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Riverside Trust is a Private Pension Scheme or Group SIPP  (Self Invested Personal Pension) set up by and managed for Barristers and Clerks (“the Investors”). The Trust was created in July 2004 for the purpose of buying property at 15 New Bridge Street, London, in order to fulfil two objectives (i) provide an appropriate level of accommodation for Barristers in practice together and (ii) provide a substantial asset at the centre of a pension scheme for Investors.

The property was purchased and refurbished with the intention of leasing it to the Investors' principal business namely 15 New Bridge Street Chambers (15 NBS). They took up residence in October 2004. Part of the rent collected from 15 NBS is used by the Trust to pay the mortgage with which it purchased the property. This simple arrangement results in financial stability for the Trust and security of tenure for the Chambers. The Trust and Chambers remain discrete legal entities with separate aims, financial & management structures and rules of conduct.

The Trust

The Trustees are Alliance Trust Pensions Ltd. (the Professional Trustee & Pension Company) and Riverside (Sipp) Ltd of which Jon Whitfield and Deanna Heer are directors. The professional trustee holds and manages the assets of the individual investors and oversees the group SIPP. The day to day management of the premises is carried out by the Directors of Riverside (Sipp) Ltd in association with the principle tenant (15 NBS). Although the Directors are members of 15 NBS their over-riding duty  is to the building as a Trust asset. They ensure that it is properly used, maintained, insured, rented-out, etc. 

The Trust and Trustees are governed by the Trust Deed and the Supplemental Deed. These documents signed by all the Investors give the Trustees a considerable amount of discretion to act in the best interests of the Trust, the Investors and the principal tenant. Important managerial or financial decisions involving the Trust and the property are made by the Trustees acting together, decisions involving an individual’s SIPP are private to and made by an individual with Alliance Trust.

Processes such as the appointment, tenure and removal of Trustees and the buying and selling of shares are all dealt with in the Trust Deed. To purchase shares and be an Investor in the property, an individual must be a member of or a senior employee at 15 NBS. Changes in membership or employees of 15 NBS may give rise to the opportunity to purchase or to sell shares and priority will be given to those with the least number. There is of course always the possibility of sale/purchase through private tender provided the intended purchaser is a member of 15 NBS.

The Trustees may in their discretion authorize the retention of shares by someone departing 15 NBS but, the number of shares permitted to be out-with the chambers is limited. This arrangement provides flexibility in careers and locations and, allows Investors to leave or retire without necessarily facing the prospect of a forced sale. Since July 2004 five Investors have taken advantage of this facility and one sold his shares at a profit but remains an Associate Member and has the opportunity to invest with the group elsewhere in the future.

The Trust Deed lists the names of the Investors, the number of property shares purchased and the sum indemnified by them. From time to time as shares are bought and sold or, members leave chambers, these names and figures will change. Such fluctuations will be noted on the register. Unless the Trustees agree otherwise, there is a limit to the number of shares any one person may hold. In this way no-one can gain a controlling interest. The current investors are listed on the Members page.

15 New Bridge Street

The Trust completed the purchase of 15 New Bridge St. on 13th of July 2004. The purchase was funded from two sources, monies from existing pensions, savings or other funds (realising 37% of the property value) and, a mortgage with the Allied Irish Bank (63% of the property value).

The value of the property was divided into shares. The existing resources were used as part-payment for a number of shares and the mortgage covered the rest. It is repaid from the income generated through the lease to 15 NBS. In order to maintain good risk management three quarters (¾) of the mortgage is at a fixed interest rate. Whilst slightly more expensive than current variable interest rates, fluctuations in the market have a limited impact on the sums due to be repaid so the Trust is financially stable.

The rent payable by 15 NBS for its occupation of the premises is set at the market rate by an independent rent-assessor rather than any member of the Trust or Chambers. A further assessment will be made in mid 2006 and thereafter every three years. The short interval between assessments ensures that any rental changes do not create financial difficulties for the Trust or the tenant.

The current Trust income exceeds the mortgage. The Trust retains a portion of this excess to manage/maintain the property the rest being allocated to the Investors’ individual SIPP accounts at a rate determined by the number of shares they have purchased. Although allocated to individuals, the money is actually retained in the Group account where as one large sum it gains a higher rate of interest. This, together with the expected increase in the value of the property over time, provides a direct benefit to the Investors for the risks they take.

The risks the Investors take are three-fold: (i) if interest rates on the variable portion of the mortgage rise such that the mortgage payments exceed the rental-income, they will have to pay a premium according to the number of shares they hold, (ii) should property prices collapse they still have to fund the mortgage, (iii) if the chambers collapses, they will have to find a new tenant to fund the Trust.  None is currently adjudged as particularly likely.


Updated 05 April 2007
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