The looming deadline for implementation of the RDR will have prompted many an adviser to question his or her choice of profession.
In weighing up the pros and cons perhaps they even went so far as to compile a list of the reasons for staying in the advice market and the reasons for packing up and leaving, I imagine at the moment the latter would be the considerably longer list.
On that list I would expect to see the usual suspects of increased capital adequacy requirements, squeezed income streams and a heavy regulatory burden, but also lurking mid-table I wouldn't be surprised to find the often unrealistic expectations placed by the regulator on advisers.
I'm referring in particular to a recent study which highlighted just what advisers have to contend with when trying to engage consumers in their own finances.
The study was conducted by a company called Brandspeak and looked at what level of responsibility consumers are prepared to take on when buying a financial product. The answer? Not a lot.
Worryingly, half of the 2,000 adults polled confessed to having signed a form saying they had read and understood the key facts about their purchase when they had either not understood or had not even bothered to read the thing.
The research also revealed that, of the respondents who had either not read or understood the relevant product literature, 22% said it didn't seem important. And yet we, the advisers, still have to carry the can.
Revelations such as these make it hard sometimes to muster the energy to even start a list of the benefits of being a financial adviser. But to my mind there are still many and they far outweigh the cons.
However, for those advisers for whom exiting the market is the plausible option left open to them, a word of advice: do not leave planning your exit strategy to the last minute.
As the 2012 deadline approaches there will be a glut of firms coming onto the market, driving down prices - good news for acquisitive firms such as my own, but for those advisers looking to get the best price for their client bank it compounds an already dire situation by inadvertently devaluing the business still further.
From the buyer's perspective, the seller who is seen to be factoring in a decent handover period can make all the difference to how they value the prospective client bank -the more rushed the handover the less likely the old adviser's clients are to stick around.
Best case scenario you devote two years to it, at a stretch an absolute minimum of six months - any less and the clients walk and they take with them any hope of being paid an accurate and fair sum for the business.
For those practice owners for whom the cons list outstrips the pros the message is simple but stark: act now or risk compromising the value of your business.
Sheriar Bradbury is managing director of Bradbury Hamilton
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