QROPS providers in France along with 14 other jurisdictions were given a rude awakening on Monday morning when they discovered that they had been removed from the official QROPS list by HMRC. The revised list published on 1 July had 432 schemes less in number. Rumours abound in the industry that this was some form of cull by HMRC in the wake of recent legislation passed in April 2012.
There has been speculation that the particular schemes removed from the registrar are those that were added post April 2012, adding suspicion that perhaps they may not be compliant. HMRC moved quickly to scotch such rumours by informing concerned providers that there had been a ‘technical glitch’, as a result of a manual error in collating the data. HMRC publishes the QROPS list every 14 days. A copy can be found on the HMRC web site http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/qrops.pdf
Only QROPS approved plans that agree to have their details published are listed on the HMRC website. A UK Pension administrator will confirm a QROPS listing before agreeing to a transfer. If not listed, the administrator will contact HMRC for confirmation.
The list is usually updated twice a month by the ‘Pension Schemes Services’ department. A scheme’s name will be promptly removed from the list once HMRC is aware that it has ceased to be a QROPS. Furthermore, should HMRC have concerns about the scheme’s status at any time, then the scheme’s name may be removed whilst HMRC carries out further checks. QROPS Providers in France would be advised to make sure that their schemes are properly registered and that they fulfil the requirements set out by HMRC to be accepted as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. It is always better to be safe than sorry!