One in seven IFAs intends to leave the industry as a result of the RDR, research by J.P. Morgan Asset Management suggests.
An online poll of 567 advisers found 84% intend to remain independent while 14% plan on closing their business. Just 2% expect to become tied advisers.
IFAs have until December 2012 to sit the necessary exams, meet qualification standards and update their remuneration models under the proposed regulations. However, JPMAM says some advisers clearly feel they are either not equipped or prepared to meet the stipulations.
Head of retail distribution Jasper Berens warns IFAs wishing to exit need to act now to realise the value of their businesses.
"Adviser numbers will undoubtedly fall post-RDR and this will have a knock on effect on both the remaining advisers and investors", Berens says.
"In the short term those advisers planning on leaving the industry need to the think about the best time to exit the business.
"It is a tough market in which to sell your business at present but advisers should not be fooled into thinking that valuations will go up in the next few years.
"In fact, in the rush to sell before 2012 the market could become flooded."
The results represent a significant drop from earlier predictions of RDR's effect on adviser numbers.
At the end of last year, TISA director, portfolio and retirement planning, Malcolm Small suggested up to 40% of IFAs could leave the industry, while a recent report by Ernst & Young predicted the IFA sector would contract by 25% by 2013.
They join the technical teams
'It's about outcomes'
New technology categories
'Significant impact on bottom line'