“Today’s figures show that those looking for financial advice still have plenty of options open to them," said Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA. "What’s more, by establishing standards across the industry we are helping to build confidence by reassuring consumers and raising the profile of the advisor profession,”
In late June, Canadian advisor association Advocis noted that some reports had suggested that the UK had lost 25% of its advisor distribution network and that as much as 80% of UK consumers were no longer able to access financial advice.
The UK rules, which came into force on 31 December 2012, required retail investment advisors to attain a higher standard of qualification, adhere to ethical standards and carry out continuing professional development. Advisors were required to obtain independent verification that they are meeting the standards in the form of a statement of professional standing from one of eight accredited bodies.
Six months since the introduction of the new rules, 97% of advisors have the appropriate level of qualification, the FCA said, with the final 3% being recent entrants who are still studying within the time frame permitted by the rules. This stands in contrast to 2010 when less than half of all advisors were qualified to today’s standard, it added.