IFA Promotion chief executive David Elms says the figure shows that consumers value professionalism and are seeking out advisers who are more qualified.
Elms says: “Thirty-five per cent of consumers are ticking qualifications as part of their search. This is brilliant news as the more consumers demand qualified advisers, the more advisers will seek incremental qualifications. Consumers are the main driving force behind raising professionalism in the industry.”
IFAP recently simplified its search criteria by aligning qualifications with A-level or degree qualifications, for example. It has also recorded a 5 per cent increase over the past year in the number of advisers with at least one QCF level four or above qualification.
Figures released last week show that 14,469 of IFAP’s 16,500 members now have at least one QCF level four or above qualification compared with 13,802 advisers at the same time last year.
The data also shows an increase in the number of advisers with QCF level three qualifications at 10,557 compared with 9,376 advisers in April 2008.
Money Portal, which launched Your Learning Portal in October to help affiliated IFAs attain higher qualifications, has more than 400 advisers taking examinations this month.
The network believes that it will not suffer a significant fall- out in numbers as a result of RDR requirements because its adviser population is relatively young in comparison with the IFA community.
Head of corporate affairs Richard Pearson says: “From what we can gather, we believe that across Bates, Sage and Burns-Anderson, we enjoy a relatively young population of advisers. As such, we firmly believe that we will not suffer the size of fallout in adviser numbers that has been quoted by some of our peers.”