Tenet advisers are still unsure about the Financial Services Authority's (FSA's) definition of independent and restricted, according to its group distribution development director.
At a roadshow held by the group last month, an initial straw poll showed only 56% of advisers thought they would meet the demands of independent status, Keith Richards said.
However, after fully explaining the rules governing independence and asking delegates to vote again, 90% said they would remain independent.
This in part explains the popularity of exploring running a split proposition, which Richards called "an intuitive reaction", though unfeasible for smaller firms.
"What most people can't articulate is what that means in terms of operation," he said.
"Could they articulate the benefits? They can't but it feels sensible. Once they clearly define their proposition, the vast majority will go into one or the other."
The risk of increasing regulatory costs was causing advisers "sleepless nights", Richards said - though restricted advisers were under just as much pressure over professional indemnity insurance (PII) fee increases.
"PII is based on past claims," he said. "If you go to a broker and say is it possible that it could be more expensive to be independent rather than restricted, the obvious answer is probably. It's like asking if a bigger car is more expensive to insure than a smaller car."
"But what if the smaller car was a sports car and the bigger car was a family car? You could have a restricted adviser who would pay more. Where the myths come at the moment is people assuming independent is more challenging."
Tenet has looked at several takeover opportunities in the last year, Richards said, though the chances of a large acquisition were reducing as the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) comes nearer.
"The chances of an acquisition are reducing all the time, unless one of our competitors is on a fire sale. We have in the past had the FSA talk to us about whether we would step in, because the FSA don't want to see firms fail.
"It's sensible risk mitigation. It does them no favours to see them fail, even though they were part of the problem."
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