Trireme Pension Services

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Review summary

Trireme Pension Services

Trireme Pension Services (Trireme) is an occupational and personal pension trustee. It blends technical expertise and operational know-how to provide professional pension services to schemes in jurisdictions around the world.

Trireme is part of PraxisIFM, an independent, owner-managed group of financial companies established over 40 years ago. 

PraxisIFM has offices in Guernsey, Jersey, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, UAE and the UK, and over $42 billion worth of assets under administration, and revenues of over £31 million.

As part of the PraxisIFM group, Trireme has offices in Guernsey and Malta, and it largely operates in tax friendly jurisdictions such as the UAE and the Channel Islands.

Trireme doesn’t offer pension or investment advice to individual plan holders, rather its trustee and technical support services are for financial advisers and corporate clients.

Overview

Trireme has multi-jurisdictional knowledge, and specialises in helping advisers design and set up bespoke pension plans for individual and corporate clients around the world.

The company says it: “maintains a list of preferred advisers and investment managers (who are suitably licensed and meet Trireme’s own due diligence requirements).” 

In our experience, preferred investment managers often mean ‘traditional’ discretionary or active fund managers, whose advice may be conflicted, expensive and underperform.  We strongly recommend advice is always taken from independent, fee-based planners who would ideally hold Chartered status, and be authorised in the UK as pension transfer specialists. 

These can be found on the websites of the UK CII or Financial Conduct Authority.

In terms of Trireme’s core pension services, they are: - 

Corporate pensions

Trireme can establish and administer domestic and international retirement benefit schemes, including defined contribution and defined benefit schemes for key employees, or an entire workforce.

Using their own propriety software system, Trireme claims to deliver a functionally rich administration system, that provides tools for the pension administration process for schemes with up to a million members.

Personal pensions

Trireme administers personal, individual retirement plans such as RATS (retirement annuity trust schemes), QROPS (qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes) and QNUPS (qualifying non-UK pension scheme).

The full list is: - 

QROPS:

The Pathfinder Retirement Scheme:

Registered with the Malta Financial Services Authority, this is a contract-based Pension Transfer Scheme, designed to receive transfers from existing regulated retirement schemes. 

The scheme is recognised as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme by HMRC under reference number: QROPS510039. 

It provides non-UK residents and those leaving the UK with the opportunity to transfer their accrued UK pension benefits.

The Pioneer Retirement Plan

Also registered with the Malta Financial Services Authority, this is a trust-based Pension Transfer Scheme, recognised as a QROPS by HMRC, reference QROPS900554.

It also provides non-UK residents and those leaving the UK with the opportunity to transfer their accrued UK pension benefits.

QNUPS:

The Explorer Retirement Scheme

This is a contract-based Personal Contribution Scheme designed to receive contributions from individuals to provide a supplementary retirement scheme. 

It is registered with the Malta Financial Services Authority and may be suitable for those who are contemplating becoming resident in a jurisdiction that does not recognise trust-based pension schemes.

It offers added security over traditional trust-based schemes in safeguarding members’ assets. 

The Agility QNUPS

This is a Defined Contribution Retirement Plan that meets the UK conditions to be deemed a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme (QNUPS).

Its purpose is to provide supplementary benefits in addition to those provided by retirement plans already established by an individual.

Retirement benefits are provided in the form of a Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS) payment of up to 30% of the plan value, followed by an income stream for the life of the member.

Contributions are made from post-tax earnings or from person capital.

The Agility QNUPS does not permit transfers from retirement plans that have been subject to tax relief on contributions into that plan.

In addition, Trireme’s offers a series of pensions schemes for US connected individuals:

US International

US Pioneer

US Pathfinder

US Voyager

Bespoke pensions

For financial service providers, Trireme can establish, administer and effectively white-label pensions schemes and services, thus enabling service providers to expand their range of own-branded services and products.

The pros

  • Well regulated
  • Part of a large and experienced group
  • Ability to assist US residents
  • Highly professional

The cons

  • Works with a list of preferred investment managers, which may mean clients are exposed to conflicted, expensive and underperforming advice

FAQs
Where is Trireme authorised and regulated?

Trireme Pension Services (Malta) Limited is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

It is authorised to act as a Retirement Scheme Administrator to Retirement Schemes registered under the Retirement Pensions Act, 2011.  Company Registration Number C58492. 

And Trireme Pension Services (Guernsey) Limited is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

It is licensed as a fiduciary services company under the regulation of Fiduciaries, Administration Businesses and Company Directors, etc. (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2000.  Company Registration Number 55537.

Should I choose a QNUPS instead of a QROPS or SIPP?

Given the UK Inheritance tax exemption, a QNUPS is likely to be particularly attractive to UK domiciled individuals or anyone with UK property to invest in a pension scheme.

This type of arrangement may also be useful for an internationally mobile individual looking for a tax efficient retirement plan in a politically stable and safe jurisdiction.

A QNUPS could also be used where there is a limit on domestic pension contributions.

The UK annual allowance for tax relieved pension contributions is currently capped at just £40,000 for 2015/16 with further restrictions for higher earners from 2016/17.

Similarly, a QNUPS offers an alternative means of funding for retirement for those who are close to exceeding the UK Lifetime Allowance (LTA) for tax relieved savings.

The LTA has suffered a succession of cuts in recent years and is only £1m from April 2016.

If in doubt, seek independent advice about your pension options.

I'm a US resident, can Trireme help me transfer my pension?

Theoretically yes, as Trireme has a series of schemes specifically aimed at US residents. 

However, care must be taken by US residents when it comes to making pension transfers, in part because of the far-reaching terms of FACTA.

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Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Trireme Pension Services (Trireme)

We were asked by a reader to review Trireme, and were happy to do so. 

Although it’s not one of the most common trustees, we know they have highly experienced staff, are part of a large, experienced group and are well regulated.

As long as investors take advice from UK authorised pension transfer specialists and avoid conflicted, commission based advice – you likely can’t go wrong.

Good firm – highly professional.

Read the UK regulators advice on pension transfers.  NEVER deal with a firm that isn’t authorised as a UK pension transfer specialist.

Our advice would be to seek professional fee-based independent financial advice if you have an existing QROP or other solution with Trireme. 

We also recommend you have a free, no obligation X-Ray Review™ conducted to give you the information you need to make a decision on the best way forward.

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