Brokers should follow the example of their counter-parts in the life sector and become "trusted advisers" if they wish to flourish, according to the chief executive of Standard Life.

Trevor Matthews said research undertaken by Standard Life identified a number of barriers to consumers using the services of a financial adviser.

These barriers included the fear of over selling, fear of commission bias and a growing perception on the part of many consumers that they can "do it for themselves".

Matthews said that financial advisers had managed to overcome these barriers by moving from a traditional sales model - prospecting, commission payments and product selling skills - to a "trusted adviser" model, meaning fewer clients paying by fee rather than commission.

Matthews argued that financial services companies must try harder to put customers at the heart of what they do and build up levels of trust. "We need to counter some of the problems regarding perceived commission bias and over-selling," he said. "There is a demand for advice, and we need to fill it by providing access to expertise."

He also argued for wider adoption of the "wrap" platform model, where a single relationship with the consumer provides access to a range of products and services: "We need to shift perspective away from the way we've always done things to the way today's customers want things to be done," he said. "We need to develop flexible propositions that match contemporary requirements."