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Practices to pay hefty penalty for pensions non-compliance

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Building and construction-related firms - including architects - could be facing a £950 million bombshell by failing to set up stakeholder pensions for their staff, according to a new survey.

Firms employing more than four people, which do not have a company pension scheme, must set up a government-backed stakeholder pension by 8 October. Failure to comply could result in a hefty fine by the pensions regulator. The research, for Virgin Direct, shows almost one third of construction-related businesses plan to leave the decision until the last minute, risking missing the deadline.

The RIBA has responded by launching its own stakeholder pensions scheme for institute members and their practices, offering better rates than those found on the open market. 'Stakeholder pensions are to become a fact of life for most employers and individuals. Non-compliance could lead to a fine of up to £50,000, ' said a RIBA spokeswoman.

RIBA members requiring details about the scheme should call the hotline on 02380 381 801.

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