Apfa: Adviser numbers have fallen to 20,000

Apfa director general Chris Hannant

The number of financial advisers fell to 20,453 following the implementation of the RDR, according to new figures from the Association of Professional Financial Advisers.

Apfa’s March report into adviser numbers showed there was a 10 per cent drop in adviser numbers from 26,339 in 2011 to 23,865 in 2012.

An updated version of the report, which includes FSA figures, shows this number fell to 20,453 as of 1 January.

Adviser numbers have been based on individuals holding the CF30 function that have an FSA primary category “financial adviser”.

The total number of financial advisers across the market has fallen from 44,556 to 31,132 since 2012. This is made up of 20,453 financial advisers, 4,809 bank and building society advisers, 2,043 stockbrokers, 1,435 discretionary investment managers, 2,270 “other firms” and 122 waivers.

Apfa says the numbers reinforce its call for the Financial Conduct Authority to lower adviser fees to reflect the shrink in the adviser population.

Apfa director general Chris Hannant says: “The fall is a significant point, because we want to ensure the FCA takes the fall into account when it calculates future fees for the industry. The new, smaller market cannot be expected to shoulder the same financial burden it did when it was much larger.

“It is vital the amount the FCA asks from advisers is fair and proportionate.”

The FCA set out its plans for regulatory fees and levies for 2013/14 in April. The consultation paper sets the regulator’s budget for the next financial year at £432.1m, of which the industry will pay £391.5m following £40.6m in retained FSA fines.

Firms in the A13 fee block, which covers most advisers, are facing a 15 per cent increase in regulatory fees from £32.8m in 2012/13 to £37.9m in 2013/14.

Under the plans, financial advisers are paying 10 per cent of the FCA’s annual budget. When added to the regulatory bill for advisers who handle client money, mortgage brokers and general brokers, advisers are collectively responsible for 30 per cent of the FCA’s total budget.