Each of the points below are a link to the answers for the most common questions we are asked. The key words are highlighted.
- What type of pension funds can be transferred to Australia?
- Is the transfer process secure?
- What does a lump sum pension transfer mean?
- What superannuation fund can I transfer my UK pension funds to in Australia?
- How long will the transfer take to complete?
- After my UK Pension has been transferred, where is my money invested?
- When I transfer my UK Pension funds to Australia, will I incur any tax in the process?
- What about the exchange rates?
- What are the costs?
- What if I hold a temporary visa?
- Are there any age restrictions?
- Can I transfer to a Self Managed Superannuation fund in Australia?
- Can my UK state pension or age pension be transferred to Australia?
- What happens if I have lost details of my UK pension fund?
- How do I get started?
What type of pension funds can be transferred to Australia?
Almost all personal and company (occupational, final salary or money purchase) pension funds, including “deferred” and “preserved”, can be transferred to Australia as a lump sum, so long as you haven’t already started to receive benefits (i.e. an annual pension or annuity).
Is the transfer process secure?
Yes. Legislation in the UK and Australia strictly dictates that the transfer payment can only be sent from your UK pension fund provider directly to your Australian Superannuation scheme. Transfer payments can NEVER be made to third parties. In addition, the UK pension fund will only release the funds, once documentation has been signed by all parties – namely, the UK pension fund, the Australian fund and you – making the process very secure and safe.
What does a lump sum pension transfer mean?
When you transfer a UK pension fund to an overseas fund your scheme provider will calculate a transfer value, which represents the capital value of your pension benefits that have been accrued to date. This is the amount that can be transferred. Once transferred, your UK pension provider will hold no further benefits for you.
What superannuation fund can I transfer my UK pension funds to in Australia?
To comply with UK pension legislation, when UK pension benefits are transferred to Australia must be made to an Australian Superannuation fund that has been registered and approved by the UK authorities as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (‘QROPS’). We can look at your existing fund, and discuss your options. Do not worry if you currently do not have a superannuation scheme or your current scheme is not a QROPS – we can recommend one for you.
How long will the transfer take to complete?
The transfer of UK pension funds can take from 8 to 20 weeks to complete depending on the type of UK scheme you have. There are several factors that could greatly affect the timing process. The transfers of personal pensions are usually quicker than the transfer of company pensions. We will provide you with an indicative timeframe for the transfer at the commencement of the process.
After my UK Pension has been transferred, where is my money invested?
Your transferred funds will be initially deposited in a secure cash account within your Superannuation scheme. We will have discussed with you during the process your options for investing the transferred funds. You always retain control over all aspects of the transfer.
When I transfer my UK Pension funds to Australia, will I incur any tax in the process?
If you transfer your UK pension fund to Australia more than 6 months after taking up permanent residency (which is very common), then some tax may be payable based on the growth of your UK pension fund since being a resident of Australia. The good news is that this tax (if any) can be capped at 15% and deducted from your Australian Superannuation scheme. This can eliminate out-of-pocket expenses while still allowing you to achieve your goals.
For Example: You became resident of Australia on 1st April 2005 and the transfer value of your UK pension at that time was £30,000. The transfer value when transferred to Australia on 31 March 2013 was £40,000, meaning that the fund grew by £10,000. Tax of £1,500 (£10,000 x 15%) would be deducted from your Australian superannuation fund.
What about the exchange rates?
The most commonly asked question relates to exchange rates. You can still transfer your pension to Australia and gain the associated benefits, plus retain the funds in Sterling should you wish to do so. This gives you the opportunity to control when your funds are converted to $AUD.
What are the costs?
It costs nothing to find out the facts. Once we have the details of your pension scheme/s, we will provide you with a quote for our services to prepare our advice and the transfer process should you wish to proceed. With a minimum fee of $550 (incl GST), this quote will be based on the number of schemes you may have and is linked directly to the time we invest in your transfer. It is not based on the size of your scheme nor is it based on a percentage. The good news is that any fee can be paid from the transferred funds and therefore not a direct out-of-pocket cost.
What if I hold a temporary visa?
Holders of temporary visas are still eligible to transfer their UK pension funds benefits to Australia.
Are there any age restrictions?
If you are aged over 65, you must meet the so-called ‘Work Test’ of the Australian superannuation system to be eligible to transfer your UK pension benefits to Australia. The ‘Work Test’ requires you to have worked at least 40 hours over no more than 30 days during the financial year in which the transfer is made. You will need to provide confirmation in writing to the receiving superannuation scheme that you have satisfied the Test.
Can I transfer to a Self-Managed Superannuation fund in Australia?
Yes, you can transfer your UK Pension Funds into a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (‘SMSF’) in Australia, so long at is has been registered as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (‘QROPS’) with the UK authorities. We can discuss the benefits of potentially transferring to a SMSF with you.
Can my UK state pension or age pension be transferred to Australia?
No, the UK state pension/age pension cannot be transferred to Australia as a lump sum. Subject to you achieving the minimum number of qualifying years, the UK Government will pay you a state pension/age pension at state retirement age, weekly, monthly or annually into a UK or Australian bank account.
What happens if I have lost details of my UK pension fund?
Companies change, and so do the companies that administer their pensions. So if you have lost the details or don’t know who your pension is with, the best option is for you to contact the Pension Tracing Service. If you worked for the National Health Service (NHS), as a teacher or in the armed services, we may be able to assist immediately. Please contact us to discuss further. Once you have located your pension fund providers details, we will then help you look at the transfer. See this website for more information:
How do I get started?
After requesting a free UK Pension Transfer Pack, we will email you a Letter of Authority to be completed for each pension scheme you hold. This will then allow us to obtain the transfer value available from your scheme. This does not authorise a transfer, purely to obtain the key information we need to discuss with you. Finding out the basics costs nothing.