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Friday 17 June, 2022

Financial Conduct

FCA publish funeral plan provider list

RNS Number : 2692P
Financial Conduct Authority
17 June 2022
 

FCA announces funeral plan providers likely to be authorised  

 

The Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") has published a list of providers it intends to authorise when the pre-paid funeral plans industry comes under its regulation from 29 July.

 

24 firms are on the list, including the largest funeral plan providers. Together these firms hold approximately 87% of existing customer plans. The FCA is still assessing a small number of providers' applications and will give an update on these as soon as possible.

 

Until regulation comes into force, all of the providers in this market remain unregulated, meaning that customers do not have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), and the FCA has limited powers. The FCA continues to work with the industry to find longer-term solutions for customers of providers which have not applied for authorisation or have withdrawn.

 

From 29 July, all funeral plan providers will need to follow new FCA rules, which include a ban on cold calling and commission paid to intermediaries, and high standards on governance and financial resilience. Funeral plan holders will be able to refer complaints about a firm to the Ombudsman and will be covered by the FSCS if their provider goes out of business.

 

Emily Shepperd, Executive Director of Authorisations at the FCA, said: "As this sector approaches regulation, we want to provide holders of pre-paid funeral plans with some reassurance, which is why we have published a list of the firms we intend to authorise.

 

"Our regulation will lead to higher standards in the market and boost consumer protection. We want to see an improvement in the way customers are treated, with better value products, better sales practices and better controls in place so consumers can be confident they will receive the funeral they expect." 

 

Notes to editors:

· List of firms the FCA intend to authorise:

Alternative Planning Company Limited

Avalon (Europe) Limited

Avalon Trustee Company Limited

Celebration Of Life Planning Ltd

Central England Co-Operative Limited

Co-Op Funeral Plans Limited

Crystal Cremations Ltd

Dignity Funerals Limited

Distinct Funeral Plans Limited

Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited

F A Albin & Sons Limited

Family Funerals Trust Limited

Freeman Brothers (this includes Peter Christopher Freeman and Bridgid Mary Freeman)

Golden Charter Limited

Golden Leaves Limited

Haven Personal Funeral Plans Ltd

Independent Funeral Planning Services Ltd

Low Cost Funeral Limited T/A Affordable Funerals (this includes Memoria Limited)

Peace Burials Limited

Plan With Grace Limited

Pure Cremation Planning Ltd

Southern Co-Operative Funerals Limited

The Independent Family Funeral Directors Ltd (this includes Fosters Family Funeral Directors)

William Alty & Sons Limited

· Funeral plan providers will be officially approved for authorisation on 29 July, depending on whether they have fulfilled certain obligations outlined during their application process.

· For the small number of firms that are still being assessed, this does not necessarily mean the FCA has concerns or that they will not be authorised when regulation begins. Customers of firms not on this list should contact their provider in the first instance.

· Consumer protection measures being introduced from 29 July 2022, include: 

banning cold calling and setting new standards on advertising to ensure plans are sold fairly 

banning commission payments to intermediaries, such as funeral directors, to ensure products represent fair value 

carrying out full checks on the fitness to operate of those selling funeral plans, in order to improve governance standards and oversight 

guaranteeing that funeral plans will always deliver a funeral unless the customer dies within 2 years of taking out the plan, in which case a full refund will be offered 

guaranteeing that customers will receive a full refund if they cancel a plan within 30 days of purchase, or pay only a reasonable charge later on 

· From 29 July, consumers will also be able to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. If the issue happened before July 2022, they'll still be able to refer it to the ombudsman service, as long as the firm was registered with the Funeral Planning Authority at the time the issue occurred. 

· Customers will have access to the  Financial Services Compensation Scheme from the first day of regulation, so their money is protected if a firm fails. 

 

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