First official RDR stats: adviser numbers down 20%, bank advisers fall 44%

FSA Letters 480

The number of IFAs and tied advisers operating on the first day of the RDR was 20 per cent down on December 2011 figures while the number of bank advisers fell 44 per cent.

The first comprehensive FSA figures on post-RDR adviser numbers are based on professional standards data submitted by firms and show the total number of retail investment advisers fell 23 per cent from the 40,566 estimated by the FSA at the end of 2011 to 31,132 at the end of 2012, the first day of the RDR.

The total number of advisers after the RDR deadline was also down 13 per cent from the 35,899 advisers the FSA estimated were operating in summer 2012. Of the post-RDR total, 30,045 were fully qualified retail investment advisers and 965 were part qualified, including those who have until 30 June to become RDR compliant.

FSA estimates suggest there were 25,616 IFAs, tied and multi-tied advisers in December 2011, of which 21,696 were IFAs. This fell 20 per cent to an equivalent 20,453 advisers after the RDR deadline. The FSA is unable to give a split for IFAs.

The number of bank and building society advisers fell by 44 per cent from an estim-ated 8,658 in 2011 to 4,809 post-RDR. Advisers with wealth management firms, including discretionary, non-discretionary and stockbroker firms, fell by 8 per cent from 4,043 to 3,718. Of these, 1,435 work for discretionary fund management firms.

The rest of the adviser population was made up of various types of advisers including those with life insurers, mortgage brokerages and corporate finance firms.

An FSA spokeswoman says the regulator’s estimates for 2011 adviser numbers may include some double counting.

FSA head of investment intermediaries Linda Woodall says: “This is the first time definitive information about the number of advisers has been published. Those who remain in the industry have shown they are committed to increasing the professionalism of the sector.”

In November 2010, then-FSA chief executive Hector Sants told the Treasury select committee a 20 per cent loss of advisers would be an acceptable consequence of the RDR but later apologised for his comment.

Plan Money director Peter Chadborn says: “The fall in bank advisers has proved a lot of us wrong who thought the RDR was going to play into the hands of the banks.”

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