FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley would have introduced the RDR more quickly and delivered all the new measures at the same time if he was able to re-run its implementation.
Speaking at a press conference in London yesterday, Wheatley said: “It would have been nice to get everything done in one go. The fact that aspects of the rules have had to wait, so platform commission rules have had to come in a bit later, it would have been nice to get all components of it upfront and delivered in a package.
“But in the real world it is very difficult to do that because inevitably there are either things you couldn’t quite get your head around the first time round, or the situation changes so you need subsequent steps.
“It would also have been nice to have done it more quickly than in six years, but the reality is we are where we are.”
Wheatley also said he did not expect banks and building societies to pull out of the advice market to the extent they did as a result of the RDR.
He said it is “possibly” the case that the FSA or FCA should have foreseen this and put in place measures to ensure lower value clients continued to be served by the advice market.
But he added: “I do not know what the FSA or FCA would have done or should have done to create a service for those clients. You have to allow people to make those commercial judgements.”
The RDR was introduced on 31 December 2012 with the new platform rules being introduced between April 2014 and April 2016.
Figures released by the FCA at the press conference show the number of financial advisers rose by 1 per cent between 31 July and 10 January, from 21,684 to 21,881. This is likely to reflect more advisers achieving QCF level four during the year and compares to the 25,616 estimated to be operating at the end of 2011.
The number of bank and building society advisers fell by 23 per cent over the same period, going from 4,604 to 3,556. This is on top of a fall of 4 per cent between the end of December to the end of July, and represents less than half the 8,658 bank and building society advisers operating as at the end of 2011.