Four months into regulated funeral planning

words: Mark Moran, Golden Charter Commercial Director
Mark Moran

Regulation marked the beginning of a new era in funeral planning, with additional levels of protection for customers, new processes for providers and funeral directors to adopt, and new opportunities. Mark Moran, Commercial Director at Golden Charter, reflects on how far we’ve come since 29 July and looks forward to the year ahead.

The digital age

We have been really excited with the speed at which our appointed representatives are adopting our digital application service, which is now being used to submit more than two thirds of funeral plan applications*, with more funeral directors switching every week.

We’ve had great feedback from customers and funeral directors  that it makes completing regulated sales easier and more efficient.

“As a company, since FCA regulation we made the decision to process all our funeral applications digitally. It very simply ensures we’re following all the relevant steps in order to comply with FCA regulation without a worry that we might overlook something. Not a form in sight!”

John Byrne of J T Byrne

Our partners are also taking advantage of our twice weekly digital drop-in sessions, to help them become more familiar with guiding customers through a digital sale. They’re a great opportunity to ask questions and learn where to find supporting content on The sessions cover everything from generating quotes to completing the entire application end-to-end. Speak to your business manager or request a link to join by emailing here.

Your business manager will also be able to support in booking you in for one of our sales process training refresher sessions. These can help familiarise you and your team with the post-29 July sales process and build confidence in providing our customers with a fair and FCA-complaint service.

Funeral plans in a new era

Regulation offers additional levels of protection for customers and as their confidence grows, we’re seeing demand increase. We’re supporting Independents by connecting you with the renewed opportunity of these future funerals. We’ve developed an online plan sales journey that enables customers to purchase a plan directly via their chosen funeral director’s website.

This exciting development will supplement the conversations our appointed representative partners are having with families.

It allows customers to buy a plan via their preferred funeral director’s website in the comfort of their own home, at a time that suits them, even if that’s outside of branch opening hours.

We’ll be rolling it out shortly to our appointed representatives who expressed an interest earlier in the year, further enhancing our digital solutions for funeral directors.

Continuing your professional development

If you’re acting as an approved person or are involved in the sale of plans, it’s essential you complete at least 15 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year.

The annual requirement serves as a good reminder to continue refreshing and expanding our knowledge of funeral plans for the benefit of families. As an employee of a funeral plan provider, I’ll also be completing my 15 hours, as will all of my colleagues at Golden Charter.

Our annual mandatory elearning modules will make up well over half of the necessary CPD time. We will support our appointed representatives to achieve this requirement by providing a suite of customer focused elearning modules and other learning resources.

The remainder of the CPD requirement can be made up in a variety of ways, such as listening to relevant podcasts, reading articles, and attending meetings, seminars and webinars; activities that you’ll most likely already be doing.

As long as you’re learning something that is relevant to funeral planning and has a customer or more general business focus, it can be counted as CPD. We’ve kept a note of meetings and other activities you may have been involved in with your Golden Charter business manager since regulation that you can include on your CPD record.

You’ll be able to log your CPD yourself on and any CPD that you’ve undertaken since becoming an appointed representative can be included.

We’re in the process of finalising our comprehensive programme to support our appointed representatives and will be in touch with details on how we’ll assist you to meet this requirement soon. To help you identify CPD materials, we’ll be asking you to ‘look out for the lightbulb’ (see above) to help build up the 15 hours. You’ll soon see this lightbulb on lots of the materials we share with our partners. It indicates that the article, podcast, newsletter or other item holds CPD value and that can count towards your total time.

CPD isn’t just a regulatory requirement, it’s also an opportunity to enhance your skills and competence while keeping up to date with the latest customer trends and market information.

*76% of the total number of funeral plan applications received from funeral directors between 29 July 2022 and 2 November 2022.

See Mark’s update on the success of the introducer appointed representative regulatory model here.

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