It’s official: FCA data show adviser numbers rising

As of July 2013 there are now 32,690 retail investment advisers working in the UK, a 5.9 per cent increase from the number in the industry as at December 2012, figures released by the Financial Conduct Authority have revealed.

The FCA said this is within the range predicted by independent researchers commissioned by the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, in 2012.

The number of advisers has risen from 31,132 since December 2012, the last time the numbers were officially counted. The FCA believes the increase is attributable to advisers re-entering the market.

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Last week, Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, told FTAdviser that advisers numbers are on the rise and are likely to have reached around 34,000. His claim stood in contrast to widespread gloom in the industry that numbers are falling rapidly.

The FCA data show that six months after the introduction of the new rules, 97 per cent of advisers have the “appropriate” level four qualification to give advice, with the final three per cent recent entrants who are studying within the three month grace period permitted by the rules.

This stands in contrast to 2010 when less than half of all advisers were qualified to today’s standard, the FCA added.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said: “Today’s figures show that those looking for financial advice still have plenty of options open to them. What’s more, by establishing standards across the industry we are helping to build confidence by reassuring consumers and raising the profile of the adviser profession.”

The FCA is also today publishing the full research by RS Consulting into the intentions of financial advisers ahead of the introduction of RDR.

Last month, Standard Life research revealed the industry was 5,000 advisers short of the ideal number.