Information for consumers on transferring or switching UK pensions into international self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs)

We have been contacted by consumers about overseas advisory firms advising expatriates to transfer or switch their UK pensions into a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) – often one marketed as an ‘international SIPP’. These queries typically relate to the charges being paid in these overall arrangements.

Overseas advisory firms often invest consumers’ pension funds through an offshore investment bond within an international SIPP. We are concerned that consumers who invest in this way may be exposed to high and/or unnecessary charges. We are also concerned that the tax benefits of investing through an offshore investment bond are largely redundant to someone investing in a UK personal pension scheme.

If you are approached by an overseas advisor you should consider if these arrangements are in your best interests. Make sure that you understand all charges that may be incurred by the overall arrangements, as well as any exit penalty charges that may apply.

If you are a member of a Defined Benefit Scheme (DB) and are considering transferring out into an international SIPP, you should contact the The Pensions Advisory Service, for impartial guidance before taking any further action. We believe transferring out of a DB pension scheme is unlikely to be in the best interests of most consumers.