The number of advising staff working in financial advice firms fell 9% last year, according to figures put together for the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA).
There were 23,865 advising staff last year, down from 26,339 in 2011 and 27,080 in 2009, APFA said after analysing data from the Financial Services Authority and research carried out by NMG Consulting.
The average number of advising staff per firm has also fallen, down from 5.06 in 2009 to 4.66 last year. Last year's figure also represents a fall from 5.13 in 2011.
However, the total number of financial advice firms registered with the FSA as at 30 September 2012 was up, rising to just over 14,000, an increase of 3% since September 2011.
The consolidated revenue generated from regulated retail investment business by financial advisers has also risen over the last five years, up from £1.69bn in 2009 to £2.15bn in 2012, though this is slightly lower than the 2011 figure.
Average revenue figures for retail investment business per firm has risen from about £316,303 in 2009 to £420,172 in last year, and is up from £419,616 in 2011.
Average revenue figures per adviser have also risen during the five year period from £62,513 in 2009 to £90,197 last year. The figure for 2012 is also an improvement on 2011, which was £81,808.
The split between directly authorised firms and appointed representatives, at 36% to 64%, has remained largely unchanged over the last five years.
The vast majority - 80% - of directly authorised financial advice firms operate with limited liability (as either a limited company or a Limited Liability Partnership - LLP).
This percentage has increased slightly over the last five years, by approximately 5%, but nevertheless 20% of directly authorised firms are still operating with unlimited liability as sole traders or partnerships.
Immediately prior to the implementation of Retail Distribution Review, NMG's Financial Adviser Census gathered data from advisers about their business models.
The NMG survey showed that two thirds, 65%, of advisers' income is generated by OEICS/ISAs and pensions - including annuities and drawdowns, with protection generating 17% and mortgages 7%.
However pensions, which represent 55% of sales volumes according to the NMG survey, generate only 23% of income.
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