Regulation of funeral plans a welcome move

June 2, 2019   //   No Comments

SAIF welcomes the news today that HM Treasury is planning to introduce statutory regulation of the funeral planning market.

Our Regulatory Task Group will be preparing a response to the proposals in the coming weeks.

We hold the view that regulation – in a form which is easily understandable and set in the right framework – is a positive move.

Consumers are right to expect to be sold plans which they do not feel pressured into buying, a situation which is ultimately not good for people buying the plans or, indeed, the funeral directors who will be servicing them.

We would always wish for funeral plan providers and any intermediaries to conduct themselves in a manner in which the needs of the consumer are paramount and that aggressive sales methods are not employed.

People also need to be safe in the knowledge that any plan they buy will sufficiently cover the costs of the type of funeral they have chosen.

In terms of HM Treasury’s proposals, we strongly encourage our members to read the consultation document and consider the Summary of questions in Chapter 8. Funeral directors are welcome to respond.

For its part, SAIF will be seeking clarification in a number of areas, in particular:

  • How proposals for Appointed Representatives of funeral plan providers might work in practice for funeral directors;
  • How commission on funeral plans will work for Appointed Representatives and what level this might be set;
  • What kinds of costs FCA regulation is likely to involve and;
  • How the proposals will take account of the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation into the funeral market, which covers the redemption of funeral plans.   

In the meantime, we would very strongly recommend that consumers use a Funeral Planning Authority-registered company when it comes to organising their plan.

In the discussions we have had with Government during the months this has taken to be announced, we have always been clear that a bespoke solution is required – one which benefits the consumer, makes it clear precisely what people are buying, and which meets the needs of those consumers and of funeral directors.