8th March 2012
Isle of Man pragmatic on the new QROPS regime
THE Isle of Man pensions industry has maintained what it calls a ‘dignified silence’ on the new QROPS regime due to come into force on 6th April 2012 but has now revealed its approach to the proposals.
Shortly after the news broke in early December the Isle of Man’s Association of Pension Scheme Providers (“APSP”) released a short statement in support of the consultation and its intended purpose whilst announcing a determination to work towards a fully compliant solution.
Chairman of the APSP Stuart Clifford explains what has been going on behind the scenes since then: ‘We have maintained a dignified silence so far and deliberately so. The overriding reason is that nothing has yet been finalised and we feel we can’t progress legislative or procedural changes until such time as we have the final HMRC framework in which to do so. Anything else, we believe, runs the risk of leaving us too exposed. It was a consultation, after all. That doesn’t mean we’ve been idle, though. We have with Isle of Man Government lined up a number of options, depending on what emerges on UK Budget Day, but have taken to keep these in the locker. In the best traditions of the island’s “freedom to flourish” ethos, all parties are poised and ready to swiftly implement whichever planned solution is best suited to the new QROPS regime.’
Clifford says that this wait-and-see approach is entirely consistent with the spirit of the new rules: ‘What we saw in December was HMRC’s clear intention to prevent abuse in the QROPS market and we welcomed it. As a jurisdiction we have never been in the non-compliant category, whether by letter or spirit, nor do we ever intend to be. If anything changes between the draft and final rules we don’t want to get inadvertently caught out. Our pensions industry is growing and has many facets to it beyond QROPS, which is evidenced by the calibre of clients which have chosen the Isle of Man for domiciling their pension schemes. We don’t want to run the risk of taking a step back by jumping the gun. It may seem overly pragmatic but in the pensions world that is a virtue.’
John Shimmin MHK, Minister for the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development, says: ‘The Government recognises the importance of the pensions industry and will continue to support the APSP in ensuring that we remain competitive whilst maintaining our excellent reputation.’ Given the strength and depth of the Isle of Man’s pension’s propositions, only its Section 50C schemes which were introduced in 2010 are potentially affected by HMRC’s proposals. Schemes approved under other Isle of Man tax legislation are unaffected, and will continue to be QROPS compliant post April.
Media contact: Stuart Clifford, Chairman, APSP. Telephone 01624 693900; Email: email@example.com