Half of advisers who have not passed the financial advice exam still intend to stay in the industry with the most-common role as a mentor of new advisers.
In a survey by financial adviser Philippa Hunt and Forte Asset Solutions of 693 respondents, it found many would like to leave the industry but were unable to do so for a variety of reasons.
Reasons for remaining included financial difficulties, being too young to retire, feeling stressed and anxious or having no choice as their business had lost value. Over a third said their business had seen decreased cashflow over the past two years and 30% said they had seen ‘significantly decreased cashflow’.
Three-quarters of respondents classed themselves as a ‘staying adviser’ with just 19% saying they intended to exit and 62% said they intended to stay past-2026 if they completed the relevant qualifications.
However, due to their inability to depart yet, advisers who had not yet passed the exam were considering alternative roles such as bringing in referrals, mentoring new advisers and training roles. Over half (51%) said they would intend to stay in a ‘general advice’ role if they failed the financial advice exam.
Advisers most likely to remain in the industry were male, aged between 41-50 and had been advising clients for 15-19 years.
This was in contrast to widely-reported figures about adviser exits with the number of advisers falling to around 17,000.
The financial adviser exam was cited as one of the highest causes of stress for advisers and respondents identified numerous flaws including ambiguous and irrelevant questions, difficult to pass on the first try and a bad set-up on exam day.
Some 88% of respondents said they had passed first time and they spent 31-60 hours of study in preparation. Just over 10% said they spent over 100 hours studying for the exam, but this rose to 30% for those who had sit multiple times.
Of those respondents yet to pass, 33% had made two attempts and 34% had made three or more attempts with roughly half saying they would have another attempt in 2022.
As to how the exam could be improved, the most popular response was removing confusing questions followed by providing specific feedback on questions.