Purpose – the paper aims to identify which factors determine (german) retail banking customers' intention to adopt a new remuneration system for financial advice. The new system is a pay-per-use advisory model that supersedes existing commission-based advisory approaches.design/methodology/approach – the paper develops and tests a comprehensive conceptual framework that includes perceived innovation characteristics, relationship quality, and socio-demographic and psychographic variables to explain adoption intentions of the new remuneration system. The data come from a survey among clients of a large german retail bank.findings – perceived innovation characteristics (i.e. Relative advantage) largely determine the intention to adopt the fee-based advisory model. Consumer and relationship quality variables do not directly impact adoption intentions, but have an indirect effect through influencing perceived innovation characteristics and moderating their relative importance. Relationship quality indicators, such as satisfaction with the current service and trust in the bank or its employees, do not impact customers' intentions to switch to the new remuneration system.research limitations/implications – the paper describes a (case) study using data from a large german retail bank. Future research may investigate the findings' (international) generalizability using different datasets and also assess additional drivers of customers' intentions to adopt a fee-based advisory model.practical implications – the results suggest that banks should always explain the relative advantage of financial service innovations to their clients, as existing satisfaction and trust levels are not sufficient to ensure adoption.originality/value – this is the first paper examining the adoption of a new remuneration system for financial advice in the retail banking industry. By assessing a variety of variables the authors increase understanding of why customers adopt or reject such complex and difficult to evaluate service innovations.