International SIPP

The self-invested personal expat pension

A SIPP (self invested personal pension) is a personal pension that offers greater investment flexibility during your retirement than some other pensions. Enhanced options and control over the assets you invest in means you can have more influence over the results, which depend upon how the assets selected perform. 

It is important to recognise that many providers of expat international SIPPs still allow the purchase of securities not permitted in the UK, including commission-generating share classes of funds with higher underlying charges and lower returns for investors.

Investment Choice

The guidelines for SIPPs allow for diversification with a wide range permitted investments categorised as 'standard assets' by the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

They include:

  • Cash funds

  • Cash deposits

  • Managed pension funds

  • Exchange traded products (ETFs)

  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

  • Government, local authority and other fixed interest stocks

  • Collective investment schemes (CIS) in the UK (or overseas and recognised by the FCA)

  • Stocks, equities and shares

  • Structured products (with a degree of secondary market liquidity)

Not permitted include:

  • Residential property

  • Movable assets (wine, collectable cars, antiques and art)

  • Personal loans

  • Ground rents

Income Options

Drawdown from a SIPP can begin from age 55, and if you are also still working. SIPPs allows you choice over how you take benefits and first, how much to take as a lump sum. A PCLS (pension commencement lump sum) of up to 25% is available tax-free at the time you decide how your pension income will be paid. The remainder of the fund will be taxed at your prevailing tax rate as income, lump-sum payments or a combination of both options by:

  • Purchasing annuities

  • Drawdown of pension income

  • Uncrystalised funds pension lump-sums (UFPLS)

Benefits on Death

On the death of the member benefits are paid as a lump sum or to the individuals you have selected through flexi-access drawdown or an annuity purchase. Scheme administrators decide how and to whom the benefits are paid, taking account of wishes stated in the application.   

How remaining funds are distributed differs according to age at the time of death.


On death before 75, benefits will be paid free of UK tax whether taken as either lump sum or income.

• Death at or after 75, income payments will be subject to UK income tax at the beneficiaries marginal rate of tax.

The Costs

SIPPs in the UK are cheap, however costs usually increase for schemes created with expat investing in mind. Set-up costs range from zero to £300 with ongoing annual charges of  between £170-£750. Cheaper 'light' versions are also available for smaller values.

Pension Tax Relief

SIPP contributions are permitted under the age of 75. For non-UK residents the rules differ, but if you are receiving UK earnings you should qualify for tax relief which under Section 188 of the Finance Act 2004 will not in any one tax year surpass the larger of:

• £3,600 - the basic gross amount for the current tax year, or

• 100% of all relevant UK earnings in the current tax year 

    (subject to limits below)

Annual allowances apply to payments that qualify for tax relief into any number of your own registered pension schemes in a Pension Input Period. For 2018 / 2019 the allowance is £40,000 and for individuals that do not have relevant UK earnings, including expats, the allowance is  £3,600 gross.

Contact us today to learn more about expat pension transfers, International SIPPs and how to consolidate multiple schemes into one, easy to manage investment.

Get in touch

Inveq Worldwide

Inveq provides financial services 

globally. As part of a global

network that is regulated in 

multiple jurisdictions, you can be

assured of the best possible 

results regardless of your location.



  • LinkedIn - White Circle
  • Inveq Twitter
  • Facebook - White Circle

9 Prince Maurice Court, Hambleton Avenue, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 2RT, UK.

Tel: +44 (0) 1380 717025

Robin Matthews trading as Inveq is a member of OpesFidelio and is authorised to give financial advice subject to contract in parts of the EEA (Excluding the UK). OpesFidelio is a trademarked network of the Aisa Group which includes Aisa Financial Planning Ltd and Aisa International s.r.o. Aisa Financial Planning is authorised and regulated in the UK as an independent financial adviser for UK retail clients by the Financial Conduct Authority and has permissions throughout the EEA under both directives IDD and MiFID.  View FCA authorisation here.

Aisa International s.r.o. is authorised and regulated in the Czech Republic as a financial adviser by the Czech National Bank and has permissions through selected EEA countries. Cash and Tax services are not regulated.