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FCA regulation of funeral plans survey: make your feelings known and raise money for Hospice UK

An exclusive FSJ survey in association with Funeral Solution Expert

There has never been a better time to make sure your voice is heard about the imminent seismic change to the regulation of funeral plans.

From July 29 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will become the regulator of funeral plans taking over from the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). An independent survey of funeral directors is currently being conducted to understand how you feel about those coming changes.

Are you ready? Is your plan provider ready? And what does this mean for you and your families?

How to complete the survey

You can complete the online survey here: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TD5FRH/, if you have not already – it will be open until 2 August 2021. You may also have had the chance to complete the survey by phone.

There is still time to take part and for every survey completed (up to the first 100) a donation of £5 will be made to Hospice UK.

We will be publishing the research findings in our next edition of FSJ at the end of August.

The survey has been commissioned by Funeral Solution Expert, an independent and unbiased research and consultancy company co-founded by highly experienced sector expert Simon Cox.

Simon’s previous research work in the funeral sector has laid the foundation for improvements to social fund funeral expenses benefit, he has ensured quality and standards comprised a key part of the CMA’s deliberations and he also provided unquestionable evidence of the need for FCA regulation of the funeral plan sector.

Assessing the changes

Funeral Solution Expert and FSJ are both keen to understand how funeral directors currently feel about upcoming changes that are now just a year away:

  • Are you aware of the changes, and if so, do you know how they will affect you?
  • Are you annoyed or delighted at the prospect of FCA regulation?
  • How prepared are you, and perhaps more importantly, how prepared is your funeral plan provider?
  • There are some major consequences if your funeral plan provider is not ready, willing or able to successfully apply to be regulated by the FCA (Funeral Plan providers need to have submitted their application to the FCA by 1 November 2021).

FCA regulation will change how funeral plans are described, how they can be sold and what you as a funeral director can and can’t do. The changes will result in a number of questions that your plan provider will only be able to fully answer once the FCA have published their final rules and handbook (FCA published draft rules on 5th July together with a final consultation on the proposed rules closing on 31 August).

Key questions

In the next issue of FSJ, along with the results from the survey, we will be setting out some key questions every funeral director should be asking their plan provider.

Because of the changes to regulation, and some of the new rules, Funeral Solution Expert expects plan providers to make changes to their plans, wanting to ensure they offer fair value to consumers, that funeral directors offering their plans understand any changes, that their plan conforms to FCA rules and – most important of all – that they successfully secure FCA authorisation.

Which plan providers will successfully secure FCA authorisation and which won’t? It’s difficult to say, but Funeral Solution Expert expects some providers to struggle to meet the demands posed by the new regulator. Which means for perhaps the first time, you may need to challenge your plan provider on what they are doing to prepare for authorisation.

In its response to the FCA consultation in April this year, Funeral Solution Expert made it clear that “a bad outcome would be for the bar to be set too high (by the FCA) resulting in funeral directors deciding not to offer funeral plans … and meaning a funeral director is participating in less than 80% of the available market”.

Please take this opportunity to complete the survey. All responses are totally anonymised, and Funeral Solution Expert will share any collective concerns voiced with the FCA as evidence that the transition to FCA regulation needs to support funeral directors in their work, and not penalise them.

For more information, please contact simoncox@funeralsolutionexpert.co.uk.

This is a preview of a feature article.

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