Financial adviser numbers are continuing to rise, albeit marginally, since the introduction of new rules following the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), according to the most recent figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The number of those recorded as 'financial advisers' by the regulator, which excludes those working in banks or building societies, stockbrokers or discretionary investment managers, was 21,881 on 10 January this year.
This is up almost 1% on the 21,684 recorded at the end of July last year, and 7% on the 20,453 listed at the time of the introduction of RDR on 31 December 2012.
However, financial adviser numbers are still markedly down - by 8% - on the 23,787 estimate provided by RS Consulting in the summer of 2012.
The total number of advisers, including those working in banks or at stockbrokers, is also down since July last year.
As at 10 January 2014, there were 31,220 practicing advisers, down 4.5% on the 32,690 recorded last summer. The FCA said this was due to the fall in numbers at banks and building societies. Since July 2012, that fall is 11%.
The decline in the number of bank or building society numbers is huge: there were 3,556 advisers at 10 January, against 4,604 at the end of July 2013.
The FCA said 97% of advisers are qualified to the minimum standards - QCF Level 4 - as set out as part of the RDR. But it said this figure had remained static since July.
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