Adam Fayed
2 min readNov 10, 2018


QROPS/SIPPS pension transfers in Dubai, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and beyond

Nobody wants a huge tax bills and many people living in the UK know about the benefits of investing in ISAs. For expats living overseas, however, I have noticed there is a lot of confusion about this topic. Is it better to keep investing at home whilst overseas? Is it better to transfer your pension when you live overseas?

Many expats can transfer their pension (in certain circumstances) if they are from the UK, Belgium, Holland and Belgium. Many already have, with some being happy with how their transferred pension is being managed, and some less so.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of transferring a pension overseas? There are two huge factors to consider. One is whether your pension is a final salary scheme (defined benefit) or a defined contribution scheme. And one is how big the pension pot is.

Final salary schemes should only be transferred with caution, as they are usually generous, and you don’t have any market risks associated with them. That doesn’t mean final salary pensions should never be transferred. You need to ask questions like:

– What is the current funding situation with the pension? Do any black holes exist?

– How is it indexed according to inflation?

– Can I take a lump sum on retirement?

– Do my dependents get any benefits?

– At what age do the benefits start?

If the answer is unfavorable to any of these questions, for example, your kids won’t get any benefits once you die, it may be worth taking the market risk for the benefits. Moreover, if the pension pot is big, it may be big enough to avoid the lifetime allowance and therefore it will reduce tax.

That brings us on nicely to the size of the pension pot, which is also relevant for the defined contribution pensions. Defined contribution pensions are already invested in the markets anyway, and the benefits to transferring them whilst living overseas are huge.

However, if the pension is small, the gains of the transfer will be eaten up by fees. So I would say most defined contribution pensions are worth transferring, HOWEVER the value often has to be at least 50,000 or 100,000 Pound Sterling to make it worthwhile.

The same is true for citizens of Ireland, Belgium and Holland who can also transfer their pensions overseas due to the EU’s EURBS program. The same considerations apply though, as transferring overseas is only worth it if your account is worth about 150,000euros or so.

If you are an expat from the UK, Ireland, Holland or Belgium, don’t hesitate to email me at or my International AMG email —, and I will be in touch. This includes those that have already transferred.

For other expats who may not be from those nationalities, always be on the lookout for tax efficiency as it really does make a difference long-term.