Advisers retire. We know this to be as true as the sun shines by day.
We also know there is an advice gap, exacerbated by the Retail Distribution Review and then the pension freedoms regime.
And now, at a time when small businesses, consumers, investors and thousands of ordinary folk are looking for advice with their mortgages, protection and investment needs, Financial Adviser can reveal the industry has lost another 1,680 advisers.
A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that this is the number of advisers writing to cancel their permissions since 2015 – the same year pension freedoms and choice came in.
What the FOI does not show is why this huge chunk of our community is packing it in, but conversations with advisers have revealed the same old story: ever-rising professional indemnity insurance, with higher regulatory fees and levies, plus tightening restrictions over parts of the advice process.
With PII rising to 900 per cent for some businesses, and 14 per cent of advice companies worried they will not be able to continue operating as a result of the crushing price of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, it is clear the profession has become a difficult one to operate in.
Why wouldn’t advisers decide to retire before they had originally intended, given all of this pressure?
But with their loss comes the removal of experience and wisdom from the industry. As with any industry, the loss of age and experience means the narrowing of a horizon of knowledge.
It means fewer people in financial services who have worked through more than one other downturn. It means history is likely to be repeated as there are fewer people around who learned their lessons and succeeded where others did not.
While some may be staying as consultants to teach and train, many will not – and that cannot be good for businesses, the profession or the clients they serve.