Just 10% of British adults have taken paid-for financial advice, a YouGov survey from OpenMoney has revealed.

The survey of over 2,000 people, on behalf of the online financial advice business, lays bare the challenge faced by advisers to prove their service is not just an expensive luxury for the wealthy.

A key conclusion is that the so-called ‘advice gap’ – a phrase that covers all instances where a person could benefit from advice but does not or cannot – should be understood as a series of four distinct problems.

These are: the free advice gap, the affordable advice gap, an awareness & referral gap, and a ‘preventable advice gap’.

Of those who had not already taken advice, 79% said they had no plans to do so in the future.

As part of the poll, respondents were asked to share what came to mind when thinking about advice. Frequent words used were ‘expensive’, followed by ‘untrustworthy’.

Frustratingly for advisers, ‘commission’ also cropped up. Positive words included ‘managing money’, ‘help’, ‘expert’ and ‘trust’. But, the report says, they were largely outweighed by the negatives.

Anthony Morrow, CEO of OpenMoney, said promoting the positive work the profession does is ‘crucial’ to closing the perception gap that lies behind poor access to advice.

‘Despite the negative perceptions of financial advice, when people take specialist money advice the vast majority have a good experience,’ he said.

‘If the industry is to close the advice gap and help improve people’s financial futures, we first need to tackle the perception gap.’