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Friends chief says adviser numbers to stay resilient

Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews disputes Aviva’s forecast that IFA numbers will halve due the RDR.

At the Marketforce conference in London last Wednesday, Matthews said he accepts there will be some reduction but expects the changes will also attract new people.

Aviva’s predicted that adviser numbers will plummet from 21,000 to 10,000 by 2013 after the RDR. The company has plans to grow its in-house sales channel to capitalise on the provision gap.

But Matthews said: “I think there will be some reduction but I think half is far too exaggerated. The IFA community is very adaptable and will adapt to this. If we get this right, we will be actually be attracting new people into the business and that is very, very positive.The dream we all have is a much more professional industry that young people coming out of university aspire to get into because they can see the massive need out there in the future for financial advice.”

Legal & General group executive director for protection and annuities John Pollock said the firm was growing its tied salesforce. He said: “I think we will see a reshaping of the market. It is pretty clear that the RDR will reduce the traditional IFA population quite significantly.”

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