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Recover your retirement annuities from SA

by Sable International | May 27, 2015
  • Until 2008 South African retirement annuities were untouchable before the generally accepted age of 55. Once the policy had matured, you could only withdraw a third of its value before placing the rest into a living or life annuity. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.

    If you are living abroad (or are planning to move) and have achieved financial emigration status with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), you can withdraw these funds, either before or after retirement age (55), and transfer them out of SA for onward investment. 

    Steps to recover your retirement annuities:

    1. Record your financial emigration with the SARB

    If you are living abroad and haven’t done this, then you are still legally regarded as a South African resident and are subject to the same financial regulations as someone that lives in SA.

    You can change your status to non-resident by notifying the SARB of your emigration. This frees any future obligation to the SARB for any assets you move abroad. There is a change in tax status that occurs with this.

    2. Withdraw the full value of your retirement annuities

    Once you undergo financial emigration you can withdraw your retirement annuities in full, irrespective of your age. However your options are further limited if you have already retired out of your retirement annuity and either purchased an SA life underwritten annuity or invested in a living annuity. So it is worth considering this before retiring to avoid the inconvenience.

    3. Transfer the proceeds out of South Africa

    Once you have received the all clear from the SARB and SARS, you will be able to apply to have funds withdrawn and then transfer your funds to any destination of your choosing.  

    How does financial recovery benefit you?

    Once you have transferred your funds abroad, you are free to invest as you like. You could top up an existing pension fund in your new country of residence or invest in a currency of your preference wherever you like.

    There are many benefits to investing in a pension fund abroad. For example, if you invest in a UK pension fund (or top up an existing fund), you would qualify for tax relief, which would increase the value of your contribution. You will also be charged less tax on withdrawals.

    If you choose to diversify your portfolio and invest funds in non-retirement policies in economically stable countries, you could avoid SAs exchange rate risk and protect yourself against Rand depreciation.

    Financial emigration assists South Africans, in SA or abroad, to successfully obtain financial emigration status and recover their retirement annuities and other assets still in SA.

    Our position as an international company with offices in the UK and South Africa, as well as our good relationship with South Africa’s insurance and investment houses and the Receiver of Revenue, enables us to make your financial emigration as smooth as possible. We also help you transfer your funds into a foreign account of your choosing.

    If you are thinking of moving abroad or would like to extract your annuities before time runs out, then contact our financial emigration team or take a moment to fill in our financial emigration assessment questionnaire .

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

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