Adviser numbers in line with expectations

Published: 15/08/2013     Last Modified: 15/08/2013

Figures released today by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have revealed that in July 2013 there were 32,690 retail investment advisers working in the UK. This is within the range1 predicted by independent researchers commissioned by the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, in 2012.

The number of advisers has risen from 31,132 since December 2012, the last time the numbers were officially counted. The FCA believes the increase is attributable to advisers re-entering the market.

One of the objectives of the FCA is to ensure that consumers are adequately protected and people have confidence in the integrity of the financial system. The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) set out to do this with new rules on investment advice, which set standards of professionalism to inspire consumer confidence and build trust.

The rules, which came into force on 31st December 2012, required retail investment advisers to attain a higher standard of qualification, adhere to ethical standards and carry out continuing professional development. Advisers need independent verification that they are meeting the standards in the form of a Statement of Professional Standing from one of eight accredited bodies.

Six months after the introduction of the new rules, 97 per cent of advisers have the appropriate level of qualification, with the final three per cent recent entrants who are still studying within the timescales permitted by the rules. This stands in contrast to 2010 when less than half of all advisers were qualified to today’s standard.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said of the latest figures:

“Today’s figures show that those looking for financial advice still have plenty of options open to them. What’s more, by establishing standards across the industry we are helping to build confidence by reassuring consumers and raising the profile of the adviser profession.”

The FCA is also today publishing the full research by RS Consulting into the intentions of financial advisers ahead of the introduction of RDR; the research was commissioned by the FCA’s predecessor, the FSA, and is dated April, 2013. The full report includes predictions on advisor numbers.

Table 1: Adviser numbers as of 31.07.13

 

Fully Qualified

Partly Qualified

Total

Financial Adviser

21,258

426

21,684

Bank and Building Society

4,311

293

4,604

Stockbroker

2,212

56

2,267

Discretionary Investment manager

1,752

32

1,784

Top 4 categories TOTAL

29,533

807

30,340

Other

2,156

68

2,221

Waivers

   

129

Total

31,689

875

32,690

Top 4 categories as % of total

93%

92%

93%

 

Table 2: Adviser numbers (estimated 2012 and actual end 2012 and 2013)

 

Estimate in summer 2012

Actual 31.12.12

Actual 31.07.13

Source

RS Consulting

FSA

FCA

Financial Advisers

23,787

20,453

21,684

Banks and Building Societies

6,655

4,810

4,604

Stockbrokers

1,202

2,043

2,267

Discretionary Investment Managers

875

1,435

1,784

Other

2,554

2,269

2,221

Waivers

N/A

122

129

Total advisers

35,073

31,132

32,690

 

1  Please note that the research estimated a minimum of 31,284 and maximum 32,744 advisers but does not try to take account of new entrants. The estimates are based on predictions from advisers operating in 2012 when asked what they would do after 31 December 2012.

Notes for editors

  1. Read the RS Consulting research on adviser numbers, undertaken in summer 2012: Research and technical report.
  2. On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  3. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  4. Find out more information about the FCA, as well as how it is different to the PRA.

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