Craigs Investment Partners, 12 March 2019

Recent global economic volatility and uncertainty around Brexit has made investors cautious, especially those living in NZ with UK pensions.

It’s important to be aware of the benefits and risks when transferring your UK pension to New Zealand. Here are some things to consider when deciding what to do.

Your wealth is personal - a transfer may not be the best option

We are unbiased in our approach. We make things as clear and concise as possible to help you make an informed decision on whether transferring is the best option for you.

Every pension and every person is different. Some pensions may lose certain benefits by transferring, so you need to understand any implications of a transfer prior to making a decision. We will contact your UK pension provider to obtain details of your pension and discuss this with you, including the advantages and risks of transferring.

Currently there is a four-year transfer window from the first day you are a New Zealand tax resident, during which time you can transfer your pension to NZ without any NZ tax obligations. If you transfer after this exemption period, the taxable income on the transfer could range between 4.76% and 100% of your pension value, assessable at your marginal tax rate. So time is an important consideration when weighing up what to do.

Markets, rules and regulations can change at any time. NZ residents with UK pensions are exposed to changes in both countries and this creates higher risk. There is no certainty around the future of pensions, especially with political and economic volatility in the world. By transferring your pension, you will have access to an adviser who can keep you up to date with local market changes and how they may affect you.

Three things to look for when choosing a transfer company

- Firstly, ensure they are a QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme). A QROPS is an overseas pension scheme that is able to accept UK pension transfers, as the scheme meets certain requirements set by the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs). Transferring to a non– QROPS could result in unauthorised payment charges.

- Ensure they understand the fundamentals of your UK pension. It may not be in your best interest to transfer. Some pensions may lose certain benefits by transferring, so you need to understand any implications of a transfer prior to making a decision.

- Look for a company that can offer professional investment advice based on your situation and retirement plans, and who offer investment options in both GBP and NZD. That way, you can maintain your funds in sterling until you choose to convert them.


We offer a free pension transfer information service to help you understand your UK pension and the options available to you.

We have a specialist UK pension transfer team with local and UK market knowledge. They can provide advice and help you seamlessly transfer your UK pension to NZ.

We specialise in investing. We opened our first branch 35 years ago, and we have grown to 18 branches nationwide with over 150 investment advisers.

A Superannuation Scheme to give you choice and control

Craigs Superannuation Scheme is a QROPS, and provides flexibility to select and build a portfolio from over 190 investment options, including GBP and other currencies, to best suit your risk profile and investment objectives.

Contact us if you'd like help with your UK pension.