Updated: June 10, 2019

UK pension transfer to Canada

Need to transfer a pension between the UK and Canada? It can be done! Find out how by reading this article

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Tony Stevens

Author: Tony Stevens - Finance Expert

Updated: June 10, 2019

Renowned for its friendly locals and Maple forests, living in Canada may be high up on your bucket list. But since pension management changes according to your country of residence, you may like to know how you can best transfer your UK pension to your new Canada home.

The expert pension transfer advisors we work with are well versed on the best options and can ensure a secure and smooth transition. But to start off with, we’ll give you some key information on pension transfers to Canada.

Can I transfer a UK pension scheme to Canada?

Yes, it’s possible to transfer your pension to Canada if you intend to reside there. Canadian ROPS (Recognised Overseas Pensions Schemes) – formerly known as Canadian QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Schemes) – were removed from HMRC’s list in 2017, however, as of writing there are three schemes available:

  • Cidel Alternate Retirement Plan (CARP)
  • IA Clarington Investments Inc Retirement Savings Plan (QROPS)
  • IAG Saving and Retirement Plan RRSP-QROPS

It’s worth noting that HMRC update the ROPS list twice a month (on the 1st and 15th of each month), so it’s worth checking with an advisor to make sure that these schemes are still available, or if any new ones have been added. Also, bear in mind that this is not an ‘approved list’, as HMRC no longer approve pensions.

Canadian retirement schemes enable the holder to use their pension as collateral against buying property.

They also have no age limitations on when the pension funding can be withdrawn. These factors are in direct opposition to UK regulations which don’t allow a tax relieved pension to be used to assist the purchase of property, or to be used as a loan.

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What types of pension does this apply to?

Can I transfer my private pension?

Yes, you can transfer your private pension. If you are employed by an international organisation, it’s worth checking to see if its pension scheme has ROPS status – or if it’s possible for you to get one with the help of your company.

The best way to discover all options available and learn about any tax implications is to speak to a pension transfer advisor. As with any financial arrangements, it is vital you seek financial advice from an accredited expert. Call us on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry here.

Can I transfer my state pension?

If you’ve worked for the British public sector you won’t be able to transfer a UK government state pension into a Canadian state pension. However, you can still claim your UK state pension at the normal state pension age if you are UK pensioner  living in Canada. This could then be automatically paid into a Canadian bank account – but the amount would be subject to exchange rate fluctuations according to the rate at each time of payment.

Can I transfer an NHS pension?

Although you can transfer an NHS pension to another defined benefit UK pension scheme, transferring an NHS pension to Canada is not allowed. This is because the NHS’s “gold plated pension scheme” provides many death benefits and guarantees lifelong pension income when you retire, making it one of the best pension schemes worldwide.

The British government is hesitant to allow transfers out of its NHS pension scheme. If you’d like to learn more about how to move your NHS pension into another defined benefits scheme, or you’d like to know how to best transfer the funds from your pension pay-outs to Canada, speak to an expert advisor.

The pension transfer specialists we work with can help you get a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) from the NHS. They could also design a transfer analysis report to recommend whether a transfer would be a good idea for your situation.

How do I transfer my pension to Canada?

You can apply to have your pension moved to one of the ROPS listed on HMRC’s website. However, because the financial institutions which offer these schemes may have a limited number of employees who can arrange a transfer, it’s best to work with a financial advisor with experience in arranging overseas pensions.

The UK government does not allow a transfer from a UK pension scheme to an overseas Canadian scheme where the policy rules for accessing money are not as strict as in the UK. This is because the investor is not entitled to withdraw money from their pension scheme at a lower rate of tax than what they would be entitled to in the UK pension scheme.

If you tried to apply for a Canadian pension scheme that did not have a ROPS status, you could be hit with a tax charge of more than 55%. Most pension scheme providers would block the transfer anyway.

Is transferring an Irish pension to Canada possible?

Transferring an Irish pension to Canada may be possible, but the process can be quite tricky. Read on to find out what options could be available.

What are the alternatives?

One such alternative to managing a UK personal pension transfer to Canada is to choose a UK pension plan that is well suited to your needs while living in Canada.

Some pension schemes are specially designed for those living abroad. They could enable easy management of your pension online with minimal or no additional paperwork. They could also pay your pension into your Canadian account.

These are options that are often not available from mainstream pension providers.

For those looking into how to transfer a UK pension to Canada, don’t despair! There could still be options on the cards. To dig deeper into any alternatives and best ways to manage financial transfers, taxation, and other details, call us on 0808 189 0463.

The experts we work have successfully helped many people get started with their retirement plan in Canada. They will also be aware of any hidden deals and can help you save money by getting access to best offers.

Can I transfer my pension to a Canada RRSP?

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), is an investment account that helps Canadians save for funding their retirement. The account holder or their partner invests money into the RRSP account; these contributions can be deducted from tax. If you’ve made the jump from the UK to Canada and you’ve been paying into an RRSP, you may like to know if you can transfer your pension to your RRSP.

HMRC doesn’t allow transferring a UK pension to a Canadian RRSP. This is because many follow rules that differ from pension savings requirement regulation in the UK.

Thus whether you’re looking into transferring pension funds to a RRSP, transferring a company pension to a RRSP, or arranging a pension buy back RRSP transfer, the differing rules for treatment of your pension savings simply aren’t compatible.

However, every case for wanting a transfer of a pension is unique, so anyone interested in this option should contact pension transfer specialists who can give you a transfer analysis and advise on best alternative options. Make an enquiry and we’ll connect you to an expert today!

Can I transfer my Canadian pension to the UK?

If you’ve accrued a pension in Canada but would like to move to Britain you may be looking into transferring a Canadian pension to the UK. Both countries have a different set of regulations surrounding pension transfers, making it difficult to directly transfer a pension from Canada to the UK.

However, if you have a Canadian public pension, it can be paid directly into a UK bank account and deposited in pounds sterling. One option for Canadian residents is to transfer a pension into a UK SIPP; pension transfer advisors will be able to help you with the details of such a transfer.

With the help of an expert who is fully up to date on transfer rules and tax obligations, you can achieve first class management of your retirement funds.

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Whether you are looking to transfer your pension from the UK to Canada, or from Canada to the UK, consolidating your pensions by transferring them into one easy to manage pension may be the right move for your situation.

As with any major financial decision, the best way to transfer a pension is to speak to a specialist in the field. A pension transfer advisor understands all the details and regulatory deviations involved in a cross country pension transfer.

Call us on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry here for straightforward advice that’s easily accessed. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation.

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We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in pensions. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Tony Stevens

Tony Stevens

Finance Expert

About the author

Tony has worked in a vastly diverse array of areas in the pensions industry for over 20 years. Tony regularly writes for trade press, usually on topical and pensions pieces as well as acting as a judge at prestigious national events.

Tony is also a highly qualified Independent Financial Adviser in his own right. His mantra has always been “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst”, and believes that the biggest impact that an adviser can have on a client’s life journey is to take them on a journey from generally having little or no real idea of what their retirement will look like, to giving them the understanding of what their retirement looks like now, then helping them navigate a path to what they want their retirement to be.

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*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

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