Warning about Offshore pension plans: There are many QROPS and “offshore” plans out there which seem attractive at first glance. However, they often come with incredibly high costs which leave only one side happy after the QROPS transfer – the salesmen from one of the many IFA (International Financial Advisor) companies targeting unsuspecting expats all around the globe. Many come with upfront costs of 7% and more, and when set up and running they are further milked to the detriment of the client by churning the investments in order to generate even more costs and commissions.
If you like to learn more about how many other Expats became victims of usually unsolicted (by cold-calling) advice from untrained and unqualified salespersons, just check the website of  http://pension-life.com/ which educates about the many bad forms of QROPS options and the many cases where unsuspecting clients lost a serious share of their hard earned pension capital for ever.

If you are being contacted by financial advisors in Germany regarding QROPs transfers or investment/pension advice, you should be aware that:

  1. cold-calling is illegal in Germany. Anyone cold-calling you is violating important consumer protection laws, hence you should not trust him any further or let him manage your money
  2. in Germany an advisor  should have a license as an insurance broker (which includes assurance based pension plans) and/or investment advisor for all investment that are not constructed and managed under a life assurance umbreall. However, if the life insurance is just a technical tool and the main advice is into investment advice, you should insist on proof of adequate training and license as an investment advisor (if only to make sure that the advisor or the IFA company has a sufficient indemnity insurance in case of bad advice)
  3. Some IFA companies in Germany or abroad claim to be acting under the license of yet again another company/legal entity of another EU member state. While cross-border services are encouraged and supported by the so-called „passporting rights“ for insurance brokers and financial advisors within the EU, they come, obvisouly, with a lot of rules and requirements. It is impossible to simply claim to be acting under the license of another company in, say, UK or Malta, if you run your business entirely in Germany and have a firm estalishment here or are even incorporated here. Same is true if an independent IFA abroad claims to be acting under a sub-license from a German advisor company. Always ask for proof of full license in Germany if you want to be certain that you get a truly qualified and vetted advisor and that there is an existing insurance to step in if your advisor made a serious mistake or did not act in your best interest.
  4. Regarding insurances (including pension plans) you should consult only an insurance broker (German: Makler – for better understanding, check here for more info https://youtu.be/Vyj7qhJi7S8  ) . Any real insurance broker will offer you info and comparison of both German pension plans and offshore pension plans, because both can be relevant and advantageuous for an Expat residing in Germany. If an advisor only offers you some offshore pension plans without considering Germany-based options side by side, he is not acting as a broker should and is most likely not acting in your best interest.

If you would like to know if you are better off taking out your UK-based pension capital to some place else listed on the QROPS list, take truly independent advice first. There are schemes available in Germany, too, that you can use which are much less expensive than most of the “offshore” schemes. And we will always include a UK-based and FCA-licensed expert advisor to check your tax and other benefits from doing so or not, as required by the British FCA.