Speaking to FTAdviser, FSA managing director of conduct supervision Martin Wheatley confirmed that the number of advisers holding statements of professional standing at the end of the year was around 32,000.
An FSA spokesperson then clarified that the number was in fact just over 31,000. She said the number includes 945 advisers who are only part-qualified but remain able to give advice under the regulator’s 30-month grace rule.
That rule gives advisers who started operating in the market after a certain date 30 months’ grace to achieve full qualification.
This latest figure equates to an approximate 13 per cent drop in the number of newly-defined retail investment advisers since the summer of 2012.
In an RDR readiness survey published in February 2013, the FSA reported finding 35,899 retail investment advisers as of late summer 2012, which itself suggested a fall of 11.5 per cent compared to summer 2011.
That survey also revealed that, as of November/December 2012, 93 per cent of RIAs held an appropriate qualification, 2 per cent were awaiting results on their final paper and 2 per cent were still studying.
A few advisers still needed to complete gap-fill and 3 per cent of advisers did not intend to take an appropriate qualification.