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Find out the benefits and pitfalls of moving your pension to New Zealand.

What Are The Benefits?

  • You may be able to access a large part of your pension now, once you have reached the minimum UK retirement age or 55, tax free, subject to UK tax regulations.
  • New Zealand’s retirement options are very flexible. In New Zealand you don’t have to buy an annuity at retirement, and you can usually draw down your retirement income in any way you wish, subject to UK QROPS rules
  • Your Pension assets become yours to own and control now. You get to decide how your funds are invested and whether you wish to continue adding savings to it or not, and in the event of your death your pension will go to your estate. There can also be estate taxation benefits for some types of UK pensions such as SIPPS *
  • You can consolidate all your pensions into one – this makes it a lot easier to keep track of your retirement savings, and it makes it a lot easier to control and manage your funds when they are with one New Zealand pension provider.
  • You no longer need to worry about your UK Pension Provider – who is it with, is it safe, funded adequately, investing your funds wisely, or merging with another provider? Your NZ Fund Provider is readily accessible by telephone and internet, and you also have a local New Zealand adviser as a point of contact.
  • UK Pensions are usually transferred with no UK tax deductions, provided they are transferred to a NZ Qualified Registered Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) and you reside in NZ.  New Zealand Personal Superannuation Pensions are paid out tax-free. However, you may have tax to pay in New Zealand on growth of your overseas pension, once you are outside the NZ 4 year transitional residency tax exclusion period, therefore there can be NZ tax advantages by transferring within 4 years of migrating*.
  • Exchange rate issues won’t be a problem – your pension will already be in NZ dollars for you to enjoy in retirement. No need to worry about transaction charges and exchange rate fluctuations when your pension is payable.

There can be disadvantages to transferring

  • The UK Government provides tax relief on pension savings in UK registered pension schemes, and some UK Pensions have guaranteed benefits.  You will lose any guarantees that are built into your UK Pension such as minimum pensions, spouse or dependants pensions, or inflation-linked increases.
  • Once you have transferred your pension to NZ you normally cannot transfer back to the same UK scheme with the same benefits.  Your pension funds in NZ under the UK HMRC QROPS regime may be subject to more stringent rules covering withdrawals and pension payments than if you left your pension in the UK.
  • If you transfer your pension to a NZ QROPS scheme where you currently reside, there may be UK taxation implications if you move to another country within 5 years of transferring your UK Pension.
  • Transferring your UK Pension is a big decision with many pros and cons – ultimately it is your pension, and your choice where you wish to retire and want your pension to be invested.

The NZ Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has information on their website about how they regulate NZ financial advisers and financial advice – see here.

*We are not qualified to give taxation or legal advice, and always recommend that you consult an appropriate taxation or legal professional as applicable.  Also see NZ Taxation rules for more information.

Disclaimer: The information on this web site is general information and not specific to any particular case. It is designed to help you understand some of the implications of transferring your UK pension to New Zealand, and to assist you to decide what is best for your own situation.

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