Would-be investors are turning to the internet in increasing numbers for investment advice, according to the findings of a survey by True Potential.
When asked what their first port of call for financial advice would be, 33 per cent of the 2,034 people surveyed said the internet, while only 34 per cent said they'd seek help from a qualified financial adviser.
Twenty-six per cent said they'd still go to a bank, 17 per cent claimed to have enough knowledge themselves, while 11 per cent said they would talk to an unqualified friend or relative.
True Potential said there were concerning aspects to the findings, but that the survey also underlined the opportunity that the internet presents to advisers.
True Potential senior partner Daniel Harrison said:
"We now have a situation where almost as many people would use the internet in an attempt to get financial advice, as would go to a financial adviser.
"But this isn't a threat to the industry – it's an opportunity. It shows the size of the potentially untapped audience for advisers to reach, if they take the right approach.
"Modern customers want information delivered to them in the right way – round the clock, with instant access to their funds and accounts information on their smartphones and tablets – and advisers need to embrace that or be left behind.
"True Potential is a future-focused company and we see first-hand the impact that technology can have on an adviser's business.
"To help our adviser clients take advantage of the opportunities, we offer customisable firm sites that allow them to market their products and services as well as provide education for clients and prospects.
"Each client of a True Potential firm also has access to a holistic view of their financial information via our personalised client websites, branded with firm name. These are a great way for advisers to deliver a differentiated and valued client experience.
"For many in the industry, this feels like a new world and it's one that many are still adjusting to. We will continue to ask this question over the next 12 months and it will be interesting to see how the trend changes as advisers continue to adapt their business models post-RDR."