The regulator stated yesterday that it estimates the fall-out to be around 15-20 per cent by 2012.
Speaking to Money Marketing, Waters said: “I do not think anybody knows exactly what the impact will be. We published the market impact analysis and other people have other numbers. I think some of the numbers out there are way, way too high.
“We have come in at somewhere between 15-20 per cent and is all of that down to the RDR? Of course not. We have to be realistic. There are so many things in play here that will affect the number of IFAs by 2012.”
Waters cited the current economic situation and the fact many advisers are nearing retirement. But he added that if the RDR is successful in raising the profile and professionalism of the IFA community then young people should be attracted to the job.
Waters says the workplace assessment should help limit the fall-out caused by the RDR but he insists this alternative is by no means an easy route.
He says: “We have an alternative assessment process. I do underline it is not a soft touch option because we cannot limit who that is offered to.
“Anyone advising now could potentially take advantage of that which means it has got to be equivilent otherwise you are just pretending to raise standards.
“We are trying to be flexible but I do not want people to be under the misapprehension that we are going to look at a couple of their files and say that is alright then.”
Aviva recently suggested that adviser numbers will halve by 2013 although Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews slammed the firm’s forecast claiming it was “far too exaggerated”.