The Government has announced plans to introduce statutory regulation to the pre-paid funeral plan market. This is the culmination of an enquiry by HM Treasury, which has been ongoing for some time.
HM Treasury found examples of ‘customer detriment’ in many aspects of the funeral market, however it is important to note that these occurred primarily in the section of the market not supervised by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA).
Responding to the Treasury’s announcement, Suzanne Grahame, Chief Executive at Golden Charter, said:
“HM Treasury’s decision for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to regulate pre-paid funeral plans is a positive step forward for funeral directors, financial intermediaries and customers and we welcome it.
“This is an announcement we have been requesting and preparing for since the start of last year. Golden Charter has been leading the way in ensuring that our funeral plans can only be purchased through highly trained subject matter experts, with our approach to third party sellers requiring them to be FCA regulated or members of a recognised professional body. The strong relationships we have sought and developed with our adviser networks is testament to that approach.
“As a result, we have remained ahead of our competitors in our approach to sales quality, best advice and Treating Customers Fairly (TCF). For these reasons, we think we’re the best placed company to continue to provide pre-need options for customers in the new environment.
“While we still do not yet have the full information on how the new system will operate, the proposal published describes in some detail the close parallels to be drawn with other FCA regulated markets such as the insurance sector. To that extent this is largely a known model and one we have been planning for since 2017. A great deal of work has been undertaken in recent years to ensure we are in a strong position to respond to any new regulatory regime or requirements and this will now come to fruition.
“This announcement is an important step forward. Regulation will improve the quality of the sales experience for customers and offer greater protection. It will increase security for individuals while simultaneously enhancing the reputation of the industry and that can only be a good thing.”