HMRC suspends ROPS list, ahead of Monday’s publication of all-important updated list

HM Revenue & Customs today temporarily suspended, as expected, its online publication of those recognised overseas pension schemes that are said to meet the conditions necessary to be a ROPS, ahead of Monday’s scheduled posting of the all-important, post-new-regulations updated list.

In a statement on its website, where the list of schemes normally appears, HMRC explains that the list “will return on Monday 5 June 2017”, although “it is possible that changes will be made to this list”, and therefore, “this means you can’t rely on previous lists as notification by a pension scheme to HMRC”.

It continues: “The requirements to be a ROPS changed from 6 April 2017. HMRC has written to scheme managers of some qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS) requesting information about their scheme and to confirm that their QROPS meets the revised requirements.

“Schemes won’t appear on the list when it returns on 5 June 2017 if HMRC has not received a response from the scheme manager by 1 June 2017, or the scheme manager’s response indicates that the scheme no longer meets the conditions to be a ROPS.”

As reported, it’s widely believed among ROPS industry professionals that the list that appears on Monday will reveal, once and for all, what HMRC considers acceptable for a scheme, and jurisdiction, to meet its latest requirements.

The concern is that, following a steady shrinking in the number of schemes on the list – and even, the elimination of several countries altogether from the list, including Canada and the US – many more schemes and jurisdictions will disappear, come Monday.

The cull is the result of a new effort by HMRC and Treasury officials to more closely regulate the UK’s pension transfer industry, in response to growing complaints from out-of-pocket savers.

As of 6 April, scheme managers wishing for their schemes to continue to be a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS), or ROPS, as HMRC now insists on calling them, have been required to confirm to HMRC that their scheme meets its “revised requirements”.

Scheme managers that previously had been required to designate 70% of an individual’s transferred funds to providing that individual “with an income for life” once retired are now required to complete and return a set of new forms provided to them by HMRC, which confirm that their scheme meets the new Regulatory Requirements, no later than 1 June.

It’s understood that the list HMRC publishes on Monday will be based on the information provided to it via these forms.

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