International Pension Transfers

Move Your Money With You

International Pension Transfers

If you have pensions that you no longer pay into, benefits from previous employers, or simply want everything in one place, a pension transfer could be the answer you're looking for. 

In an age of remote work, people are no longer tied to a 9-5 in one location for their entire careers. As they relocate, many people take their pensions with them to their new destinations, or transfer them to a better-suited, internationally-accessible account.

By moving your pension, you could profit from earlier access, less tax, higher growth, and more control over your investments. 

2nd Pillar Pension Transfers

Leaving Switzerland? 

There are 2 options for your 2nd pillar pension – leave the money here, or take it with you. 

If you leave it here you must transfer your pension from your company to a Vested Benefits account. 

If you want to take the money with you when you leave Switzerland, the tax you pay on exit will depend on which canton the pension is in - not the canton you live in.

If you do nothing, your pension money will be moved to a government fund called the Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution (SOBI, currently returning 0.01% per annum (2020)..

Our independent advisors can help you select and manage the right Vested Benefits account (typically averaging 2-5% p.a.), or take your 2nd pillar money with you in the most tax efficient way. The difference on a pension transfer of CHF 500,000 is around CHF 5,000-15,000 in tax savings.

Leaving Switzerland and need advice on what to do with your 2nd pillar? Start Here.


A Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is effectively a “Do It Yourself” pension scheme.

Available to all UK pension holders, a SIPP gives the owner of the pension total control over their money. Previously, this control would be given over to an insurance or pension company, who would be entitled to keep your invested capital upon yours or your spouse’s death (this is known as an annuity). 

The main features and benefits of a SIPP are as follows:

  • Flexible retirement benefits
  • Investment Options – total control of investment allocation, restricted to managed funds
  • 25% Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS)
  • Death benefits where member dies pre-age 75 – Income stream or lump sum to beneficiaries free of UK income tax
  • Death benefits where member dies post age 75 – Income stream or lump sum to beneficiaries taxable at recipient’s marginal rate of UK income tax
Need advice on what to do with your UK pensions? Start Here.


A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) is a similar structure to a SIPP, however it is only available to non-UK residents with existing UK pension schemes. 

QROPS have the same benefits as SIPP’s, however they also have the following additional benefits;

  • Additional investment options
  • Gross Income – depending on your country of residence and applicable double tax agreements (in Switzerland, tax on distributions charged at 1/5th of normal income tax)
  • No UK death taxes over age 75
  • Lifetime Allowance tested on transfer value*. A transfer to a QROPS is a benefit crystallisation event (BCE8) and will be tested against available Lifetime Allowance; any transfer value in excess of the available LTA will be subject to a 25% tax charge


  • Certain transfers to QROPS, requested on or after 9 March 2017, are subject to a 25% overseas transfer charge. This includes residents of Switzerland who do not subsequently move to a country in the EU/EEA within 5 years.

If moving back to the UK and transferring from a QROPS into a UK personal pension, the pension owner may be able to apply for an enhanced LTA if the transferring scheme was a ROPS or a QROPS. 

Need advice on what to do with your UK pensions? Start Here.


Have you worked internationally and have legacy pensions such as a 401k or IRA in the US, Superannuation scheme in Australia, RPP in Canada or a European pension? Tired of having to monitor and manage multiple pensions, or have no idea what they are currently invested in, how they’re performing, or when you’re allowed to access them? Then speak to us as we may be able to help. 

We have extensive experience helping our international clients with these issues, and have knowledge of multiple international pension systems. Whether you want to look into consolidation, or just get a better handle on things, get in touch – we’re here to help. Ultimately all of your pension pots will count towards your retirement income, so get control of them today. 

How much do you need to retire? Click here to use our Retirement Calculator.

International Pension Transfers

How much do you need to retire?

Your current situation
Your targets
  • Estimated tax rate15%
  • Average Inflation Rate1.5%
  • Rate of Return at Retirement5%
  • Max. First Pillar Income (2021)CHF: 28680
  • Max. Years44
You will have
You will need

Disclaimer: the calculation above is for illustrative purposes only. For a tailored assessment of your exact circumstances, please contact us.

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How much do you need to retire?

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