Thursday, April 7, 2011
The Guernsey Association of Pension Providers (GAAP) has noted the publication of a 13-page Code of Practice document, on March 31, as a guide to best practice on the operation of Qualifying Registered Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) in Guernsey.
While the adoption of the code is not mandatory for Guernsey providers, GAPP is to incentivize those who choose to implement the standards by publishing a list of those providers that have implemented them.
GAPP has said that the Code, which is also accessible to non-members of the Association, takes into account best practice as at January 2011, and is to be updated as regulatory and legislative changes, and evolution in best practice, necessitate.
QROPS are one of the financial planning techniques available to UK expats who have already moved or are planning to move overseas to retire. QROPS can provide investment flexibility and currency options for clients who live abroad (or are planning to relocate prior to retirement). They are an effective way to consolidate UK pension assets gathered throughout someone’s working life in the UK and provide flexibility to allow retirement planning to accommodate their new lifestyle overseas.
Although the government planned to draft its own code of conduct, as announced at a QROPS seminar in London in March 2010, the GAPP membership includes the majority, if not all, Guernsey QROPS providers and the Association's initiative was endorsed by Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, Peter Niven in February 2011:
“Since HM Revenue and Customs's introduction of a QROPS regime in 2006, Guernsey has become the leading jurisdiction for providing this product. A key reason is the security and stability that the island offers through its proactive approach to meeting stakeholder expectations.”
“Often codes of conduct are imposed on sectors so it is extremely positive that this one is coming from within the island’s finance industry. It is an ideal way of ensuring a benchmark which will in turn provide advisers and clients with enhanced confidence that we in Guernsey are working to transparent standards,” he said at the time.