Financial services recruitment firm BWD surveyed 500 sector professionals from financial advisers to broker consultants, paraplanners, sales support and administration staff, and employee benefit consultants in November.
The research suggests that overall earnings for the sector – salary, plus bonus – last year were £56,731.
Employed financial advisers came in above the average at £62,838, but were trailed by their self-employed counterparts who had total earnings of £60,533, though this was up from below-average earnings of £52,550 in 2011.
Earnings for financial advisers were materially lower than for either broker consultants or employee benefit consultants, according to the research.
Employee benefit consultants had the highest average earnings in 2012 at £87,096. They also had the most increased earnings last year compared to 2011, up 9.67%, reflecting a high level of activity in the corporate market.
BWD said the research suggesting lower pay for financial advisers raised questions over the ability of the sector to attract a good flow of talent, particularly given that the bar has been raised with the requirement for a higher level of minimum qualification at QCF Level 4.
However, advisers were optimistic that 2013 would see their earnings rise, with 64% expecting an increase in incomes, and 36% expecting a drop.
BWD also sounded caution over the lack of under 30-year-olds in the financial advice profession, which stood at fewer than 1% of those polled.
The average age of advisers is now 42, according to the research.
“To keep the sector fresh we need a greater flow of younger entrants who would naturally deal with the younger clients,” said BWD.
Of those practicing as advisers just four weeks before the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), 7% said they did not plan to continue as advisers in 2013, suggesting the much discussed decline in the UK’s advisory force is exaggerated.
Retirement and other exits would account for at least half of the 7%, said BWD.
Of those planning to give advice in 2013, 66% said they will do so as independent with 34% intended to offer restricted advice.
This represents a drop in the independent market from 83% to 66% or a fall of 20%.