United Kingdom (UK) Financial Advisors Market Overview by Financial Advice Firms, Opportunities and Threats, 2023 Update

Powered by

All the vital news, analysis, and commentary curated by our industry experts.

United Kingdom (UK) Financial Advisors Market Report Overview

The financial advisory market in the UK has performed strongly post the COVID-19 pandemic, with average revenues and profits increasing. The market composition is steadily changing amid a wave of consolidation due to ready sellers and willing buyers. Single advisor firms still dominate the market, but there has been a steady growth in the number of medium-sized firms as well. Key financial advisor concerns have changed over the last 12 months, with inflation coming to the fore. In addition, many financial advisors are finding the regulatory burden an ongoing challenge. An increased focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing is the key opportunity in the market besides exploring new business models.

The United Kingdom (UK) Financial Advisors market research report discusses the key trends shaping the UK market for financial and investment advice over the course of 2022. It covers the size and growth of the financial advice market in the UK (including profitability), merger and acquisition activity, as well as the key threats and opportunities cited by advisors.

UK Financial Advisors Market Critical Success Factors

Determine your regulation strategy: There is a considerable wave of regulations for financial advisors in the coming years. For instance, 2023 and 2024 will be dominated by the new Consumer Duty rules, which have far-reaching implications for advisors as the FCA moves to a more outcome-based approach, rather than the traditional rules-based approach. There will also be changes related to the Consumer Investments Strategy and ESG investing, among others.

Embrace the opportunities offered by new business models: The quality of financial advice may have improved since the FCA’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR), but the advice gap remains a persistent issue. Automated advice offerings have helped to an extent, but there is a lot of ground between robo offerings and full financial advice. The FCA is encouraging innovation in terms of developing new models and charging structures. Many providers are looking at the possibilities offered by hybrid advice, focused, or simplified advice, and financial coaching.

Consider how to target the next generation of clients: Currently, financial advisors’ clients are typically older, affluent individuals but companies need to consider how they will retain the business of the next generation. Intergenerational wealth transfer is about much more than providing inheritance tax and estate planning services to current clients. It is also about starting to build relationships with inheritors. This is particularly important given the wider competitive environment, with more banks, platforms, and investment managers targeting the financial advice space directly.

UK Financial Advisors Market Opportunities

There were some notable changes between 2021 and 2022 in the business opportunities identified by financial advisors. Topping the list for the first time was the increased focus on ESG investing, followed by a potential financial market downturn and the UK’s aging population. Intergenerational wealth transfer and social care funding featured much more strongly in 2022. Financial advice should look to the sustainability of their own operations and how they build ESG considerations into their business. For customers who are very focused on ESG, the behavior of the providers they work with will be a key consideration.

UK Financial Advisors Market Drivers

The key drivers for seeking financial advisors in the UK are retirement, starting or exiting a business, concerns about legacy and inheritance, buying a home, change in job circumstances, and being left an inheritance, among others. Retirement was the primary driver that prompted clients to approach financial advisors in both 2021 and 2022 as it is one of the most complex life stages in terms of financial planning and decision-making with many options for individuals to consider. The second key reason for seeking advice is starting or exiting a business which involves a host of personal financial considerations such as managing any lump sums received and tax advice. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the tough macroeconomic situation has brought about notable changes in the UK business population.

UK Financial Advisors Market Analysis by Drivers, 2022 (%)

UK Financial Advisors Market Analysis by Drivers, 2022 (%)

For more insights on the UK financial advisors market drivers, download a free report sample

UK Financial Advisors Market Segmentation by Channels

Some of the key channels preferred by the UK financial advisors market are independent financial advisors, investment management companies (platform only), advisors at the client’s main bank, investment management company, and investment platform at client’s main bank. IFAs are the go-to channel for those who hold investments. The key draws of IFAs are their wide range of services beyond investments, as well as the breadth of their investment offering. They can provide a full-service offering that takes investors’ whole financial situation into consideration and can cater to any additional needs, such as retirement income and tax planning.

UK Financial Advisors Market Analysis by Channels, 2022 (%)

UK Financial Advisors Market Analysis by Channels, 2022 (%)

For more insights on the UK financial advisors market preferred channels, download a free report sample

UK Financial Advisors Market - Competitive Landscape

The leading players in the UK financial advisors market are HSBC, Santander, NatWest, Barclays, Raymond James, Brewin Dolphin, and M&G Wealth.

UK Financial Advisors Market Report Overview

Key Market Drivers Retirement, Starting or Exiting a Business, Concerns about Legacy and Inheritance, Buying A Home, Change in Job Circumstances, and Being Left an Inheritance
Key Channels Independent Financial Advisors, Investment Management Companies (Platform Only), Advisors at Client’s Main Bank, Investment Management Company, and Investment Platform at Client’s Main Bank
Leading Players HSBC, Santander, NatWest, Barclays, Raymond James, Brewin Dolphin, and M&G Wealth

Segments Covered in the Report

UK Financial Advisors Market Channels Outlook (2022)

  • Independent Financial Advisors
  • Investment Management Companies (Platform Only)
  • Advisors at Client’s Main Bank
  • Investment Management Company
  • Investment Platform at Client’s Main Bank

Reasons to Buy

  • Understand the latest data on the size and composition of the UK financial advice market.
  • Find out about the latest M&A deals in the consolidating financial advice space.
  • Learn who uses financial advisors and what their motivations are for doing so.
  • Discover what financial advisors consider to be the main opportunities and threats for their business.
  • Understand the current regulatory challenges facing financial advisors.
  • Learn more about the growing competitive threat from banks, investment managers, and DIY platforms.
  • Uncover the opportunities offered by ESG investing and new business models.

Raymond James
Brewin Dolphin
M&G Wealth

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 1.1 Market overview
  • 1.2 Key findings
  • 1.3 Critical success factors
  • 2. Market Overview: Financial Advice Firms
  • 2.1 The number of advice firms declined by

    0.4% in 2021

    • 2.1.1 The number of financial advice firms is down, while financial advisor numbers are up
    • 2.1.2 Single advisor firms continue to dominate
    • 2.1.3 The majority of firms are classified as independent

  • 2.2 Consolidation is changing the structure of the market

    • 2.2.1 2022 merger and acquisition activity surpassed 2021
    • 2.2.2 Willing sellers and private equity-backed buyers will fuel further consolidation

  • 2.3 Average revenues and profits grew in 2021

    • 2.3.1 Revenue growth was strongest among mid-sized players
    • 2.3.2 Average profits recovered to record strong growth
    • 2.3.3 Control of the cost line will be challenging over 2022–23

  • 3. Financial Advisors and their Customers
  • 3.1 The financial advice industry remains focused on retirement

    • 3.1.1 Retirement and starting or exiting a business are the top two reasons individuals seek advice from a financial advisor
    • 3.1.2 From a product perspective, IFAs are the preferred channel for investments

  • 3.2 However, financial advice is only reaching a small proportion of consumers

    • 3.2.1 Most pension pots are withdrawn without advice or guidance
    • 3.2.2 The limited investment culture in the UK also means that financial advisors are the preserve of the few

  • 3.3 Financial advisors’ typical client base constitutes older, affluent individuals

    • 3.3.1 The affluent account for over two thirds of financial advisors’ AUA
    • 3.3.2 The use of IFAs also increases in line with age, making older millennials a key potential target market

  • 4. Opportunities For and Threats to Financial Advisors
  • 4.1 Threats: Inflation, a financial market downturn, and the regulatory burden are the key concerns of advisors

    • 4.1.1 The concerns of financial advisors changed between 2021 and 2022

  • 4.2 Rising inflation has created various challenges

    • 4.2.1 The cost of doing business has risen significantly
    • 4.2.2 Clients will need guidance on protecting their assets from inflation

  • 4.3 Financial market downturn: Threat or opportunity?
  • 4.4 Regulation: Consumer Duty is the key focus for 2023, but there is other regulatory activity to be aware of

    • 4.4.1 Consumer Duty: Improving consumer protection in retail financial markets
    • 4.4.2 Consumer Duty has implications across an advisor’s entire business
    • 4.4.3 Consumer Investments Strategy: Wide-ranging reforms with direct implications for financial advisors
    • 4.4.4 A new core investment advice regime has been proposed to discourage excess cash holdings

  • 4.5 Competition from banks and investment managers is increasing

    • 4.5.1 Investment managers and platforms are also targeting investors directly

  • 4.6 Opportunities: ESG investing, a financial market downturn, and the aging population top the list

    • 4.6.1 Intergenerational wealth transfer recorded a notable increase

  • 4.7 ESG investing is considered the number one opportunity by financial advisors
  • 4.8 The aging population and intergenerational wealth transfer bring new opportunities for financial advisors

    • 4.8.1 Growth in the over 65 population will increase the size of a core target market
    • 4.8.2 ‘The Great Wealth Transfer’ means intergenerational wealth transfer is an increasingly important theme for financial advisors

  • 4.9 The emergence of new business models

    • 4.9.1 Hybrid advice models provide a halfway house between full and automated services
    • 4.9.2 Focused or simplified advice offers a means to target consumers with one-off services
    • 4.9.3 Financial and investment coaching is a growing niche
    • 4.9.4 Fixed-fee models are providing a new approach for full advice services

  • 5. Appendix
  • 5.1 Abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms
  • 5.2 Definitions

    • 5.2.1 Defined benefit pension
    • 5.2.2 Defined contribution pension
    • 5.2.3 Emerging affluent
    • 5.2.4 HNW
    • 5.2.5 IFA
    • 5.2.6 Liquid assets
    • 5.2.7 Mass affluent
    • 5.2.8 Mass market
    • 5.2.9 Restricted advisor

  • 5.3 Methodology

    • 5.3.1 GlobalData’s UK IFA Survey

  • 5.4 Secondary sources
  • 5.5 Further reading
  • 6. About GlobalData


Table 1: Selected financial advisor acquisitions 2022, part one of five

Table 2: Examples of private equity-backed financial advice firms

Table 3: Average revenues of financial advice firms, 2017-21

Table 4: Average pre-tax profit of financial advice firms, 2017-21


Figure 1: The number of financial advice firms fell, while financial advisor numbers increased in 2021

Figure 2: The number of mid-sized firms recovered in 2021

Figure 3: Restricted and dual status firms represent just over 10% of the market

Figure 4: The number of ongoing clients at financial advice firms continued to grow in 2021

Figure 5: Retirement remains the number one driver for seeking advice from a financial advisor

Figure 6: IFAs are the preferred channel for arranging investments

Figure 7: The breadth of services offered by IFAs is a key draw

Figure 8: The majority of pension pots are withdrawn without advice or guidance

Figure 9: Traditional banks and building societies remain the first port of call for those opening new investments

Figure 10: Mass affluent and HNW clients account for the majority of financial advisors’ AUA

Figure 11: Investment holding is strongest among mass affluent individuals

Figure 12: The use of IFAs for investment advice increases with age

Figure 13: Over a third of financial advisors view a potential financial market downturn as their key threat

Figure 14: Inflation peaked at 11.1% in October 2022

Figure 15: The FTSE 100 recorded a strong finish to 2022

Figure 16: Examples of UK banks’ robo-advice services

Figure 17: M&G Wealth’s key milestones

Figure 18: 27% of financial advisors consider the increased focus on ESG investing a key opportunity

Figure 19: The over-65 population is projected to increase year-on-year through to 2033

Figure 20: Delineating between different financial advice and coaching models

Frequently asked questions

United Kingdom (UK) Financial Advisors Market Overview by Financial Advice Firms, Opportunities and Threats, 2023 Update thematic reports
Currency USD

Can be used by individual purchaser only


Can be shared globally by unlimited users within the purchasing corporation e.g. all employees of a single company

Undecided about purchasing this report?

Enquire Before Buying Request a Free Sample

Get in touch to find out about multi-purchase discounts

Tel +44 20 7947 2745

Every customer’s requirement is unique. With over 220,000 construction projects tracked, we can create a tailored dataset for you based on the types of projects you are looking for. Please get in touch with your specific requirements and we can send you a quote.

Sample Report

United Kingdom (UK) Financial Advisors Market Overview by Financial Advice Firms, Opportunities and Threats, 2023 Update was curated by the best experts in the industry and we are confident about its unique quality. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer free sample pages to help you:

  • Assess the relevance of the report
  • Evaluate the quality of the report
  • Justify the cost

Download your copy of the sample report and make an informed decision about whether the full report will provide you with the insights and information you need.

Below is a sample report to understand what you are buying

See what our customers are saying

“The GlobalData platform is our go-to tool for intelligence services. GlobalData provides an easy way to access comprehensive intelligence data around multiple sectors, which essentially makes it a one-for-all intelligence platform, for tendering and approaching customers.

GlobalData is very customer orientated, with a high degree of personalised services, which benefits everyday use. The highly detailed project intelligence and forecast reports can be utilised across multiple departments and workflow scopes, from operational to strategic level, and often support strategic decisions. GlobalData Analytics and visualisation solutions has contributed positively when preparing management presentations and strategic papers.”

Business Intelligence & Marketing Manager, SAL Heavy Lift

“COVID-19 has caused significant interference to our business and the COVID-19 intelligence from GlobalData has helped us reach better decisions around strategy. These two highlights have helped enormously to understand the projections into the future concerning our business units, we also utilise the project database to source new projects for Liebherr-Werk to use as an additional source to pitch for new business.”

Market Analyst & Management, Liebherr-Werk

Your daily news has saved me a lot of time and keeps me up-to-date with what is happening in the market, I like that you almost always have a link to the source origin. We also use your market data in our Strategic Business Process to support our business decisions. By having everything in one place on the Intelligence Center it has saved me a lot of time versus looking on different sources, the alert function also helps with this.

Head of Key Accounts, Saab AB

Having used several other market research companies, I find that GlobalData manages to provide that ‘difficult-to-get’ market data that others can’t, as well as very diverse and complete consumer surveys.

Marketing Intelligence Manager, Portugal Foods

Our experience with GlobalData has been very good, from the platform itself to the people. I find that the analysts and the account team have a high level of customer focus and responsiveness and therefore I can always rely on. The platform is more holistic than other providers. It is convenient and almost like a one stop shop. The pricing suite is highly competitive and value for our organisation.

I like reports that inform new segments such as the analysis on generation Z, millennials, the impact of COVID 19 to our banking customers and their new channel habits. Secondly the specialist insight on affluent sector significantly increases our understanding about this group of customers. The combination of those give us depth and breadth of the evolving market.

I’m in the business of answering and helping people make decisions so with the intelligence center I can do that, effectively and efficiently. I can share quickly key insights that answer and satisfy our country stakeholders by giving them many quality studies and primary research about competitive landscape beyond the outlook of our bank. It helps me be seen as an advisory partner and that makes a big difference. A big benefit of our subscription is that no one holds the whole data and because it allows so many people, so many different parts of our organisation have access, it enables all teams to have the same level of knowledge and decision support.

Head of Customer Insight and Research, Standard Chartered

“I know that I can always rely on Globaldata’s work when I’m searching for the right consumer and market insights. I use Globaldata insights to understand the changing market & consumer landscape and help create better taste & wellbeing solutions for our customers in food, beverage and healthcare industries.

Globaldata has the right data and the reports are of very high quality compared to your competitors. Globaldata not only has overall market sizes & consumer insights on food & beverages but also provides insights at the ingredient & flavour level. That is key for B2B companies like Givaudan. This way we understand our customers’ business and also gain insight to our unique industry”

Head of Consumer Sensory Insights, Givaudan

GlobalData provides a great range of information and reports on various sectors that is highly relevant, timely, easy to access and utilise.  The reports and data dashboards help engagement with clients; they provide valuable industry and market insights that can enrich client conversations and can help in the shaping of value propositions. Moreover, using GlobalData products has helped increase my knowledge of the finance sector, the players within it, and the general threats and opportunities.

I find the consumer surveys that are carried out to be extremely beneficial and not something I have seen anywhere else. They provided an insightful view of why and which consumers take (or don’t) particular financial products. This can help shape conversations with clients to ensure they make the right strategic decisions for their business.

One of the challenges I have found is that data in the payments space is often piecemeal. With GD all of the data I need is in one place, but it also comes with additional market reports that provide useful extra context and information. Having the ability to set-up alerts on relevant movements in the industry, be it competitors or customers, and have them emailed directly to me, ensures I get early sight of industry activity and don’t have to search for news.

Senior Account Manager, TSYS
Financial Services
Hong Kong (China SAR) Retail Banking Analysis by Consumer Profiles,…
$5,250 | February 2024
Financial Services
Ukraine PESTLE Insights - A Macroeconomic Outlook Report
$500 | February 2024
Financial Services
Hungary PESTLE Insights - A Macroeconomic Outlook Report
$500 | February 2024
Go even deeper with GlobalData Intelligence Center

Every Company Report we produce is powered by the GlobalData Intelligence Center.

Subscribing to our intelligence platform means you can monitor developments at United Kingdom (UK) Financial Advisors Market Overview by Financial Advice Firms, Opportunities and Threats, 2023 Update in real time.

  • Access a live United Kingdom (UK) Financial Advisors Market Overview by Financial Advice Firms, Opportunities and Threats, 2023 Update dashboard for 12 months, with up-to-the-minute insights.
  • Fuel your decision making with real-time deal coverage and media activity.
  • Turn insights on financials, deals, products and pipelines into powerful agents of commercial advantage.