Widows now has 6,034 advisers registered with its academy, Aviva has 4,300 and Positive Solutions has 1,453 and SimplyBiz 3,632, meaning a total of 15,419 advisers have started studying towards higher professional qualifications across these organisations.
Aviva market change implementation manager Helen Bainbridge says there has been a marked upturn in the number of people signing up to the academy since the latest retail distribution review paper came out in June, with 50-80 advisers now joining each week.
She says: “As the FSA is becoming clearer in its direction, people are starting to take more action and getting on with preparing for the exams.”
Positive Solutions marketing director Keith Gilmour says: “The focus now has to be on helping advisers pass the exams against the backdrop of this hugely challenging economic environment.”
Positive Solutions has just started running intensive study programmes in different regions of the country to offer additional support in the run-up to diploma exam sittings.
The 10-13- week programme will offer four full days of face-to-face study with an accredited trainer and access to an online tutor.
SimplyBiz chairman Ken Davy says: “We are very encouraged by the number of advisers who have started out on the journey towards level four. However, 15,000 is around half the total number of IFAs and although 30 per cent of IFAs have already reached diploma level, that means that many more are not yet making steps in this direction, which is bad news for the industry and for consumers.
“We believe that the FSA is wrong to impose a cut-off date of 2012 and it needs to take a more pragmatic approach to this transition.”