Big firms don’t offer Independent Financial Advice.


Article by Phil

According to Autus only 11% of financial advice firms provide holistic independent financial advice.

Autus looked at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) directory of authorisations on its website. Specifically, they looked at firms who have permission to advise on investments, pensions, protection and mortgages to determine which offered holistic advice.

We are one of those holistic firms, who are also offer independent financial advice. It’s clear from the research that there are less and less firms like ours who can offer the full range of financial advice. Especially when you factor in our ability to provide specialist advice on defined benefit pension transfers.

But which financial advice firms are the biggest (by number of advisers)? According to the report, the top five are:

  1. St James Place with almost 5,000 advisers
  2. Openwork with just over 3,000 then a fall to
  3. Quilter with 1,200
  4. True Potential with 1,000 and then
  5. Brewer Dolphin with 475

So, the biggest firm St James Place is ten times bigger than the fifth biggest. Even though they lost over £5 billion in assets under management last year.  That’s quite a gap. Especially since St James Place is not an independent financial advice firm and only places clients into its own funds. Which means it’s a restricted advice firm.

In the mortgage market, the numbers are less polarised. The top 5 mortgage advice firms are:

  1. Mortgage Advice Bureau with 2,375
  2. First Complete with 1,366
  3. Quilter Mortgage Planning have 1,248, then
  4. Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions with 1,148 and with just under 1,000 advisers
  5. HL Partnership with 941

Overall, the number of advisers in the market has increased slightly over the last year to 227,000.



Research by A J Bell suggests that only 7% of advice firms intend to offer advice on ISAs under the new Core proposals. The FCA has asked for consultation from firms about the possibility of a hybrid advice scheme to encourage more savers to invest in ISA’s. There are 4 million ISA customers in the UK holding excess cash. The FCA’s idea is to allow firms to offer ISA advice without being held to the current regulatory and professional standards. The costs charged by firms will also be lower. The FCA is suggesting £100 – £200. This means that the proposals are only likely to be attractive to larger firms (or Banks) who could process ISAs at low cost and with “less” qualified staff. This is reflected in the potentially small number of firms who are interested in the proposals.

Independent Financial Advice

Christina Clegg Financial Services explains the benefits of using an Independent Financial Adviser.

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