IFAs face a race against time to get in shape for the RDR, with some firms plagued by a mindset of resistance to change, according to transitional planning firm FP Advance.
The company's managing director Steve Billingham says while some firms have successfully transformed their businesses ahead of the RDR, others are yet to adapt and will struggle to do so before 2012.
"Some advisers are sitting around with their heads in the sand and praying the RDR will go away - but they are sadly misguided" he tells IFAonline.
The process of successfully adapting a firm's business model to RDR-readiness takes a minimum of three years - and more realistically five years - according to Billingham.
"The clock is ticking for those IFAs yet to implement the necessary changes," he warns.
The RDR, he says, represents a common-sense set of proposals and those firms willing to embrace its requirements will reap rewards.
"We believe the commercial rationale behind the RDR is as compelling as the regulatory drivers," he says. "The RDR forces advisers to do exactly what we suggest - it is a catalyst for positive change and makes good business sense."
Billingham's company advises IFA firms on changing business models from one reliant on commission to one that helps create recurring revenue streams.
"What IFAs are primarily worried about is how to change business models without seeing a drop in revenue or an exodus of clients," he reveals.
The change to a fee-based system, he says, is part of an evolution to a service-driven model and will result in a better outcome for the consumer.
"Any proper business has to have predictable, consistent cash flows," he says. "If you operate a service-led business then getting paid ongoing fees for an ongoing service makes for predictable cash flows."
Fee-base charging, thinks Billingham, makes the advice itself the product.
He says while some firms are successfully adapting their business models in line with the regulatory changes, others are lagging behind.
Such reluctance to change, coupled with resistance to new qualification requirements, will result in a "significant" drop in the number of advisers, Billingham predicts.
He reveals one large provider is currently planning its forward strategy based on a 30% reduction in its adviser workforce. This, he says, is not an isolated case.
According to Plimsoll, up to 1,000 adviser jobs could be lost this year as firms look to make their businesses more profitable, with other surveys suggesting a far higher number.
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