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RIBA Pension for architecture practices

Why we chose the RIBA Pension

01 February 2018

Automatic enrolment - a term we’ve all heard about but have maybe put off doing anything about it or naturally assumed doesn’t apply to us. Pensions are admittedly not the most exciting topic of conversation, nor are they something that many of us spend our day to day lives worrying about, but all of that is about to change…

What is automatic enrolment and how does this affect me?

Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK must put certain staff into a pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called ‘automatic enrolment’. If you employ at least one person you are an employer and have certain legal duties. Work out your duties using The Pensions Regulator website.

This means that no matter how small your practice is, you will have auto-enrolment duties to adhere to. Failure to comply will result in sanctions imposed by The Pensions Regulator such as a hefty fine.

When do I need to comply by?

New practices setting up must have an auto-enrolment solution in place from day one. Everyone else will have a staging date. Find yours using The Pensions Regulator website. All practices will have been given a date by the Pensions Regulator by which you must comply.

unit3 design studio are a RIBA Chartered Practice based in the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool. They’re made up of three employees and two trainees. Notable projects include a residential development of 16 houses in St Helens and work for an international laundry company in Vietnam, Germany, Spain and Mexico. unit3 signed up to the RIBA Pension in December 2016, six months ahead of their staging date. We asked unit3 a few questions of their experience using the RIBA Pension, see what they had to say below;

Q: Why did you chose the RIBA Pension?

A: We chose the RIBA Pension because of the low fees. We also liked the fact that it would be organised and ran through our industry governing body, providing us with peace of mind for the future. Employees can also take their pensions with them when they move practice, so it’s a win win situation all around.

Q: What are the main benefits the RIBA Pension has to offer?

A: Low fees, security and peace of mind.

Q: Has the RIBA Pension helped to take away the stress of having to comply with the new auto-enrolment rules?

A: Most definitely. It would have been a time-consuming job looking around for a provider so this has saved us both time and money.

unit3 are not the only practice who are experiencing the benefits the RIBA Pension has to offer...


Martin Shutt and Anthony Fogg, co-founders of unit3 design studio. Photo @ unit3 design studio.

Simon Bassett is the Finance Director at Perkins + Will, a RIBA Chartered Practice who are based in London and employ 2,500 members of staff worldwide. Notable projects include; the Mary Rose Museum, The Stage in Shoreditch and the Barclays Headquarters in Canary Wharf. Perkins + Will were one of the first companies to sign up to the RIBA Pension back in July 2014. We quizzed Simon on his experience using the RIBA Pension.

Q: What are the main benefits the RIBA Pension has to offer?

A: Low management charge, a helpful and responsive support team at the RIBA and an easy to use online portal for members of the pension scheme.

Q: Do you agree that the RIBA Pension offers a flexible approach to saving for your retirement?

A: Agreed. For architects who may not understand pensions, RIBA does offer a flexible approach.

Q: Has the RIBA Pension helped to take away the stress of having to comply with the new auto-enrolment rules?

A: The production by RIBA of the letters to be issued to new staff each month is great - all I need to do is print off and sign!

How can we help?

We want to provide our members with a simple solution to fulfilling your auto-enrolment needs, hence why we have evaluated other pension schemes on the market and come up with a solution that matches or beats the competition on key criteria such as cost, quality and ease of management. See how the RIBA Pension compares to others in the market.

Find out more about the RIBA Pension and how it can be beneficial for your practice.

Don’t get caught out, ensure your practice is compliant by getting your auto-enrolment solution in place before your staging date takes force.


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