The Financial Conduct Authority has revealed the measures it intends to put in place to regulate the pre-paid funeral plans industry. The City regulator plans sweeping changes to how funeral plans are designed and sold, once it takes the reins of the industry in summer 2022. It aims to improve industry sales practices as well as the value of funeral plan products. Tighter controls over how funerals measure up to funerals plans purchased will also be imposed.
Among its proposed regulations to protect consumers are a ban on cold calling, so consumers can’t pushed into buying plans which may not be right for them.
Funeral plan companies will also be stopped from using additional fees to drive up profits. New standards on advertising will also be introduced. Intermediary agents will be banned under the proposals.
Rest Assured Funeral Plans’ Managing Director Thomas Loughran today welcomed the FCA’s news.
He said: “These regulations sound like exactly what is needed in our industry.
“We welcome them wholeheartedly as they suit the way our company operates already.
“Hopefully they will drive out an unscrupulous element which continues to harm the name of funeral planning.
“Rest Assured Funeral Plans looks forward to being authorised to continue its practice under the FCA later this year, subject to the FCA’s statutory assessment.”
The FCA is consulting on its draft regulations at present. This is the first time its intentions have been outlined.
Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA said: “Pre-paid funeral plans can help people and their families to manage the costs of a funeral.
“It is vital that consumers have confidence that their plan will deliver the funeral they expect at a fair value.”
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will take on its new remit from July 29 2022, following concerns raised about some providers.
Consumers will also be given rights to access the Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme if they feels the above rules have not been adhered to.
Funeral plan firms will be able to apply directly to the FCA for authorisation from September 2021.
Any continuation of trading without authorisation after the FCA’s regulations are in place will be deemed a criminal offence.
For more information about funeral plans and how we ensure every customer is happy with the plan they buy, please contact Rest Assured Funeral Plans on 0800 065 4514