But it seems firms in the black are becoming more and more prevalent, albeit modestly.
Latest sets of results saw Tenet, Burns-Anderson, Lighthouse and Cavanagh all doing quite alright indeed.
Tenet last reported a profit of £1.67m on £114.7m turnover and last month Lighthouse reported a 66 per cent increase in interim profits. Lighthouse is forecasting group profits to hit £3m by the year end and hopes to pay out a maiden dividend.
Similarly Horsham-based IN Partnership also paid out its first dividend since launch this year, forking out 5 pence a share to nearly 75 per cent of the 500-strong network. The group made £1.23m profit to June 30, 2006 and is expected to break £1.5m this year.
Down in the South West, Burns-Anderson has also finally been able to give something back to shareholders. For 20 years now B-A has been trying to pay out, and finally, with the last set of accounts, it is now in a position for Steve Kelland and his fellow shareholders see a return on their long-standing investments.
One expects their annual conference next month will see them with plenty to celebrate.
So, while Lighthouse, IN Partnership and B-A have all paid or are very close to paying inaugural dividends to shareholders, Sage network is on track for a £2m profit by the end of this year and will be writing out 500 cheques to its members if targets are met.
Sumus group, parent company to Falcon, Financial Synergies and FSAS reported a profit of £840,000 for the year ended September 30. It sounds as though the next set of results will continue its upward trend.
Many of the groups say that while RI numbers are static, the quality of adviser seems to be improving, with lower producers being deliberately weeded out of the business in favour of higher ones.
And the support organisations providing services for advisers are similarly marketing themselves at an improved standard of adviser.
Yes, we all are too well aware of high profile large adviser firms that have collapsed in recent years and we know the main reasons why.
But generally speaking most firms seem to be sorting themselves out and by adopting appropriate technology, stripping out the fat from the business and generally acting more like business managers than salesmen perhaps this industry’s reputation can be salvaged sooner than we might have thought and without the regulatory intervention that the RDR may well entail.