Getting regulation ready with Golden Charter
Golden Charter’s Director of Sales discusses how the company’s Funeral Director Agreement with its valued partners is an important step forward in readiness for the future FCA regulation of the funeral plan market
As we near the end of a year of unprecedented change, it’s encouraging to reflect on the progress we’ve made with our partners in preparation for funeral plans becoming fully regulated in 2022, when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will assume ultimate oversight of the market.
We’re really pleased to have introduced our Funeral Director Agreement and Funeral Plan Handbook to our partners, supporting us to meet the new Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) rules and code of practice together, designed to protect families and communities.
The depth and quality of the conversations you have each had with your Golden Charter Business Manager has increased the knowledge within the sector, with lots of excellent questions about what the Agreement means in practice.
While our Agreement makes very few material changes to the terms and conditions you accept every time you sell or are allocated a plan, it is an important step forward in our regulatory journey. It aligns us with the FPA expectation for all providers to have a single overarching Agreement in place with all funeral directors who sell their plans, and firmly puts the customer at the centre of that alignment.
The Agreement makes our contractual relationship easier to understand and, crucially, will provide customers with the same level of confidence they have in the banks and pension providers whom they also entrust to hold funds for future use. In turn, growing consumer confidence will, I believe, encourage more families to make advance provision for their funerals with their trusted funeral director.
While we understand the changes undoubtedly represent a stronger form of documentation than before, the aim is only to complement the already high standards of your own business practices and ensure our mutual customers are protected in the selling of funeral plans.
Supporting you every step of the way
And when it comes to embedding the new customer-focused principles and securing independent funeral directors’ place in the pre-paid market, we’re with you every step of the way. We’re pleased so many funeral directors agree, and I’d encourage you to listen to some of the thoughts from Edward Poole in the adjacent piece and in a recent podcast, where he discusses his experience.
Under the new Agreement and Handbook, we’ll continue to offer unrivalled benefits to our valued partners, with enhanced benefits for funeral directors who promote our plans exclusively, including:
- Marketing materials, support and financial contributions
- The highest plan pay outs available
- Digital resources, enabling your business to compete online with the conglomerates
- The only gateway open to Independents to access the funeral benefit option market
- Expertise in funeral plan compliance, GDPR and staff training
- localfuneral.co.uk, which provides at-need funerals at no cost to Independents
- Allocated plans with a total maximum deduction of £499
We’re confident our new Agreement is in the interest of customers, independent funeral directors and the wider funeral planning industry, while the Handbook provides a range of interactive support and guidance for those involved in selling and delivering funeral plans, giving every partnering funeral director certainty that they are doing the right thing.
I’d encourage you to review the documents for yourself and ensure you enter 2021 with us, in the best possible position to face thrive in the challenging year ahead. You will also have received a letter from Suzanne Grahame at the end of October, where Suzanne provides reassurance on the reasons for introduction of the Agreement. If you have any questions, your business manager will be delighted to help, or you can get in touch with us at email@example.com.Tags: agreement, FCA, Financial Conduct Authority, FPA, funeral director, Funeral Planning Authority, funeral plans, Golden Charter, handbook, legislation, Mark Moran, pre-need, regulation