FCA data points to fall in adviser numbers

Nearly 1000 advisers who were partly qualified on 31 December 2012 are now set to be fully level four, but these better-qualified advisers may not be enough to offset an overall drop in numbers, data has suggested.

Based on professional standards data submitted by firms to the FCA, as at 31 December 2012 there were 31,132 advisers, both qualified and part qualified but covered under the 30-month rule.

This was broken down into 20,453 financial advisers, 19,990 fully qualified and 463 part qualified.

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The remaining qualified and those advisers waiting to achieve level four were from banks, stockbrokers and discretionary wealth management firms.

When asked what the final number of advisers now completing their level four were, a spokesman for the FCA would not comment, but said the regulator would be analysing the figures and publishing an update in a few months’ time.

The figures came as data from research firm Touchstone Financial Analytics showed that about 5000 advisory firms have closed their doors in the aftermath of the RDR, with the number of advisory firms dipping below the 15,000 mark in the first six months of this year.

In a 28-page report published by research firm GfK, one-fifth of advisory firms were shown to be restricted, with 27 per cent of advisers admitting they may consider turning restricted.

The survey of 423 IFAs also revealed that 30 per cent of advisers had lost clients due to the RDR, with 45 per cent saying they had clients unwilling to pay for advice in the future.

Martin Grimwood, GfK divisional director for life, pensions and investments, said: “We believe it’s essential that the IFA community addresses this potential drop-out by ensuring the value of independent advice is clearly communicated, as our research suggests this important message is failing to get across.”

 FCA data as at 31 December 2012 

Qualification Status


Fully Qualified


Part Qualified (covered under 30 month rule)







Advisers are concentrated into four main types of firm that account for 92 per cent of the total.


Adviser view

Derek Bradley, director of online adviser portal Panacea Adviser, said: “There is a significant reality gap between what advisers think consumers will pay for advice and what consumers would actually pay. This is not a good RDR outcome if advice for all, but at a cost, was the intention.”