Nick Cann, the chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), says the FSA knows it will be forced to delay the implementation of the RDR, but can not publicly admit it.
Cann says there are too many advisers who will struggle to reach QCA Level 4, a minimum qualification requirement central to the review, by the current deadline of 31 December 2012.
He argues the slow progress will see too many advisers pushed out of the industry in one fell swoop, forcing the regulator to delay its plans.
"There are around 85,000 individuals who will need to get to Level 4, including stock brokers and bankers," Cann says.
"Publicly the FSA will be committed to the RDR timetable, but it will be keeping checks on their progress to see if they are sticking to the deadlines."
Cann's comments follow widespread opinion the FSA will be forced to back-date its plans for the future of the financial planning sector.
In February, the Association of IFAs (AIFA) said it had held high level discussions with the regulator about extending the RDR deadline for at least a year.
It said it held several meetings with the FSA arguing the combined pressures of the RDR, fresh capital adequacy requirements and the recession would "drive good firms out of business".
But the regulator said it remained committed to its current timescale, which demands all RDR recommendations are met by the end of 2012.
"The RDR must be about consumers being better off," AIFA director general Chris Cummings told Professional Adviser, IFAonline's print title. "That is far more important than any arbitrary deadline."
The FSA is set to publish the formal consultation and draft rules for the RDR next month.
Tracking real performance
Diversified return team
The equivalent of £1.7m every day
Janus Henderson Global Dividend index