The government should extend a tax exemption for employers who arrange financial advice for employees to address the "inconvenient truth" about attempts to broaden access to advice.
The HMRC exemption from an employee benefits tax charge for regulated advice costing an employer up to £150 per person per year - in place since 2004 - could be increased to as much as £1,000 per individual, investment and wealth manager Thomas Miller Investment has suggested.
Such a change would have little impact on tax receipts while take-up would be high as it is free to employees.
More pertinently, it would confront the "inconvenient truth" that "the only way to ensure people make good decisions is to ensure they get good, sound advice from highly qualified, highly-regulated advisers", the company said.
The government is attempting to widen access to advice and guidance - such as via Pension Wise - following pension reforms that liberated retirees' income options.
But Thomas Miller Investments' managing director Matthew Phillips said the government must face up to "where the country finds itself".
"The reality is that retirees' choices are varied, older pension schemes are complex and a 45-minute guidance session will offer nowhere near the level of assistance that most people need to make an informed decision.
"Sorting out the regulatory befuddlement between advice and guidance is welcome, as is anything that reduces the jargon of the financial services industry, but here is the catch: it rather misses the point.
"The only way to help people is for them to receive advice, and the reality is that with advice there are no half measures.
"If you have a regulated advice community, it is binary - it either gives advice, for which it is liable, based on an individual's full position, or it does not. It is a tailored solution and tailored solutions come at a price."
Phillips said developments in robo-advice could help to bridge the advice gap, but that the technology wasn't where it needed to be to be effective for the masses.
"Let's not stick our collective heads in the sand and let a generation retire, making poor decisions before the technology catches up," he said.
An increase in the HMRC tax exemption is the best and most practical solution, he added, actively encouraging the use of professional regulated advisers.
The technology to improve employees’ wellbeing is already here. But it is now in employers’ hands to make sure it is used to create successful corporate wellness programmes
Here they are - the winners of the Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards 2020...
Here they are. The finalist lists for the WSB Awards 2020.
Almost all (92%) employers would consider setting up a workplace savings scheme in addition to a pension in light of recent market turmoil caused by Covid-19, Cushon finds.
There are just a few weeks left to enter this year's Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards.