FCA regulation: A partnership approach

words: Malcolm Flanders
Malcolm Flanders

It’s been an unprecedented year for funeral directors; providing a frontline response to a global pandemic while navigating the latest regulatory and market changes impacting the sector. We’ve understood and respected this, recognising the additional pressures being placed on your businesses as we continue to do our utmost to support you on your regulatory journey.

As we enter 2021, with FCA regulation of the funeral plan market in even sharper focus, I’m encouraged by the growing enthusiasm for the customer-led approach that the regulators are seeking. As we have talked about the Funeral Planning Authority’s requirements with funeral directors, including the need for a formal agreement, the level of understanding has grown and the independent sector is signalling to the regulators that it is committed to a partnership with a planning company which will provide families with the assurance they’ll always work in their best interests.

And it is true that this is the first time we have introduced a formal agreement in this way. The depth and quality of the conversations we’ve had with funeral directors on the agreement has undoubtedly helped shape our understanding of the impacts of regulation to individual business ambitions, often around continuing to professionalise the already established presence within your communities.

This understanding has, in turn, helped us share responses and learnings, answering a range of questions at partners.goldencharter.co.uk and in our online discussion forums, whilst also allowing us to provide greater clarity and context to the agreement itself.

The funeral director’s view

The Partnership Podcast

In my latest Partnership Podcast, George Locke, of R Locke & Son Funeral Directors in Warwickshire, shares his experience. George initially had some reservations about the regulatory changes, and was concerned about the rumours he was hearing. On the podcast, George talks about how he reviewed the agreement with these concerns in mind, but once he had taken the time to fully digest both the Funeral Director Agreement and accompanying Funeral Plan Handbook, he was left with an assurance and confidence about the benefits of regulation in making the market a much safer place for clients.

George said: “I don’t feel it’s going to tie our hands in any way whatsoever. If anything, the way we sell the plans will come across as more professional and we’ll have that extra weight behind us of regulation. It’s a bit like going out to a restaurant and seeing the five star rating, hopefully that’s what we’re going to be having in our premises.”

Later in the podcast George discusses the confidence he has in his partnership with Golden Charter as a result of the approach which has been taken, as well as the support of his business manager, which from his perspective is hugely positive.

He explained: “I’m very reassured in what Golden Charter are doing and the approach that they’ve taken. I think it’s going to put us as funeral directors in a very strong position to carry on selling plans in the same way as we’ve done before, with added security and support, and I feel quite excited about what the future’s going to hold.”

I’d encourage you to listen to the full podcast at goldencharter.buzzsprout.com and also engage with us on our other peer-to-peer and intelligence-sharing calls, to hear about the experiences of George and other funeral directors, and share your own perspectives. This only adds to the collective strength and knowledge of the Independent community.

We’re here to support you in whatever way we can, so please do get in touch with your business manager to discuss how we can help you to navigate the latest regulations. By listening and collaborating, I believe we can create a valued partnership to meet the regulators’ expectations and give families the guarantee that, together, we will always work in their best interests.

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