If you have permanently left the UK and are looking for a solution for managing your UK pension, you may be thinking about contacting a financial adviser to get some advice on what to do with your pension, and potentially transferring your pension to a SIPP.
You should consider whether you really need full financial advice to transfer your pension, what the cost is and if you’re willing to pay for this.
Perhaps all you really need is just a bit of help and guidance to put your mind at ease and make sure you’re on the right track. In which case, paying for financial advice may not be necessary.
Do I need a financial adviser to transfer my UK Pension?
Essentially, no, you do not need a financial adviser to transfer your UK pension. You can request a transfer of your pension without using a financial adviser. It is a statutory right under UK Law to be able to transfer a defined contribution pension to another UK registered pension scheme (with a few exceptions).
However, if you have a pension that has a form of guarantee, such as a final salary pension, and you want to transfer this to a pension that allows flexible withdrawals, such as a SIPP, then by Law, you must obtain advice from a qualified and regulated financial adviser in the UK.
The Adviser must hold a certain Pension Transfer qualification and be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK to provide advice. You can see what you can expect to pay for this advice later on.
For pensions that don’t have a guarantee, such as a personal pension plan, you can transfer this without having to use a financial adviser.
Do I need a financial adviser to set up a SIPP?
Once you have decided that you want to transfer your pension to a SIPP, it depends on the SIPP provider’s rules whether you will need to use a financial adviser to set up the SIPP.
If you don’t think you require an adviser, or don’t want to pay for an adviser to set up your SIPP, you will need to choose a provider that allows you to set up a SIPP without using a financial adviser. These can be difficult to find when you’re a non-UK resident.
For the avoidance of doubt, MyExpatSIPP allows you to set up your SIPP without using a financial adviser, and is designed especially for expats and non-UK residents.
The fees and charges for financial advice
Should your pension have some form of guarantee and you want to transfer to a SIPP, as we mentioned earlier, you must obtain financial advice from an UK FCA regulated adviser on the suitability of the transfer. You can expect to pay £2,000 - £5,000 for this advice, depending on your circumstances and the complexity of the transfers.
If you use an offshore financial adviser to set up your SIPP, they too will want paying, so you will normally have to pay for the advice in the UK, as well as the offshore adviser. When using an offshore financial adviser, you should be wary if they tell you that their service is free, as it normally means they will receive a large commission payment from your pension. This can involve lots of confusing or hidden fees being taken from your SIPP.
If you think you require full bespoke financial planning, and you are willing to pay a fee for this, you can find a financial adviser at www.unbiased.co.uk
If you think your needs are fairly straightforward, and just need a few questions answered and a bit of guidance, then you can set up your own SIPP with MyExpatSIPP without having to use a financial adviser.