I’m moving to the UK and I have a Guernsey pension – am I able to transfer this to a UK pension scheme and is there any downside if I don’t?
Sean Gillease, business development manager, Sovereign Trust (Channel Islands) Ltd, replies:
IT IS possible to transfer a Guernsey approved personal pension (retirement annuity trust scheme) or your account within a Guernsey approved occupational pension to a UK registered pension scheme.
The law allows for this and for someone who has become permanent tax resident in the UK, there is likely to be no tax implications from such a transfer as there can be with certain other types of overseas transfer from a Guernsey-approved pension.
Ask your Guernsey-based pension provider for their confirmation that your scheme allows for a transfer to a scheme situated outside of Guernsey.
If it is possible, request any documentation they require to be completed by you and by the proposed receiving UK scheme provider, in order to authorise the transfer.
You will then need to find a UK registered pension scheme that is able and willing to accept a transfer from a Guernsey-approved pension.
If your UK employer provides a pension scheme under the UK auto-enrolment system, check that they can accept a transfer from a Guernsey-approved pension. This would allow you to consolidate your pension savings into one scheme, keeping costs to a minimum. Your employer would cover scheme expenses.
An alternative is a UK personal pension, such as a self-invested personal pension, which would allow a transfer from a Guernsey-approved pension. This offers more flexibility with investment choice, but fees and charges would be your responsibility.
The rules of your current scheme may allow non-Guernsey resident members, therefore you could remain as a member of the Guernsey scheme. A double tax agreement exists between the UK and Guernsey so the tax outcome should be the same.
Always seek specialist independent tax, pension and financial advice to ensure that you are fully aware of all possible implications and considerations involved with such a transfer, including any tax implications.