Up to 11 million additional people could seek financial advice if the aims of the retail distribution review (RDR) are explained to them properly, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) estimates.
Research commissioned by the organisation found 81% of the public does not know about the new qualification requirements, while 80% are unaware of how the changes will affect the way financial advisers are paid.
However, once the outcomes of RDR were explained to them, 33% of those who do not currently take financial advice - equating, the CII estimated, to some 11 million people - said they would consider doing so.
Among the 25-34 year old age group, 48% said they would consider financial advice, while the corresponding figure for those within the social grade C2 (skilled manual workers) was 38%.
David Thomson, director of policy and public affairs at the CII, said: "It's clear that to engage the public and be successful, the RDR should be communicated clearly to a broad consumer audience.
"We believe the onus for communicating the key elements of the RDR lies with the Money Advice Service - which provides an independent and impartial platform from which to educate consumers."
The research was conducted online by Populus for the CII in May 2011, with 2,055 individuals participating from across England, Scotland and Wales.
Earlier this week, the Money Advice Service launched its online health check, promising to help users make the most of their money, giving them an action plan and "clear goals".
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