“Everyone talks about Qrops being an EU directive, and that is where it started, but the way the UK enabled the legislation is much wider,” Kentish told International Adviser.
“If you look at the list of Qrop schemes on the HM Revenue and Customs approved list you have them in India, Australia, Switzerland. Most of them aren’t registered in another EU territory.”
For Kentish there is little chance that there will be any legislative changes that could prevent or make it more difficult for people to transfer their pensions overseas.
“From our point of view, it’s business as usual. The legislation around Qrops is embedded in the UK legislation meaning that you’re still got the ability to move a pension from the UK into another jurisdiction.
“It makes no sense, given the flexible access that came in last year, to have so much more flexibility on the UK side but not for expats.”
“People are going to wake up in one or two weeks’ time and see that nothing dramatic has changed.”
The Great British expat
“Unless the EU is going to treat the British expat like a pariah, I can’t see that they will be less welcomed in Europe,” Kentish says.
“Invariably, British expats are reasonably affluent individuals and contribute to an economy. You would be seeing some countries cutting off their nose to spite their face if they say that they don’t want them.
“Worst case scenario is you would need a visa and be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient wealth to live there. Most will be able to do so,” he adds.
For STM, which offers both Qrops and qualifying non-UK pension schemes (Qnups) from its offices in Malta and Gibraltar, transfers from the UK to Europe only account for around 20% of business.
A short term slowdown in business from the UK into Europe is expected but is not overly concerning for Kentish.
“For those living outside the EU, the vote doesn’t really affect them. They will just have to be a bit more careful about their currency conversions and, in the short term, try not to move sterling into other currencies.
“The expats looking to move into Europe will most likely delay making a decision about transferring their pension. But once everything settles down we will see British expats transferring out again on a regular basis.
“People are going to wake up in one or two weeks’ time and see that nothing dramatic has changed,” he says.