The number of retail investment advisers working at dedicated financial advice firms has continued a gradual recovery, according to official statistics released today (13 January) by the Financial Conduct Authority.
As at 10 January this year, there are 21,881 intermediaries at financial adviser businesses with a statement of professional standing to show they are qualified to give advice on pensions and investments.
This is up by around 1 per cent on the 21,684 that had an SPS as at the end of July last year and is up around 5 per cent on the number of non-bank advisers as at the end of December 2012, immediately before the Retail Distribution Review came into effect.
The figure remains some 8 per cent down on the 23,787 that were estimated to be working at advice firms in the middle of 2012 and nearly 15 per cent down on the 25,616 non-bank advisers that were authorised as at the end of 2011.
In spite of this increase, the overall number of advisers actually dropped slightly after its modest recovery in July, falling by around 5 per cent from 32,690 to 31,220.
This, however, is broadly in line with the number as at the end of December 2012.
Dragging numbers down - and adding to fears of an advice gap - was a further drop in the number of advisers working at banks and building societies, which fell by close to 23 per cent between July and January from 4,604 to 3,556.
In the summer of 2012, there were believed to be 6,655 bank or building society advisers authorised by the UK.
The FCA statistics showed as of 10 January there are also 1,906 stockbrokers, down from 2,267 at the end of July 2013, 1,787 discretionary investment managers, three more than there were in July, and 2,090 classified as “others”, down from 2,221 in July.