For decades a number of very active but rather unscrupulous sales companies around the globe have peddled so-called offshore pension plans to unsuspecting expats.

In general, the vast majority of these pension plans come with humongous commission costs, often also not transparently disclosed to the clients. We have seen here at CR&Cie. such plans with direct up-front commission costs of over 7% of the invested capital plus another 5-10% in hidden costs in the form of kick-backs from the underlying investments. There are plans out there that are being sold to expats like the Generali Vision plan for instance where for a pension plan with 30 years’ duration (not an uncommon period of time for pension planning when you are in your early 30s) the first 28 monthly contributions are going out entirely for commission and administrative costs (something, by the way, which is illegal in Germany today). Apart from the fact that many of these plans are not even properly licensed to be offered and sold in Germany for lack of registration with German regulators, these plans offer NO taxation advantage here in Germany as compared to a simple direct monthly investment into ETFs or mutual investment funds. On the contrary, some of these offshore solutions even create additional serious tax problems for every resident of Germany as you can read here. So, please head our warning about these bad offshore pension plans before you sign up for any of them.

When you are living in Germany, i.e. if and when you are a tax resident of Germany, there are a number of attractive pension plans available to you with decent tax savings and a lot of other benefits that most offshore pension plans cannot offer to you. If you are an employee, you may want to read our info for employees here; if you are self-employed or freelancing, you’ll also find relevant info for you here.

Having said all the above: a lot of people today lead a globally mobile career and lifestyle. For all those who do not want to have a splintered number of small pension plans in multiple jurisdictions and nations around the globe, an offshore pension plan into which they can invest monthly (plus lump sums) could offer a real advantage as a general pension planning tool. There is clearly a demand for that out there.

Here at CR&Cie. we can offer you offshore pension plans which are different than those most often sold to expats with regards to the following important parameters:

– Our offshore pension plans are commission-free! There are no upfront commission fees or any hidden fees and commissions in the form of kick-backs from the underlying investments. All you pay is a direct and reasonable fee to us for setting up the plan and managing your investments. The costs for our fees and for the offshore pension plan are entirely transparent and quite competitive in an international setting. The offshore plan of our choice is located in Malta, an EU member state with a number of beneficial DTAs (double taxation agreements) with other countries like the USA and more.

– Our offshore pension plans allows us to use the same low-cost investment strategy as we would use on other forms of direct investment for you. We will always focus on passive investment funds (like ETFs or index funds as well as funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors, in our professional opinion an even better and more profitable form of passive investments into shares and bonds).

If you are interested in an offshore pension plan, send us an inquiry and let us show you what options we can offer you here.

And if you are one of those who have been tricked into bad and ineffective as well as overly expensive offshore pension plans: cut your losses and move over to something that is really working and finally allows you to make some decent profits with your money.