At PIMFA we cover the Financial Advice and Wealth Management arena in the UK. This community of financial expertise in the UK is forever changing and the research we produce and the data we collate will represent this, we want to inform and educate you as to the current trends and to the more traditional facets of advising on and managing assets. This section will give a brief overview, and the members section will give greater detail, on how this world is changing and how you can adapt or focus your best efforts in a timely and efficient manner to take advantage of opportunities that arise.
The Financial Adviser Market:
The seventh in PIMFA’s series of annual reports on “The Financial Adviser Market: In Numbers”, describing the size and nature of the advice sector, shows a vibrant industry coping well against a backdrop of increased regulation and market volatility.
Conservative estimates of AUM for the Financial Advice and Wealth Management sectors stand at approximately £272Bn and £942Bn respectively. Whilst the slight contraction in the overall number of firms continues, there has been an increase in the number of advisers per firm – up to just under 5, showing an improvement in client service. Revenue is up by a significant 14% on 2017, pre-tax profits jumped by 25% to £872 M, the most significant rise since 2010, and retained profits are up by over £70 M to £303 M, with overall sector margins averaging 17%.
As to industry sentiment, whilst many consider the current regulatory burden as excessive, there is a feeling that regulators should “get more involved in the industry”, particularly where this relates to the continual and unacceptable increases in the FSCS levy, enforcement action against those who cause reputational damage to the industry and that regulation should be tailored for smaller firms too.
Overall, there is a desire to serve clients better through the removal of excessive administration, plus a streamlining of regulatory and compliance requirements, which PIMFA expects to take shape over the coming months as we prepare for our departure from the EU.
The following excerpt is partly taken from ComPeer’s Q4 2020 update of the UK Wealth Management Industry report
Given the events of 2020, most industries would be very content with simply surviving the year. That is far from the case for the UK Wealth Management Industry. The results have been quite exceptional for this industry! Despite everything thrown at it, including vastly volatile markets and an overnight radical change to working culture (working from home with no physical meetings), it has once again entered the record books.
Although assets tumbled in the first quarter, three consecutive quarters of growth after this more than made up for it, finishing the year over £1.1 trillion – 7% higher than the end of 2019.
A major story was the rise and rise once again of trade volumes. A staggering 48 million trades were transacted in 2020, with 36 million from XO Stockbrokers. To put this into context, the previous record for a year was 28 million (for the whole industry). Clearly investors have not been put off by the pandemic, and many have sought quick gains from the volatile markets.
Strong levels of assets and never-before seen trade volumes have translated into excellent revenue levels. Based on Compeer’s quarterly participants, it is expected to be another record.
There remains a major issue with the sector – controlling costs and being scalable. These continue to rise, denting any improvements in profit margins. However, given the environment the industry has faced in 2020, keeping margins flat is still a commendable result.
Key Statistics on the UK Wealth Management and Financial Adviser Market
Same Quarter in Previous Years
Investment Assets (£billion)
Client Trades* (000s)
Retail Market Bargains (000s)
Total Revenues (£million)
FTSE UK Private Investor Balanced
(FAMIN Report 2019)
Latest No of Financial Adviser Firms
Basically no real change here
Consolidated Revenue (for all Regulated business)
A strong revenue increase for firms
A bigger increase than last year
There was some tracking back to prior higher levels of Retained Earnings last year, but still this year has ramped up well
Double figure rise in pre-tax margins, fairly significant increase mainly due to the size of the pre-tax profits this year rather than the revenue factor
* participating firms only
 Investment Assets and Revenue are for the total market, based on extrapolated quarterly survey participant data. Participants account for over 60% of total market assets and 65% of total market revenue. Client trades represent participating firms only. Retail market bargains are for UK Retail Stockbrokers.
With thanks to ComPeer limited: www.compeer.co.uk