Funeral Plan providers are in the last stages of approval by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). From the 29th July the FCA will formally take over regulation of the whole industry, which has been planned for well over 12 months.
Part of a Probate Service, Funeral Planning has been on the FCA’s hitlist for some time. Concerns had been raised in the past about excessive levels of commission and cold calling in the industry. But these will both be banned by the FCA. So far the FCA has approved twenty four Funeral Planning type firms, which represent almost 90% of the overall market. It seems that there are still a few applications with the FCA for final scrutiny.
Any financial advice firms wanting to offer a Funeral Planning Probate Service will now have to be directly authorised to do so. Up until now this has been a non regulated activity. Quite a few of our clients have taken advantage of Funeral Planning services in the past. They can offer peace of mind about funeral arrangements and can also make things easier for family and friends at a sensitive time.
Once the FCA takes over, customers will benefit from the protection of the Financial Service Compensation Scheme in case anything goes wrong. This was one of the main concerns about the industry because firms are holding funeral pre payments. Sometimes for a number of years.
FCA regulation should help to boost customer confidence in the industry. Perhaps we will see different levels of firm in the future, just like the advice market where we are a Personal Finance Society Associate Firm.