The outlook for the financial services sector is seen to be improving as a consequence of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), but most advisers report protection sales continue to lag following its introduction.
Research carried out by NMG Consulting has found that 8% of 100 advisers polled have seen an increase in protection business since the introduction of the RDR while 86% said the new rules had had no impact on the amount of business written.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) ruled that protection fell outside of the scope of RDR but there were forecasts that IFAs would choose to increase their focus on protection sales post-RDR.
Skandia said its decision to enter the critical illness space towards the beginning of 2013 was in anticipation of advisers opting to "re-prioritise" protection, post-RDR.
The RDR has had a muted impact on protection business but advisers' perception of the rule changes has become steadily more positive over the past year.
A total of 86% of financial advisers are more confident of the prospects for their firm compared to a year ago and 71% have a more optimistic outlook for the wider financial services industry.
The poll found that 38% of advisers were positive on RDR at its point of introduction but this proportion had risen to 60% by the end of 2013.
Sesame Bankhall Group managing director Stephen Gazard said: "The financial advisory community has been through considerable change in recent years, but this research reinforces our view that confidence within the profession is growing.
"The fact that, according to our survey, only a small percentage of clients reacted negatively to the RDR will have provided advisers with a much needed boost.
"Many firms have been investing considerable time and energy in their businesses and it is good to see this hard work being reflected in a more positive outlook. Many advisory firms are now more robust and sustainable, which bodes well for the future."
The results of the survey suggested only 5% of advisers said that clients expressed a negative reaction to the introduction of the RDR.
‘Important to have an anchor’
Report to be written by TPR
Lack of innovation for solutions
Some 2,000 consumers affected