WE are eight months into the new world of compulsory fees for financial advice and it seems many Scots are far from happy to pay the bill.

Up to one-third of active investors have ditched their financial advisers since behind-the-scenes commission - a company's reward for advisers who recommended its products -was banished in January, says research firm GfK.

Advisers now have to charge by the hour, typically quoting £160, or take a chunk off your invested assets each year, at an average rate of 2.67%, according to the My Touchstone database. The latter could cost you £1335 if you had a portfolio worth £50,000.

Major investment firms such as Scottish Widows have reported an influx of so-called "orphaned" investors, cut off from their financial adviser because they cannot afford upfront fees, buying directly from the firm. Many are turning to online tools offered by a widening choice of "platforms", that allow them to take the reins of their portfolio seemingly at a much lower cost.

Willis Owen, the online discount broker, has reported a 115% surge in new business over the last year, suggesting that many are happy to use an "execution only" service that simply lays out funds for you to pick and mix. The biggest player in this market, Hargreaves Lansdown, is now hoping to win over DIY investors by offering a list of 30 funds at exclusively lower prices.

Does all this mean that financial advice is on its way out? Not necessarily. Adviser rating website Vouchedfor, in a recent sample poll, found the vast majority (97%) of advisers saying they have welcomed rather than lost clients since the dawn of the new era.

Recent figures from the Financial Conduct Authority have actually shown an upturn in adviser numbers since January - though the FCA has come under fire for selective use of statistics.

Sam Henderson, director of Glasgow-based chartered financial planners Henderson Stone, commented: "To be honest I find that very difficult to square with what we see in the marketplace - a lot of the high street banks have reduced their number of advisers considerably and my concern is that people are simply left without advice on what are hugely important decisions."

He added: "Costs are now much more transparent with clients seeing who is being paid what and how this impacts on investment decisions being made. More and more we are finding situations where prospective clients say 'I don't want to buy anything, I just want advice.'"

Scotland is home to the highest number of super-rich investors outside of London and the South east, according to another piece of research from Coredata.

Craig Philips, principal at the research firm, said he estimated that half of all high net worth investors receive professional advice at some point during their lives, compared to just one in eight of the mass market.

Nonetheless, many advisers are now trying to reach out to a wider audience. Douglas Back, managing director of Glasgow-based Personal Investment Planning, has been hosting free financial surgeries for the public throughout the summer, while Jeffrey Deans, founder of Glasgow-based IFA Save & Invest, has developed a virtual service for clients who cannot afford regular, one-on-one sessions. Save & Invest monitors a portfolio (from a menu of 100 funds) on behalf of an investor, making sure they continue to suit the client's appetite for risk and reporting back on performance.

In return, the firm can take a more palatable charge of 0.7% on investable assets.

But 340,000 people, including a fair proportion of Scots, are determined to go it alone, according to GfK's data.

The options now range from price-focused, no frills transactional platforms, to services providing "guidance" to help investors select and manage their investments.

Crucial considerations include the range of investments on offer, and whether it excludes worthwhile options such as investment trusts and ETFs, and a platform's research facilities, if any.

There are various ways of assessing a fund's performance that do not just rely on historic data, and this could give you a more rounded picture of your investment options. You must also make sure that a platform offers your preferred choice of investment vehicle, whether it's an Isa, a Sipp or a Junior Isa.

Other bonuses to look out for are risk analysis on your funds, a helpline should you come across any problems with the website, and nifty tools that could help you to plan for retirement and other major life events.

But Mr Henderson says the adviser world has moved on. "If you knew that your GP had done no further medical training since doing their qualification 20 years ago then would you place your trust in them to make major lifestyle changes?

"Advisers across the UK have had to up-skill their knowledge and have to prove ongoing competence in a much more rigorous fashion which is open to scrutiny by the regulators as required."