The chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries said the number of people offering mortgage advice had fallen from more than 40,000, when the property market was at its peak, to fewer than 20,000 in 2013.
However, despite the fall in numbers, Mr Sinclair said opportunities existed for those left in the sector to capitalise on the implementation of the mortgage market review, which will call for all mortgage business to be sold on an advised basis from April 2014.
He said: “We believe there are around 10,000 pure mortgage brokers, with a further 4000 IFAs who offer some mortgage advice, and another 4000 advisers working in banks.
“The total figure was closer to 40,000 in 2008, but as we have never had a register, it is impossible to calculate the true size of the market.”
He added that the creation of a register for mortgage advisers and brokers was a crucial component in preparation for the MMR, but FSA plans to introduce a register were halted amid IT problems that surrounded its transition to the FCA earlier this year.
An FCA spokesman said: “The approved persons regime remains a priority for us. Now the move to the FCA is complete, we are considering how best to achieve this.”
Mr Sinclair said he remained “frustrated” that brokers or advisers could exit one company, before “popping up in another” without having to notify the FCA, adding: “People have the opportunity to hide a shady past within the current framework.
“But trends show the property market is coming back and market share for intermediaries is growing to a point that firms may even start recruiting again.”
Donna Hopton, founder of online advisory forum Cherry, said: “The lack of a register is ludicrous. People need something that they can refer to and is trusted.”
Oliver Whitehead, managing director of London-based mortgage intermediary Oportfolio, said: “The implementation of the MMR will pose big opportunities for the intermediary market. The incentives available now bode well for the sector.”