Q. I’m a 60-year-old British and Canadian citizen, living in Canada for the last five years. I have money in a Sipp (self-invested personal pension) in the UK and also a small NHS pension. My Sipp provider informed me that my money cannot be transferred to Canada – is that true? What about the NHS pension?
Sadiq Hasan, Toronto
A. Justin Harris, managing director of Chase Belgrave, international financial advisers (chasebelgrave.com)
Most pensions, including your Sipp, can be transferred out of the UK. The non-UK scheme must be a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (Qrops) which meets meets certain requirements set by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
One of the key rules an overseas scheme must comply with is the bar on withdrawing money from a pension scheme before the age of 55. As many Canadian schemes allow a withdrawal of $25,000 to purchase a primary residence, you should be cautious on this point.
Unfortunately, you can’t currently transfer your NHS pension scheme although this may change. Do also keep in mind, it’s not necessarily the case that the country you happen to be living in is the ideal country to which to transfer your UK pension scheme. Take financial advice to see the full compliance, tax and investment picture.