Any financial wizards out there?

One of my personal pensions matures next year. I phoned the company to ascertain what the procedure is and what I can expect to happen. I was a bit surprised to hear that I will NOT be offered 25% of it as a cash payment and I will get just the GMP - guaranteed minimum pension. This is not a disaster, as I was not depending on that, but it would have been "nice". Does anyone know if there is anything I can do about that, or is that just a fact of life?

Hi Roger. You could ask James for my contact details.I’d be glad to help.

Thanks for all the input folks. For the record I am a French resident and tax-payer so there are no questions on that front. As this policy is not due to mature until December next year I guess any changes in April will need to be weighed up as well??

Mary - thank you for your thoughts on QROPs - as a total layman on this it is reassuring to hear a positive second opinion.

The company in Geneva are now talking to L&G so I should get some feedback on this fairly soon.

I had a typo sorry; FDA should be FSA. I will declare I am an IFA & Partner with Blevins Franks & have been advising here 12 yrs. the residence issue is a little more than simply183 days guys. If you arrive in France with an intention to reside here aa a main home, ypu ontain residency. Some income may be taxed elsewhere depending on its source & double tax treaty. Do be aware that UK rules are likely to change April 2013 ( was going to be 2012) . 90 day counting will go. I will talk to James about putting a recent article we wrote on here

yes Dave, 183 days makes sense, because that would be half the year, and as your Uk site points out, you can only be tax domiciled in one place any year and if you are more than half the year somewhere then that is the place.

Marys advice souns spot on to me, and correct.

Good advice Mary.

Please take independent advice from a regulated adviser. This usually means One with a current UK qualification & FDA number for your protection. You will be taxed in France on the lump sum if it was available anyway. A GMP is likely to be hard to beat in a QROPs & a correct calculation on what is called the critical yield made to test this. The fund value is likely unable to support cash & the GMP by sound of it. You need a form to have the income paid without uk tax deducted at source as long as you pay French tax.


I bow to your knowledge of French laws I think. As a UK born person I have followed this advice for years . And I think it is 183 days but what is 3 days in a year? ;-)

er no, I dont think you can choose. As far as I know, tax domiciled IS the same as tax resident!

The country you live in for more than 180 days a year is where you are tax domiciled. If you live in France for that or more you have to be french tax domiciled and as such are subject to french tax laws on your worldwide income. Less than 180 days a year here and you can be classed as non tax resident and thus subject to thee tax laws of wherever you are the rest of the time, or most of the time.

The double taxation treaty between england and france means you dont get taxed twice..


It is where you are resident that counts for tax purposes. Domicile I believe is for IHT but difficult to prove or change. But beware if you are resident in France, the French tax people now wish their pound of flesh from UK tax free cash no matter where you encash it! :-( Not sure how much, but over 25% I think including cotisations!

well are you a Uk tax payer or a french tax payer, I mean where are you tax domiciled?

either the scheme will give you the 25% or it wont surely? going offshore shouldnt make any difference.

Off shore is ok if you dont mind keep looking over your shoulder.....authorities are much tighter on that sort of thing these days.

Confused of Monein here .... the current value of the policy is about 8 times what it was in 1991. That includes the fact that after the "policy holders mis-advised" business in 2000 the value of the policy was doubled.

Legal & General are telling me now that the GMP is going to be about 7000 pounds per annum. I'd be quite happy with that, but I'd rather take 25% up front and get a reduced amount.

So - I've just been talking to a firm in Geneva that does QROPS (qualified recognised overseas pension schemes) who seem to think that I COULD get the 25% out that way, and avoid UK income tax - anyone have any thoughts on going "off-shore"???

Id love to help, but it depends so much on what the rules of your particular pension says.... they cannot change things that have been guaranteed or promised, but if the company has been in difficulties, there could be mitigating circumstances. Who is it with?

I think you need to get some proper financial advice ( Im from a finance background but I was a derivatives trader which doesnt qualify me to know anything about this unfortunately).


It is a Personal Pension. Section 226s could not accept pension transfers. And by 1991 they had stopped anyway. Can you remember what the Company paid in, doesn't sound a lot. By only paying the GMP it may be that the With-Profits did not perform too well and there is not enough in there to pay a tax-free cash lump sum. Back in 1991 I was involved in Financial Services, hence my small amount of knowledge.

Without being too intrusive and asking values etc it is the best I can do. Sorry


Dave - I have no idea what "section 226" means. I've had a quick scan through the papers and am none the wiser. I did a "buy out" from a company pension back in 1991 if that is any indication and it's a "with profits". I have not paid anything into it.


Is it an old pension contract ie Section 226 or a "new" personal pension? Also is it a With-Profits or a unit linked contract? And last question, did you only have Contracted Out of SERPS contributions going into it ie not paid in anything yourself?


Hi Roger

I suggest you get in touch with Brian Furzer of Spectrum IFA.