UK Pension Transfer To NZ

Transferring a UK pension to NZ

New Zealand has long been a destination preferred by many UK citizens.

New Zealand’s stunning landscapes and lower population density are often cited as reasons people take the long plane ride to a new, less cluttered life.  However, many financial considerations should be considered before booking your movers.  

We consider one aspect of deciding what to do with a UK pension transfer to NZ. 


Transferring a UK pension to New Zealand can be complex. As well as possible tax consequences in both countries, other pension

benefits may need to be considered. These decisions should be made with the help of an independent financial adviser


For many UK citizens who have become NZ residents, there’s a unique opportunity. By transferring their UK pensions to New Zealand, they can potentially combine the historical tax-free growth in their UK pension with future tax-free distributions in NZ. This could significantly enhance their financial situation.   


Some of the things to consider when deciding whether to transfer a UK pension to NZ:

NZ Tax Considerations

NZ Tax on UK pension income

If you choose to receive a periodic pension from the UK, this will be taxed in full by NZ IRD and must be declared as income.
This may require you to file a tax return each year.

NZ tax on pension transfers or lump sum withdrawals

You may need to pay NZ tax in full if you transfer or withdraw a lump sum from a foreign superannuation scheme.   A four-year tax exemption period generally applies, and if you receive a lump sum during that time, you won’t be required to pay NZ tax on the amount you receive.   After that four-year exemption, the tax you pay will increase each year.

NZ transitional residency

For new migrants or New Zealanders moving home after a significant period of living overseas, a ‘Transitional Resident’ can be beneficial.  If you qualify, there is a 48-month period where foreign passive income is exempted from tax.  This includes withdrawals from foreign superannuation schemes by taking lump sum benefits or transferring to a NZ superannuation scheme.  The exemption also includes income from financial arrangements, rental property, and FIF income.

UK Tax Considerations

UK Pension Transfer To ROPS

To transfer a UK pension tax-free, the receiving scheme must be a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (ROPS). ROPS schemes are set up to meet the criteria set out by the UK government.

It’s crucial to understand that KiwiSaver schemes, despite their allowance for withdrawals to purchase a house, do not qualify as ROPS.  This means that transferring a UK pension to a KiwiSaver scheme may not be the most tax-efficient option, and could potentially result in unforeseen tax implications, a risk that should be carefully considered.

UK Overseas Transfer Charge and Lifetime Allowance Charge:

The UK has complex rules around taxing pension transfers. Heavy taxing can occur, e,g. The OTC is 25%, and the LTA is 55%. But don’t be too
concerned as there are exemptions for both rules, which apply to many people transferring pensions.

Other Considerations For UK Pension Transfer To NZ

Death Benefits

Death benefits may be better in NZ than in a UK pension plan. Some UK Annuities may restrict death benefits, such as guaranteed payments for a limited period. A key advantage in NZ is that superannuation schemes have no inheritance tax, and any transferred amount is available to beneficiaries.

Access to funds

The NZ ROPS retirement age is 55 currently, although it will increase to 57 on 6 April 2028. This is the same as the UK for defined contribution schemes. However, most defined benefit schemes do not provide a lump sum payment.

Risk of regulatory change

Once funds have been transferred to New Zealand, they are unlikely to be affected by additional UK tax rules. However, if you opt to leave your pensions in the UK, there is a risk that changes to how transfers are taxed could negatively impact your situation.


This is a high-level overview of UK Pension Transfers, but every client’s situation is unique.  There are many different UK pension plans and scenarios, meaning each transfer situation needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.   


Collaborating with an experienced financial adviser who offers a pension transfer service is not just beneficial. It’s essential. This ensures you receive the best advice possible and can make an informed decision about your pension transfer.

How do we help?

    • We assess your UK pension assets and other assets you may have to determine the best way to structure your financial affairs.
  • If this requires transferring a UK Pension to New Zealand, we will manage that often complex process on your behalf.
    At Bradley Nuttall, we work with a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (ROPS) in New Zealand. The New Zealand FinancialMarkets
    Authority regulates this scheme. It offers various investment options, including managed funds, shares, and property.
  • Our financial advisers will also advise on your retirement plans to ensure your investment strategy aligns with your lifestyle and financial goals.

Please take advantage of our no-fee service for initial consultation and a UK pension transfer to NZ plan, a valuable offer that can save you
a significant amount. 


With 14 years of experience working in the UK financial markets, Cameron is knowledgeable and well-equipped to evaluate whether a UK pension transfer to NZ is the right choice for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and confidently start your retirement planning.