It is clear that ARB has great expertise as a regulator, and is providing protection to the consumer and architect by being independent.
This is a critical position to maintain to ensure the profession and consumer is protected. and the loss of this independence by the profession being self regulatory (or perceived as being self regulatory) will do no no good service to either the profession or the consumer.
Be careful what you wish for RIBA...if granted the consequences may not be what you expect. There is plenty of evidence across all other professions and bodies , including MP's, to show the damage done by self regulation in the eyes of the public. Do you really think any minister now will want to support a view that regulation should not be done , and percieved to be done,at arm's length from the regulated organisation? Times have changed since RIBA took the step of agreeing a policy to banish ARB..and the politics have changed out of all recognition too.
In fact, there is a very good working relationship between ARB and RIBA, and a very productive one. Lets recognise the collaborative importance of the two organisations working together and where each has its seperate and independent expertise.
Fees? If you believe you will save in fees by having one organisation, well, surely no one is that naive?
In summary- as someone who employs architectural firms, all I can add is Get real, get out of your inward looking world, and make sure you continue as a profession to be highly regarded- and you will continue to get work. Dont forget EU competition...