The current stress on the financial services sector has seen the number of adviser firms featured in the Sunday Times' Fast Track halve over the last 12 months.
The annual Fast Track 100 ranks those UK private companies with the fastest growing sales over the last three years. Growth ranged from 53% a year to 225%, with sales typically between £10m and £50m.
Only six financial services firms made this year's list, of which three were IFAs. Advisory firms were more strongly represented in last year's poll, with double the number of advisers making the cut.
Towry Law, Towergate and SimplyBiz all made the grade in 2008, but only Towergate retained its place from 2007. Last year, Mint Financial, Richmond Group, Enterprise, Oval and Personal Touch were all included.
Michael Clapper, chief executive at mortgage network Enterprise, which was 31st on last year's list, says market conditions have made it "nearly impossible" for financial services firms to prosper.
"Those that have managed it will have a diverse business model," he says. "I'm pretty impressed that these firms have made it onto the list at all. Next year's list will be more interesting because not just financial services will suffer. Car manufacturers are already suffering and we have seen Woolworths in difficulty too."
Private and corporate fee-based adviser firm Towry Law was among the top performing financial services firms, appearing in 17th place in this year's list.
David Middleton, head of strategic marketing, says: "This year has certainly been a tough year for financial companies, but our story has been one of a clear business model and we have applied that to our business.
"Since transforming from a commission-based IFA to a fee-based wealth manager, our business model has led to these results. We feel wealth advice is an interesting market place to be in."
Of the advisory companies appearing on last year's list only private insurance firm Towergate has remained. The Maidstone-based company's acquisitive business strategy has allowed it to move up three places to 56th on the list.IFAonline
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