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Fair dos for customers: Golden Charter backs FCA rulebook on funeral plans

Changes outlined in the Financial Conduct Authority rulebook will help the sector treat customers fairly, support the vulnerable and provide clear communication says Golden Charter CEO Suzanne Grahame.

“At Golden Charter, we have been preparing for regulation for several years,” she explains. “But now that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has introduced its rulebook, the journey to regulation is one which we can approach with greater clarity.

“On this journey, it is important that we focus on what has always been important: building relationships with our customers; maintaining and strengthening trust with the funeral directors that we work with; and providing valuable and transparent service.

“Our customers always come first. The families we provide funeral plans to are making important financial and life decisions. Our services provide support to make a difficult time easier.

“For independent funeral directors, the family is always the priority, and I am confident that the changes introduced by the FCA will reinforce the core values that many already follow.  

“The new rules from the FCA zero in on important facets of our work: treating customers fairly, supporting vulnerable members of society and providing clearly documented communication about the funeral plan.

“As longstanding priorities within the funeral profession, I believe these rules will bring minimal change to the way in which funeral directors already interact with families.

“However, change can create feelings of uncertainty. The funeral profession has been self-regulated for a long time, so while regulation is a change, in many ways it is simply a tool to support us in continuing with best practice.

“The FCA is seeking to improve customer trust in several ways: by prohibiting commission payments and cold calling. The FCA is also minimising risk in payment handling by introducing a direct customer-to-plan-provider payment requirement.

“In addition, the FCA rules propose that funeral directors and plan providers must have necessary backstops in place if something goes wrong. This rule is to protect customers and their families throughout their engagement with the funeral planning experience – adding another layer of reassurance to families who are planning ahead.

“As well as providing customers with extra protection, regulation will ultimately benefit the funeral planning industry. It will help us to provide ultimate transparency, clear guidance, and fair practice within our sector.

“I am confident that when introduced, these regulations will ensure that funeral plans can be delivered to customers and families as we always have: by keeping their wishes as the first priority.

“The rules create a professional guide to deliver fair practice and transparent, high-quality service within the funeral industry. If we all continue to put the customer first, regulation will only bring benefits for all.”

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