Albemarle Street Partners (‘Albemarle’), the boutique investment consultancy and discretionary investment manager, has published its latest adviser-focused research that aims to fuel the debate on ways to better support independent financial advisers.
The findings of this research have resulted in the launch of the ‘Coalition of the Independent’ – a five-step manifesto to address the problems of succession planning, recruitment, regulation, and fees faced by independent financial advisers.
The research draws on an adviser roundtable event hosted by Albemarle in December 2021 and a survey of 49 advisers, of whom most (71.4%) are business owners. It explores the challenges faced by independent advisory firms at a time when much of the sector is engaged in rapid consolidation.
The survey revealed that 59.1% of advisers polled believed the main drawback of a more consolidated sector was a ‘weaker focus on the best interests of clients’, while 28.5% said the main drawback was ‘less individualised financial advice’.
In terms of any benefits consolidation brings, 36.7% thought it would make the sector easier for the regulator to monitor, however, coping with regulatory pressure was the top-ranked issue for adviser firms. Results showed that 32.6% of advisers named this as the most pressing issue and 58.6% ranked it either second or third most important.
The Coalition of the Independent calls for modest, practical steps to make it easier for advisers to continue trading independently. The five-step manifesto includes:
- Action on the cost of borrowing
- Increasing education and awareness of advice as a profession
- Creation of an Independent Academy
- Addressing the cost of compliance
- Encouraging light-touch regulation
The full research, data and five-step manifesto can be downloaded by following this link.
Charlie Parker, Managing Director of Albemarle Street Partners commented: “There is no denying that the independent advice market is highly fragmented, with more than 26,000 FCA-registered advisers in 2019. While it may be easier for the regulator to police a smaller number of larger firms, the cannibalisation of the sector leaves clients with less choice and at the mercy of homogenous financial plans and high fees.
“By coming together with one voice and pushing for change, advisers can shape the future of their profession. We aim here with the Coalition of the Independent research to fuel the debate as we continue to work with our adviser partners to find ways to support their independence and grow their businesses.”