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Advisers numbers dismissed as a ‘bounce’


Advisers are very doubtful the recent rise in adviser numbers will be the start of a positive trend as new FCA stats reveal the impact of those who did not pass their exams by the December deadline returning to the fold. 

Money Marketing revealed in March that the number of IFAs and restricted advisers operating on the first day of the RDR was 20 per cent lower than the number estimated by the FSA to be operating the previous year, from 25,616 to 20,453.

Last week, figures from the FCA showed that number has increased 6 per cent to 21,684 between the start of the RDR and the end of July, as more advisers who had not passed the required exams in December re-enter the market.

There is no breakdown of IFA numbers. 

Informed Choice executive director Nick Bamford says: “With any advice issues being in flux, like trail commission for example, it will be the end of 2013 before we see the real impact of RDR.

“Those figures will be interesting, but I am not optimistic the rise will continue.” 

Jacksons Wealth Management managing director Pete Matthews says: “Some of the rise could also be down to ex-bank advisers popping up elsewhere. As the RDR reality bites the numbers are likely to head down again.”

The total number of advisers, including bank advisers, IFAs, restricted advisers, discretionary advisers and stockbrokers is up 5 per cent, from 31,132 to 32,690, between December and July.   

Bank and building society advisers fell 4 per cent in the period, after a 44 per cent fall in the year running up to the RDR, with the number now at 4,604.

A British Bankers’ Association spokeswoman says the figures suggest the number is now “stabilising”. 

FCA director of supervision Clive Adamson says: “These figures show those looking for financial advice still have plenty of options open to them. What is more, by establishing standards across the industry we are helping to build confidence by reassuring consumers and raising the profile of the adviser profession.”

The number of discretionary fund managers shot up 24 per cent from 1,435 at the end of December to 1,784 as at the end of July.

Over the same period the number of stockbroking firms rose 11 per cent 2,043 to 2,267. The figures compare to summer 2012 estimates of 875 and 12,020 respectively. 

An FCA spokesman says the discrepancy between the estimates and the new figures could be down to advisers changing how they describe their role.


FCA data on adviser numbers
Adviser numbers as of 31.07.13      
  Fully Qualified Partly Qualified Total
Financial Adviser 21258 426 21684
Bank and Building Society 4311 293 4604
Stockbroker 2212 56 2267
Discretionary Investment manager 1752 32 1784
Top 4 categories TOTAL 29533 807 30340
Other 2156 68 2221
Waivers     129
Total 31689 875 32690
Top 4 categories as % of total 93.00% 92.00% 93.00%
Adviser numbers (estimated 2012 and actual end 2012 and 2013)      
  Estimate in summer 2012 Actual 31.12.12 Actual 31.07.13
Source RS Consulting FSA FCA
Financial Advisers 23787 20453 21684
Banks and Building Societies 6655 4810 4604
Stockbrokers 1202 2043 2267
Discretionary Investment Managers 875 1435 1784
Other 2554 2269 2221
Waivers N/A 122 129
Total advisers 35073 31132 32690
Source: FCA      


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