Pros and Cons of QNUPS 

Your asset protection specialist

Pros and Cons of QNUPS 

If you are a high-net-worth individual looking for efficient tax planning, a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme (QNUPS) is definitely an option worth exploring. QNUPS are relatively new in the pensions market and offer some benefits over other pension solutions. However, they may not be suitable for everyone and it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of QNUPS in detail.  

What is a QNUPS 

A QNUPS (Qualified Non-UK Pension Scheme) is a set of rules HMRC first introduced in April 2006. It’s a pension scheme which operates outside the UK, is regulated in the territory which it is sited and meets certain rules in relation to when and how your pension is paid to you. Popular QNUPS destinations are mainly jurisdictions with which the UK has double taxation agreements in place, such as Guernsey or Hong Kong. Unlike other offshore pension and savings schemes, a QNUPS can be used to hold a wide range of assets, including property, stocks, and shares and is not subject to UK inheritance tax (IHT) on death.  

With QNUPS, there is flexibility around when your pension income is paid, which can help you to better manage your retirement income and tax position.  

A QNUPS also offers protection against creditors, divorce, and other potential legal claims. As the assets held within the structure are outside of your estate, the sometimes lengthy process of probate is also avoided, providing peace of mind for you and your family. 

Read more about what is a QNUPS and its main features and benefits

Pros of QNUPS  

Opening a Qualified Non-UK Pension Scheme (QNUPS) can be highly advantageous for individuals of any nationality who own assets located within the United Kingdom. By establishing a QNUPS, individuals can strategically manage their UK-sited assets, ensuring tax optimisation, long-term financial security, and tax efficient legacy planning. Opening a QNUPS can be of benefit to anyone with UK-sited assets, especially investment property. 


QNUPS offer some significant tax advantage over traditional pension schemes. Firstly, there is no limit on the amount you can contribute, unlike UK pensions which have an annual contribution cap. Secondly, once the assets are within the QNUPS, they can grow free of UK Capital Gains Tax, and withdrawals can also be made tax-free. Additionally, QNUPS allow for inheritance tax planning, meaning that your loved ones may receive your pension funds free of inheritance tax.  


QNUPS rules are flexible regarding the types of assets that can be held within the pension scheme. Unlike other pension solutions, QNUPS allow for the purchase of all traditional asset classes as well as a much broader range, such as property, art, and business investments. 


Qualified Non-UK Pension Schemes (QNUPS) offer a valuable shield against potential asset seizure or dilution as well as bankruptcy by creditors. By securely holding pension assets outside of the UK, QNUPS ensures that these funds remain beyond the jurisdiction of UK courts, preserving the financial security and peace of mind for individuals. This additional layer of protection can be a prudent choice for those looking to safeguard their hard-earned assets. 

Cons of QNUPS 

Although QNUPS offer several benefits for UK residents with overseas assets, it’s important to consider some potential drawbacks. 

High initial fees 

QNUPS tend to have higher fees compared to other pension solutions. The set-up and administration costs tend to be more expensive at first. However, a thorough analysis will normally demonstrate that you will see tax savings from day 1 and any initial fees paid are recouped after just a couple of years. The report should evidence that the tax savings far outweigh the initial set up costs, as the assets will grow free from Capital Gain Tax, incur reduce Income Tax on rental income and place them outside of your taxable estate for the Inheritance Tax purposes.  

Complex rules  

Setting up and managing QNUPS can be a complex task, highlighting the need to involve an expert. Initially, QNUPS were considered for inheritance tax (IHT) planning. However, the primary emphasis must be on utilizing them for retirement benefits. Thus, the challenge lies in demonstrating that the contributions made are genuinely intended for retirement planning purposes. It is not advisable to set up such a structure without preparation and education of what it can and cannot do for your retirement and your estate.  

Limited employer contributions 

In terms of employer contributions, it is important to note that they cannot be made if the QNUPS (Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme) member is both employed in the UK and a UK resident. This means that QNUPS serves as an additional layer to one’s retirement and estate planning, providing a comprehensive solution that takes into account different factors and circumstances. 

Pros and Cons of QNUPS – Is it for me? 

In conclusion, QNUPS are not for everyone, but for high-net-worth individuals looking for efficient tax planning and wealth protection, they are certainly worth considering. As with any financial decision, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons and seek expert advice before making a decision. At Soteria Trusts, we have a team of QNUPS specialists who can guide you through the process, so if you are considering QNUPS, please get in touch. 



Client Data Privacy and Protection is important to us. Please Click Here for a copy of our Personal Information Collection Statement (PICS).

© 2024 Soteria Trusts |   Privacy Policy |   Disclaimer