or transfer it overseas.
- Leaving it in the UK
Many pension scheme and annuity providers don’t pay pensions into overseas’ bank accounts so you may have to transfer the money from a UK-based account to an account in the country you’ve moved to. You’ll need to consider movement in the exchange rate and inter-country transfer fees.
- 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 probably 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.
- 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.
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
Despite its name, The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of UK workplace pension schemes only, working 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. To visit The Pensions Regulators’ website, please click here.
Regulation and complaints about the pension industry, pension schemes and how they are sold is shared by four principal agencies:
- 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, 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. You can check the FCA register on their website at www.fca.org.uk
- 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 click here.
- 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 click here.
- The Financial Ombudsman Service
The Financial Ombudsman Service investigates complaints about the sale or marketing of individual pension arrangements. If you’re unhappy about the advice you were given, you must give the firm who advised you the chance to resolve matters. If, after a period of eight weeks, you’re still not happy, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to intervene. To find out more, please click here.
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 their pay during their working life because they know it’s important as their lifestyle depends upon it. But most of us give comparatively little thought to what’s going to happen when we retire: what is going 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 which may help to explain why less than one in three people in the UK currently save into a pension scheme.
‘Yes’, pensions are complicated but, ‘no’, you are not expected to be an expert and understand it all. Talking to a qualified financial adviser will certainly ‘help you get your ducks in a row’ – at least you’ll know what you can and can’t do, will probably come away from the meeting with the basics of a plan and may even have 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 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
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) is a free advisory service that gives people professional, independent and impartial help with their pensions. Apart from giving advice about the State Pension, workplace pensions and private pensions they can also work to resolve pension scheme disputes. TPAS is also a ‘delivery partner’ for Pension Wise. To visit The Pension Advisory Service website, please click here.
- 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. To visit the Pension Wise website, please click here.
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.