FCA regulation boosts consumer protection in the funeral plans market

29 Jul 2022 11:18 AM

From today, the FCA will regulate pre-paid funeral plans, following legislation passed by Parliament. The FCA is authorising 26 providers. Together these firms hold approximately 1.6 million plans, which make up 87% of the market.

Regulation of the sector will bring higher standards and boost consumer protection. New rules, which take effect from today, include:

Customers of authorised providers will now have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so their money is protected if their provider fails.  Consumers can also make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), even if the issue they are complaining about happened before July 2022 if the firm was registered with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) at the time the issue occurred.

13 firms that applied before 1 March 2022, but have not been authorised, have until 31 October 2022 to transfer their plans to authorised firms or refund their customers. These plans are not covered by FCA regulation, meaning there is no protection by the FOS and FSCS until they are transferred to authorised providers.

Emily Shepperd, Executive Director of Authorisations at the FCA, said:

“We have worked tirelessly to assess funeral plan providers, under our robust authorisation process. We are pleased that 87% of the market is now under regulation. With our new rules in place, consumers will be better protected, when they need it the most.

“It is unfortunate that a number of firms chose to exit the market, leaving customers, who had sought peace of mind for their loved ones, understandably worried. It is a good outcome for consumers that some providers have stepped in to provide funerals for the customers of these providers at short notice. We also continue to engage with the industry while it works on a longer-term solution.”

This announcement follows the confirmation of the FCA’s plans to introduce a new consumer duty from July 2023. The consumer duty will apply to funeral plan providers and will mean their customers should receive communications they can understand, products and services that meet their needs and offer fair value, and they get the customer support they need, when they need it.

Notes to Editors

  1. List of providers the FCA is authorising today: 
  1. It may take up to 24 hours for authorised firms to appear on the FS Register.
  2. List of firms that will and won’t be authorised.
  3. Consumers who are considering buying a funeral plan should check the list above (and the FS Register) from tomorrow. Only buy a funeral plan from one of these authorised providers or appointed representatives. If you already have a funeral plan, check our webpage to find out what you need to do.