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DeVere eyes office closures as Qrops tax penalty bites

DeVere eyes office closures as Qrops tax penalty bites

International advisory firm DeVere Group could close some of its offices after the government introduced a charge on overseas pension transfers, forcing it to restructure its business.

In the Budget last week, the government changed the rules for qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes, levying a 25 per cent tax charge on overseas pensions outside the EEA and where the retiree lives in a different jurisdiction to where the pension resides.

DeVere - which stated Qrops currently represents approximately 20 per cent of its business, though this includes within the EEA, which is unaffected by the changes - has revealed it is set to restructure its business in light of the changes.

Giving FTAdviser details of the overhaul, DeVere stated it does not foresee any redundancies as a result of the strategic review.

However according to the firm it is likely that some offices will close, and others will be opened, as DeVere reviews which markets it wants to be in, and invest in, and others "which we might not as we move forward".

DeVere envisages the review will be completed by the end of the second quarter this year.

Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of deVere Group, called the Qrops charge “extremely disappointing” and accused the government of viewing pensions as a “low hanging fruit they can raid whenever they deem it appropriate”.

“It seems to forget that it is an individual’s right to transfer their asset to any jurisdiction they see fit and, as such, people should not be penalised should they choose to move it outside the UK for legitimate financial planning reasons,” Mr Green said.

Mr Green said that the review is meant to help the company adapt to the new regulatory environment while maintaining its “market-leading position”.

The group plans to expand its level of protection and service while offering a broader range of advice and a more extensive range of products.

It recently received an investment banking licence and launched its own private bank in St Lucia.

The review is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter.

julia.faurschou@ft.com