Should I Transfer My Pension?

While you could choose to be paid a pension from the UK, many people prefer to transfer their pension funds to New Zealand for these reasons:


If you transfer your pension funds to NZ, they must be invested in a QROPS. At age 55, you can withdraw all of your money, but there are some catches:

  1. You need to have been a non-UK tax payer for 5 years or more.

  2. If you withdraw within two years of transferring, 70% may incur a small withdrawal fee of 1% on amounts withdrawn within the first year; 0.5% in the second year; and 0.25% in the third year. We strongly advise that you keep your funds invested for a minimum of two years. Ideally, you would invest your funds for the longer term to provide you with retirement income. Talk to us about the best QROPS providers in NZ.

You no longer need to worry about ongoing changes to the rules for UK pension transfers. You will no longer be concerned if your pension provider is merging, closing, or simply doesn't have enough money in the pot to pay promised pension amounts to their members. More people are retiring and drawing down on their pensions, but less money is being paid into the funds. This is a concern to many Brits living in New Zealand.

Less Stress

Death duty in New Zealand is currently zero rated. When you are retired, you can have your money professionally managed without worrying about it being savaged by death duties in the UK in the event that you die prematurely.

Avoid Death Duties

You will not be paying bank fees for each transfer - these can be as a high as £18 per transfer.

Bank Fees

When you move to NZ, you have 4 years to transfer your pension without incurring tax. If you choose to receive a pension from the UK, it will be 100% taxable. Income derived from New Zealand pensions is not taxable. Find out more about tax on UK pensions in New Zealand.


You will have more control over your money when you work with a professional investment adviser and the financial planning experts at Lyfords, rather than communicating with an institution on the other side of the world who doesn’t know you.

You will have more information and choice on the investment managers who are responsible for managing your retirement savings.


The rules for pension transfers frequently change, and are usually less favourable to you. The professional team at Lyfords will ensure you understand any HMRC QROPS changes when it comes to transferring your UK pension.

Rule Changes

Once you have transferred your UK pension, you will no longer need to worry about exchange rate fluctuations affecting your pension payments. If you are concerned about the exchange rate, you can transfer in Sterling and 'average' into new investments over a certain period, for example, converting 20% of the amount transferred into NZ dollars every two months. Alternatively, you could keep some of your funds invested in Sterling in an international share portfolio.

Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Lyfords has been transferring British pensions to New Zealand since 2002. Your pension has to be transferred into an HMRC-approved, QROPS-registered New Zealand superannuation fund.

Lyfords will give you choices on which company to transfer into based on your personal needs. If you are a UK expat and need pension advice, contact us first. We are specialists with UK pension transfers and have a thorough knowledge of UK pension legislation and UK pension entitlements.

Lyfords Experience

If you haven’t transferred your UK pension before you die, your spouse might be paid half of the pension you would have received from the UK (but not always).

If you both die, your pension dies with you, unless you are leaving qualifying dependent children. In this case, your UK pension could continue for as long as your plan fulfills the scheme’s eligibility criteria.

If you have transferred your UK Pension funds into a New Zealand superannuation plan, your whole investment portfolio becomes part of your estate and is passed on according to the instructions in your Will.

If You Die Prematurely

There are concerns around large company schemes being under-funded, and your accounts may not be getting credited with the full returns. We discuss this further in our Pension Blog. If you have any questions about how to transfer your UK pension to NZ securely, Lyfords will be more than happy to provide expert advice for your peace of mind.

How Secure is Your UK Pension Fund?

For larger pension transfers (greater than $300,000 NZ), your pension funds can be invested via a custodial wrap account. This gives you a more tailor-made investment portfolio.

Personalised Investment Portfolios

We are UK pension transfer experts and NZ QROP specialists, and can provide professional advice to UK expats living in New Zealand.