Regulating the funeral plans sector

On 29 July 2022, we will start regulating the pre-paid funeral plans sector. If you’re a funeral plan provider or intermediary (someone who sells funeral plans), find out what our regulation means and how to get ready.

The authorisations gateway is now open for applications. If you want to operate in the funeral plans sector when our regulation takes effect, find out more about applying for authorisation and make sure you submit your application as early as possible.

On this page:

Our aim for regulation

We aim to achieve good outcomes for consumers. We want to make sure that the products offered by firms:

  • meet consumer needs
  • offer fair value

We also want to make sure that firms look after consumers' money and use it to deliver funeral services.  

Who will be regulated

Our regulation will extend to:

  • providers: firms that enter into and administer funeral plan contracts (including those sold before FCA regulation)
  • intermediaries: firms that sell funeral plans to customers on behalf of providers (this may include, for example, funeral directors, will writers and lead generators)

If you undertake any of these activities, and wish to continue doing so once our regulation comes into force on 29 July 2022, you will need to apply for our direct authorisation or become an appointed representative (AR) of a principal firm.

Continuing with regulated activity without appropriate authorisation (if you’re not an exempt person) is a criminal offence. If you're a provider of funeral plans and don't intend to apply for authorisation, please contact us now to let us know. 

Sign up for email updates: If you think our regulation will apply to you, it’s important to make sure you keep up to date and stay informed. To help, you can sign up to receive email updates.

What to consider

Now: Apply for authorisation 

Submit your application and supporting documents as soon as possible.  

Important: the application fee will increase by 40% for applications made from 1 November 2021. 

The later you submit your application, or if you don’t provide all the relevant information in good time, the greater the risk that you won’t be authorised by 29 July 2022. If this happens, you will have to stop trading while your application is assessed. 

Find out more about applying for authorisation.

Now: Read our Policy Statement and Consultation Paper on our further proposals 

We published rules that you will need to comply with if you want to continue to operate in this sector. We set out our rules and what we expect from firms in our Policy Statement.

We have also consulted on further proposals including:

  • resolution of firms
  • FSCS protection
  • structural provisions

We will confirm our final rules on these issues in a Policy Statement later in 2021. 

Our rules will all be set out in our Handbook from 29 July 2022, but you can now preview how the rules will appear.

29 July 2022: FCA regulation comes into force

By 29 July 2022, all funeral plan providers and intermediaries must have appropriate authorisation to continue funeral plan activities. 

If you’re not authorised (or exempt) by this date, you must stop selling and administering funeral plans.  

If you’re a provider, and you decided not to apply for authorisation, you must have taken steps to either wind down your operations and/or transfer your back book of existing plans to another provider with appropriate authorisation.  

Find out more about regulation for providers and intermediaries.

Firms that are already FCA regulated 

If you’re already regulated by us and wish to conduct activities in relation to pre-paid funeral plans, you may need to submit a variation of permission application. 

You may need to add one or more new regulated activities to your existing permissions or add the investment type ‘funeral plan contract’ to the scope of your existing permissions.

Find out more about applying for variation of permission and the fee you will need to pay.

Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR)

The SM&CR will apply to all directly authorised funeral plan firms. The regime is a set of rules and guidance that sets standards relating to professionalism, conduct and governance, and holds senior members of a firm to account. 

You must follow the requirements of the SM&CR, however, it doesn’t require specific qualifications for individuals working at funeral plan firms. 

To find out how we will apply the SM&CR to funeral plan providers and intermediaries, read Chapter 7 of our Policy Statementand further detail in Chapter 8 of CP21/4.

More information on the authorisation process

Read more on our authorisation and supervision processes (please note, this isn’t specific to the funeral plans sector):

Consumer contracts and advertising

All firms need to make sure that their contracts with consumers are fair and their advertising is legal, decent, honest and truthful. This applies to all firms and is not linked to our regulation.

It's your responsibility to make sure that:

  • your terms are written clearly and are not unfair under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 
  • you follow the Committee of Advertising Practice’s Advertising Codes, which are administered by the Advertising Standards Authority
  • you don’t engage in commercial practices that may be regarded as unfair under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

Find out more about unfair contract terms and what you need to consider.

Timeline

Stage

Date Details
Legislation January 2021 The Treasury made legislation bringing the regulation of pre-paid funeral plans into our remit.
Consultation Paper 2 March 2021 We published a Consultation Paper to seek feedback from our stakeholders on our proposed rules. The consultation closed on 13 April 2021.
FCA fees consultation April 2021 We published a consultation paper on our fees proposals for funeral plan firms in our annual consultation paper on FCA fee-rates.
Policy Statement and Consultation Paper on further proposals July 2021 We published our Policy Statement with a package of rules. We also published a Consultation Paper on further proposals.
Draft application form available on Connect August 2021 You can access the application form on our system Connect.
Authorisation  1 September 2021

The authorisations gateway for firms is open. You will need to submit an application for authorisation or variation of permissions. The application fee will increase by 40% for applications made after 1 November 2021. 

Regulation in force 29 July 2022 All firms that want to continue operating as providers or intermediaries for pre-paid funeral plans will need to be authorised or exempt (for example, an appointed representative) by this time. 

Page updates

01/09/2021: Information added applications open for authorisation
06/08/2021: Editorial amendment
04/08/2021: Information added What you need to do
29/07/2021: Information added Date clarified '1 November'.
23/07/2021: Information added Registering for Connect.
13/07/2021: Editorial amendment
07/07/2021: Information added Webinar: funeral plan intermediaries
05/07/2021: Information changed Information on PS21/8
05/05/2021: Editorial amendment Information for providers and intermediaries moved to new pages.
14/04/2021: Information changed Consultation Paper closed.