Nearly 650 advisers were granted a discretionary investment permission in the past five years, according to FCA data.
A Freedom of Information Act request by Fund Strategy sister title Money Marketing has revealed that 645 advisers who still hold advising permissions are now also allowed to manage investments.
Those firms can manage authorised and unauthorised alternative investment funds, as well as Ucits funds.
Fewer firms looked to gain advice permission compared to the advisers looking to move towards discretionary business.
Over the same period the FCA received 475 new authorisations for advisory permissions, refusing just two.
The FCA notes firms are allowed to have various permissions at the same time, and those that wanted to change or add to their regulated activities could apply for a ‘variation of permission’.
In a survey of 120 readers on the Money Marketing website in August, 43 per cent said advisers should have discretionary permissions, 40 per cent said they should not, and 17 per cent remained undecided.
Many discretionary managers have reported increased inflows and portfolio sizes in recent years.
Platforum research last month showed that around 16 per cent of advice firms had discretionary permissions. These tended to be larger firms.