Transferring your UK pension funds to New Zealand

For many, transferring a UK pension to New Zealand can be a smart financial move. An adviser can clarify whether this is a wise choice for you.

Many people are keen to transfer their UK pension to a New Zealand Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) because it typically offers:

  • Better control over your funds,
  • The ability to simplify your financial position, enabling you to more accurately manage your savings and plan for retirement,
  • Tax advantages, and
  • Greater flexibility and investment options.

If you have a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme, occupational pension scheme, final salary scheme, a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS) or defined contribution (DC) pension scheme in the UK and you are leaving or have left the UK to live and work in New Zealand, you are probably entitled to transfer your existing UK pensions to a New Zealand QROPS.

Taxation implications of pension transfer

Recent changes made by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) mean that eligible people can transfer a UK pension to New Zealand and access their entire pension from the age of 55 – or flexibly draw it down if they prefer. However, under the updated rules, you must remain a tax resident in New Zealand for five years or move to another QROPS in the country you are moving to – otherwise you will be faced with an exit tax of 25%.

QROPS in New Zealand are considered a tax-neutral jurisdiction where you can move your UK pension scheme to get it out of the UK tax net – which includes taxes such as the 40% UK inheritance tax. In nearly all cases, there will no longer be any tax payable in the UK so long as you remain a tax resident in New Zealand for five years.

A QROPS in New Zealand faces zero income tax at retirement age, no tax on growth and no tax on death. The whole pension sum can be transferred to your heirs tax-free upon your death. Even when you receive income at retirement age (such as by making regular withdrawals), there is no tax on income at source in NZ.

We work closely with experienced tax professionals in this area and can refer any taxation questions you have to them directly.

Typically, the associated fees and charges for getting your pension to New Zealand and administering it are substantially less than paying the high rates of UK income tax, and other taxes. Note that exit fees may be charged if you cash-in your pension early.


Transferring a UK pension isn’t simple, and the rules change regularly, so you need to make sure you have all the facts before making your decision. This is where professional assistance is critical. To assist you to make decisions through the process, we work with multiple providers of this service. So if you’re in one of the groups below, this will suit you:

  • You’re a British expat or returned Kiwi with pension money sitting in the UK, or
  • You’re already with a New Zealand QROPS and are unhappy with the fees you’re being charged or service you’re receiving.

What now?

As we’re not a fund manager and aren’t owned by a QROPS provider, our team can provide you with the best possible advice regarding your UK pension transfer, and establish an arrangement that considers your desired returns, tolerance to risk, and tax circumstances.

For a free, confidential, and complimentary consultation, call 0508 BECOME (0508 232 663) or leave your details below. We'll respond within one workday.

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