London & Colonial Launch The International Open Pension and Multi-Platform International Open Pension.
Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) have been gathering momentum in the international pension arena for some time, as the allure of job opportunities, higher income and greater standards of living continues to entice increasing numbers of people to move abroad.
Changes in legislation in 2006 which revolutionised the market by making it easier for clients with UK pension schemes to transfer them overseas, combined with the ability of QROPS to provide portable retirement benefits, has opened the door for many to a new and beneficial retirement option.
Add to this the large proportion of advisers, post-RDR, currently looking for ways to add considerable value to their clients' retirement planning, and most should certainly be looking to utilise the considerable opportunities that QROPs and QNUPS currently offer.
Adam Wrench, Head of Product Development and New Business at London & Colonial says:
"With the current value of all QROPS estimated to be approximately £5 - £6 billion, compared with a total potential QROPS market size of in excess of £200bn; and with recent estimates having concluded that a fifth of the UK population are possible QROPS's candidates – all the signs certainly point towards a market most definitely poised for a major surge.
London & Colonial aims to be at the forefront of this new revolution, with the recent launch of two brand new, Gibraltar based, QROPS offerings - the International Open Pension and Multi-Platform International Open Pension.
The London & Colonial International Open Pension is designed to provide access to a full suite of potential investments, both conventional and esoteric, whereas the Multi-Platform International Pension whilst still offering a considerable range of investments and funds, is conveniently accessible online and offers investment opportunities through a range of Platform providers such as Transact, Platform One – UK and Platform One – International, and with the current selection poised to grow further.
The launch of these two new QROPS, perfectly complements London & Colonials existing suite of pension's solutions, including SSAS, SIPP, UK Annuity and EU SIPP (QNUPS)".
"When looking for planning opportunities that advisers can utilise for their UK and overseas clients alike, a combination of pension products is usually the best solution. The ability for an adviser to be able to access these all under one roof, as is the case with London & Colonial's two new products, should prove invaluable.
Last year, changes to the QROPS legislation has seen Gibraltar's' recent resurgence as an attractive destination for pensions investors. Furthermore, with Gibraltar having long been widely recognised as one of the best regulated financial centres in the world we have no doubt that Gibraltar's QROPS industry will continue to grow in popularity, as more and more investors start to recognise its merits – thus leaving it best placed to become the QROPS jurisdiction of choice."
"With the launch of our two new products, containing clear and competitive charging structures, London & Colonial are rapidly positioning themselves as a key player in the mid range market place when it comes to service, price and product innovation, and we are delighted at having been asked to join the QROPS Bureau's Online Platform, to enable advisers to access quickly and easily all the information they could possibly need surrounding London & Colonial as a company, as well as full details of our innovative product range - all in one convenient place."
The Benefits of the Multi-Platform Investment Proposition
As the world population continues to shift and develop over time, so the QROPS market is likely to adapt accordingly.
As Adam explains:
"Whilst QROPS have traditionally offered pension investors a choice of offshore bonds, I see the future moving more towards a Multi-Platform offering; especially as the use of an offshore bond leaves the client exposed to two separate layers of charging – one for the top wrap, the QROPS, and the second for the offshore bond itself.
By using a Platform, these costs can be significantly reduced, while still providing the client with exactly the same tax advantages through the QROPS.
The use of a Platform is most certainly, in my own opinion, one of the most efficient ways to invest in a QROPS. It is also my view that investors should not be restricted to using one single Platform, but instead should be given the opportunity to benefit from access to a whole range of Platforms.
As a client's attitude to risk will change with age, and their asset values on a Platform will change as a result of any new premiums as well as market conditions; not to mention the fact that Platforms are changing their fees, and charging structures all the time as well as the anticipated Platform consolidation – a 'flexible' solution will be required.
Clients will therefore benefit from access to a Multi-Platform solution that can adapt according to a client's particular circumstances, allowing for transfers between Platforms to be made within the client's pension wrapper, and all without the occurrence of any additional and unnecessary charges for the client.
Not only does this significantly help QROPS members, but for those advisers who are willing to grasp the complexities of our QROPS, and take the time to fully understand them it also presents an opportunity to provide real value for their clients, and show them that they are working in their best possible interest through the provision of as much flexibility and scope as possible.
In closing, I'm often asked what exactly a QROPS does that a UK pension cannot, and my usual response is how its beauty lies in its flexibility, freedom of investment choice and, of course, tax benefits".