The QROPS market is continually undergoing change. Fiona Murphy looks at the recent developments.
The Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) market seems to have been in a constant state of flux, particularly over the past year. On 6 April 2012, HMRC took a stand to combat tax abuses with legislation to tighten up the market, including increased reporting requirements.
The market leader, Guernsey, had attempted to change its pension schemes ahead of this, but ended up with more than 300 schemes culled by HMRC from the approved list of overseas pension schemes. This meant it was effectively no longer a jurisdiction for overseas schemes. This had been a controversial decision, as voices from Guernsey argued that the centre had always been law-abiding and robust.
Since then, QROPS has continually been under scrutiny, with Hong Kong as the latest jurisdiction to lose all but two schemes at the beginning of August. What have the most pressing issues been over recent months?
Arguably, the most significant development was the ROSIIP court case, which dates back further than recent reforms. ROSIIP was a pension scheme based in Singapore, which had notified HMRC in 2006 that it met the conditions to be a QROPS.
However, in 2008, HMRC removed this scheme from the list. Over the next few years, the scheme’s trustees challenged this decision in court, but it eventually was ruled that the scheme was never a QROPS.
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