Golden Charter has welcomed the passing of legislation which now empowers the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to regulate the funeral planning market.
MPs today debated and passed an amendment to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, which brings funeral plan providers under the statutory regulatory umbrella of the FCA. The FCA will oversee a period of consultation and transition which must conclude within 18 months.
Despite the onset of regulation itself, according to Golden Charter questions remain over five important elements. These are:
- The potential for regulation to drive up prices and impact people on low incomes;
- Support for small and micro funeral directors who may struggle to adapt;
- The risks of exempting local authorities from regulation;
- The impact of transition arrangements; and
- Clarity over the functions of the ombudsman service.
Suzanne Grahame, CEO of Golden Charter, said: “We are long-standing supporters of compulsory regulation. It is the best outcome for consumers, giving them additional protection and ensuring fair and transparent practices throughout the sector. It should safeguard consumer choice across all parts of the UK. We put customers at the heart of everything we do and this decision only helps us to do this.
“Aside from locking-in the cost of future funeral services at today’s prices, funeral plans offer emotional value by reassuring plan holders that, at a time of familial distress, their funeral arrangements will already be in place.”
She added: “There are many unresolved issues that must be addressed by the FCA in the upcoming period of consultation and transition. If not, the intended benefits of regulation could well be lost. We look forward to engaging with the FCA on these issues.”