Intrinsic has insisted an audit of their membership’s advice status was to check they met regulatory requirements rather than a bid to force advisers to become restricted.
The exercise, which started in February, saw field staff visiting firms across the country.
Darren Cooke, a former Intrinsic adviser who is now directly authorised, said he felt the audit was being used to reduce the number of independent advisers in Intrinsic’s and Positive Solution’s ranks.
Mr Cooke said: “An IFA has had a visit from an Intrinsic person, ostensibly to help them remain independent, but it has been (used as) an excuse to try and figure out which ones they can make restricted.
“A good friend of mine was told they had been given a target to get the number of independents down to 250 and they are currently at 400-odd.
“The person I spoke to was told they were doing everything they needed to do and was told he could stay as an IFA, but someone came back and said they had come to help him move to restricted, so he kicked him out of the door.”
In 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued guidance on its ‘new standard’ for independent advice, aiming to clarify what constitutes independent and restricted advice.
The regulator stated if a firm gives independent advice it will need to consider a broader range of products (beyond packaged products).
A firm giving independent advice must provide unbiased, unrestricted advice based on a comprehensive and fair analysis of the relevant market.
When Intrinsic was asked whether it has a target of reducing its independent advisers to 250, a spokesman declined to comment.
Intrinsic and Positive Solutions are both owned by Old Mutual Wealth and collectively make up the third largest financial advice businesses in the country, in terms of gross sales, according to Financial Adviser Top 100 list.