Only a quarter of firms forecast a shift to fee-only remuneration will benefit consumers, a wide-ranging study suggests.
Just 26% of more than 4,000 businesses surveyed by the Financial Services Practitioner Panel believe the move away from commission and toward fees will be attractive to clients not used to paying advisers upfront for their services.
Most firms expressed a "generally held view" the move would disenfranchise the less wealthy from advice.
"I cannot quite see how people who are not used to paying upfront for advice - they will have paid through a commission which perhaps looks invisible - will react to us giving them a bill for say £250," said one adviser quoted in the report.
Furthermore, of the 5% of firms planning to leave the industry because of RDR, 28% cited the move to fees as the main reason. Three in ten firms (31%) cited examination requirements, whilst 30% said they were nearing retirement.
Other firms blamed what they considered 'excessive' or 'poor' regulation, while some questioned the timing of the RDR on the back of the economic downturn.
"After a two year struggle with the credit crunch, all of the above is too much, too risky, so we are getting out whilst we have the opportunity," said one respondent.
The study also suggests support for RDR has dived since 2008.
Whereas nearly 60% of retail firms said the Review was a "welcome initiative" in 2008, this figure plunged to 44% in 2010.
"Between the 2008 and 2010 surveys, the RDR had moved on considerably," it says.
"As the RDR reaches the implementation stages, firms have become more aware of the implications of the initiative and it has become more real for firms.
"This is reflected in changes in firms' perceptions of the initiative."
Despite improved risk appetite
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