The issue of adviser charging is hitting the headlines as a constituent part of the retail distribution review.
The media has given miles of column inches and gigabytes of web space to the issue of qualifications but precious little attention has been given to the fundam-entals of the business that will have to change to adapt and survive in this new environment.
In reality, adviser survival rates following the RDR will be dictated more by potential business failure 12 to 18 months after 2012 and not by the number of advisers who have not bothered, or been unable to meet, level four qualifications.
The IFP recently held a conference in London to discuss the key issues and opportunities that advisers who are fine-tuning their businesses face ahead of 2013.
Given the feedback from the community that there is a lack of support for businesses considering or part way through the transition, I was surprised we only had 75 delegates.
Those delegates benefited from an excellent day, with contributions from experts and practit-ioners who are dealing with the challenges particularly well.
However, there are some worrying trends starting to come through.
Cash rebates on platforms are important in enabling a sensible mechanism for the collection of fees. Stopping this will be to the detriment of consumers, creating more hurdles for them to access and pay for good financial planning and investment advice. The FSA needs to identify the right priorities for this legislation.
If a business is choosing to offer a comprehensive financial planning service to clients, it is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver this profitably to those clients who are in accumulation mode.
Those approaching or in retirement are more likely to be able to pay from their platform or their investments. Meanwhile, those accumulating rarely have this capacity. They would value the service and eventually be in a position to have accumulated capital but they cannot be profitable to many financial planning businesses.
There is little evidence to date of how the providers are going to support this transition with practical examples and this is where there are big challenges ahead for the core of the market.
Ernst & Young recently carried out research that showed the 30,000 advisers in the sector will fall to 20,000 shortly after the RDR takes effect. It says the reason for this is likely to be because of business-related issues and not directly linked to qualification failure.
This should be a big concern for the sector. Advisers need to lift their heads above the parapet now and prioritise activity and planning for the next 18 months or risk serious consequences.
Those that have already developed a financial planning business model have demonstrated real improvement and are well placed to take advantage of existing opportunities.
Nick Cann is chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning