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Review summary

Trireme Pension Services

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

Trireme is part of PraxisIFM, an independent, owner-managed group of financial companies established over 40 years ago which is listed on The International Stock Exchange. PraxisIFM has offices in 15* jurisdictions throughout the world with more than 500 staff* and over $42 billion worth of assets under administration.

Pensions is noted as one of the three core service offerings of PraxisIFM who provide administration services to more than 250,000 individual pension members. Trireme has its own individually licensed and regulated offices in Guernsey and Malta.

Trireme doesn’t offer pension or investment advice to individual plan holders.

* awaiting regulatory approval.

Customer Reviews
Expert Verdict

Trireme offer a range of personal and corporate pension plans from its licensed and regulated offices in Malta and Guernsey.

As a full EU member and Eurozone state, Malta has been one of the most preferred jurisdictions for international retirement planning for many years. It boasts a large number of double taxation agreements which set out how retirement benefits will be treated upon drawdown - which often result in zero Malta withholding tax. Trireme established the first pensions written under contract (rather than trust) which can offer significant benefits for people living in jurisdictions that don’t recognise trusts – or actively discriminate against them, which includes most of mainland Europe as Civil Law jurisdictions.

They also offer trust versions of most of their plans – which run at the same price as the contract versions and clients are free to move between plans should their tax circumstances change.

The Pathfinder Retirement Scheme is a contract based plan recognised as an Overseas Pensions Scheme by HMRC under reference number: QROPS510039. Trireme also offer the Pioneer Retirement Plan which is a trust based version – recognised as an Overseas Pensions Scheme by HMRC under reference number: QROPS900554.

The Explorer Retirement Plan which is a contract based QNUPS open to accept personal contributions and designed to receive contributions from individuals to provide supplementary retirement benefits. 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 and it can offer added security over traditional trust-based schemes. 

US Plans
Trireme are one of the few international pension providers who have specific solutions for US taxpayers and they offer unrivaled expertise in this area.

US International Retirement Plan
The ‘US IRP’ is an international pension for US taxpayers wherever they are located in the world, or for pre-US immigration work. It offers a personal pension solution for American taxpayers who wish to fund a personal retirement plan – but it is not designed to accept transfers of previously funded UK or US pensions.

The US Pathfinder Retirement Scheme is a (Q)ROPS for US taxpayers– or persons soon to become US taxpayers. This can assist with pre-US immigration for people already holding a (Q)ROPS or for people that may wish to consider re-aligning their pension assets before relocating to the US. The plan is written under Contract rather than trust to reduce the amount of US tax returns required by members when compared to a trust based plan.

As home of PraxisIFM’s head office, Trireme have a strong presence in Guernsey supported by a wealth of local and international expertise. As a jurisdiction, Guernsey offers a very simple taxation profile on pensions with no withholding tax on benefits taken from the plan upon reaching retirement age. It can be an alternative to Malta if there is no, or an unfavorable, double taxation agreement that can give rise to local tax in Malta. Guernsey can no longer offer new (Q)ROPS but Trireme administer a number of existing plans and transfer other existing Guernsey (Q)ROPS to their trusteeship.

The Agility QNUPS offers many of the same advantages as Trireme’s Malta QNUPS but it does not rely on the existence of a DTA in order to pay retirement benefits without any withholding tax. In addition, the Guernsey investment rules are more flexible than Malta’s meaning it can be used for more bespoke private client needs whilst still offering the same UK IHT protections.

Trireme’s IPP (International Pension Plan) in Guernsey is established under the 40ee regulations. This is not a QNUPS and offers no protection from UK IHT, but it does offer highly flexible investment options and retirement benefits.

Corporate Plans
Trireme also provide corporate retirement plans for companies in a single location or for those with employees in multiple jurisdictions. They have specialist plans for Malta and Guernsey companies but a bespoke offering for other international organisations supported by their own in-house software solutions that can accept plans for up to 1 million members.

The Pros

> Well regulated
> Part of a large, Listed and experienced group
> Ability to assist US clients
> Ability to offer contract based pensions
> Highly professional – technical support available.
> Competitive and highly transparent fee structure

The Cons

> Do not have a UK or Gibraltar pension offering which can be needed for certain client profiles
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 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 get a X-Ray Review™ conducted to give you the information you need to make a decision on the best way forward.

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