Your IndustryAug 24 2021

Hundreds of advisers give up permissions during pandemic

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Hundreds of advisers give up permissions during pandemic
BySonia Rach

The Financial Conduct Authority has seen 365 advice firms give up their Part 4A permissions over the course of the pandemic.

According to a Freedom of Information request by FTAdviser, between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021, 257 advice firms gave up their permissions. 

Then, between March 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021, an additional 99 advice firms followed suit.

The figures do not consider firms that joined during that period.

This month the FCA repeated its coronavirus financial resilience survey for a fifth time.

The regulator said it was re-issuing the survey to help it better understand the impact of Covid on firms’ financial resilience.

Recent data found many UK advice firms saw a decline in profitability through 2020, despite some of the larger firms reporting profitable years.

Research by Investment Trends, which surveyed 1,371 financial advisers in March 2021, showed three in ten financial advisers had seen profitability decline in the past year, a record since the study began in 2012.

By comparison, in 2020 11 per cent said the same and in 2019 it was 8 per cent.

This research, which was a representative online survey of IFAs in the UK, was in line with data from Personal Finance Society and NextWealth published last year.

The PFS and NextWealth found smaller firms, with only two to five employees, had been hit the hardest, with 83 per cent reporting a drop in revenue.

However, despite smaller firms and IFAs reporting a difficult year, some of the larger firms reported a profitable year over the course of the pandemic.

Chase de Vere saw profits rise 2.5 per cent in the year ending December 31, with company turnover also increasing.

Frenkel Topping also saw its pre-tax profits jump 25 per cent as it said the first three months of 2021 had given cause for optimism for the rest of the year.

The advice firm, which specialises in asset protection for vulnerable clients, posted a pre-tax profit of £1.5m in 2020, up from £1.2m in 2019.

Additionally, Investec’s UK wealth and investment business posted an 18 per cent increase in operating profit for the year to the end of March after benefitting from a strong second half.

Meanwhile, the FOI found that across the industry, approximately 3690 regulated firms had given up permissions between March 1, 2020 and February 28 2021.  

This was followed by an additional 1053 from March 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021.

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