In sharp contract with last year, when 51% of respondents expected the number of financial advisers to fall, this year’s survey found that 38% expect that number to rise.
Part of the reason for the turnaround is increased confidence in recommending financial advice as a career.
Around seven in 10 of those surveyed said they would urge others to start a career in financial advice.
Lack of new blood
Despite the optimism, advisers are concerned about where the new recruits will come from. Nearly a third say that not enough is being done to encourage people into the profession.
Advisers believe that financial adviser trade bodies and providers bear the most responsibility for attracting new recruits, with 83% of respondents wanting co-ordinated action to encourage more people into the sector.
Over two-thirds of advisers say providers should invest in more apprenticeship schemes in the short-term.
In the longer term, 74% say schools and universities should do more to promote financial advice as a career choice, while 58% of those questioned say the government should consider supporting and sponsoring a campaign to recruit more financial advisers.
Prudential is partnering with the Personal Finance Society (PFS) on Aspire, the professional body’s financial adviser development programme, which is designed to bring fresh talent to the advice market.
Keith Richards, PFS chief executive, said: “It’s encouraging to see that advisers are increasingly optimistic about the future growth of their profession, supported of course by evident consumer demand and the growing recognition by government and policy makers of the key role that financial planning has to play in society.
“We need to support this growing demand and the need for succession planning through attracting and developing new talent which is vital to the ongoing success of the profession.
“The Personal Finance Society’s recently-launched Aspire programme, which Prudential is supporting, offers wide-ranging assistance to employers of aspiring personal finance professionals to help them achieve the necessary qualifications and skills required to support the public.”
Consumer demand boosts optimism
Paul Harrison, head of Prudential’s Business Consultancy for advisers, said: “Consumer demand for financial advice is increasing and this is reflected in the dramatic turnaround in advisers’ expectations over the past year, with evidence of increased optimism about the growth of the profession and recruitment levels in the next 12 months and beyond.”