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- 70% of British expats do not understand pension flexibility 
- Three in 10 received unsolicited calls with 45% calling them “suspicious”

More than 70% of British expatriates surveyed by AES International say they do not understand the recent changes to the UK pension rules, with many also reporting “suspicious” unsolicited calls.

The survey of 170 expatriates also found that of the 30% of respondents who said they do understand the changes, only 6% said the new rules will affect how they plan to fund their retirement.

James McLeod, head of pensions at AES International, said: “Our survey suggests there are a worryingly high number of British expatriates who are in the dark about the recent pension changes.

“While the new pension flexibility rules were covered widely by the UK media, unless an expatriate specifically seeks out this information, they are likely not to be well-enough informed to take a properly thought-through decision."

AES International’s research also found that a very high number of respondents had received unsolicited calls offering financial advice.

The survey found 30% had received an unsolicited call, with just under one half describing the call as “suspicious”.

James McLeod added: “The worry is that the people calling expatriates are not properly qualified to provide financial advice. Once advice is taken and acted upon and it later transpires it was poor advice, there is usually very little which can be done about it.

“With pensions specifically, this can be extremely damaging and, in many cases, life changing as hopes and dreams for retirement are completely dashed.

“We would warn any consumers who are taking financial advice, wherever they are based, to fully check the credentials of those providing the advice. It is also a very good idea to ask for client testimonials and to then actually speak to these people to check they are real and that the advice they received is of the highest standards.”

On a more positive note, the research also found that of the 30% of respondents who said they understand the new rules, almost 70% said they thought they were a good idea.

McLeod added: “This suggests the changes struck a chord with those expatriates who are aware of and understand them. However, it should be noted that taking advantage of them as an expatriate will require very specialist advice.”

To help expatriates, AES International has produced a free guide which gives a detailed overview of what their options are at retirement and how the recent changes could affect the options they now have. To download a copy, consumers can visit this page 

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