If you’re involved in selling pre-paid funeral plans (such as funeral directors, will writers and operators of lead generation websites), you must consider how you will lawfully continue to do so once our regulation starts.
Intermediaries are generally firms that:
- advise customers on funeral plan contracts, or
- arrange them for customers
Intermediary firms can either apply to be directly authorised by us or become an appointed representative of a principal firm.
Apply to be directly authorised
You can now apply for authorisation. You should submit a good quality application as soon as possible.
To do this, you will need to follow our authorisations process.
The regulated activities in relation to funeral plan sales/intermediation include:
- arranging (bringing about)
- dealing as an agent
- making arrangements
From 1 November, intermediaries that were already trading in the funeral plans market, when the authorisations gateway opened on 1 September 2021, will pay an application fee of £3,500.
New firms that began operating in the funeral plans market from 1 September 2021, will continue to pay the standard fee of £2,500.
An alternative to becoming directly authorised by us is to become an AR of an appropriately authorised firm (principal). You can become an AR of more than one principal firm but you can't be directly authorised as an AR.
The principal will be responsible for the conduct of each AR they’ve appointed to sell, market or promote pre-paid funeral plans on their behalf.
If you decide to become an AR, you will need to find a principal. You won’t need to apply to us for authorisation, but your principal will need to submit a notification of your appointment that we will consider.
Your principal firm won’t register you as an AR until it’s been authorised. However, it should contact you early in the process to discuss how you will work together under our regulation. You will enter into a contract with the entity that agrees to act as your principal firm.
If you wish to sell or offer funeral plans from more than one Principal, you need to become an appointed representative of each principal.
There is currently no cost for registering as an AR. We consulted in CP21/8 on proposals to impose an annual charge of £250 on each registered AR, payable by the principal firm. We stated in PS21/07 that we will consult further in October/November 2021 on whether to extend the £250 fee for ARs to funeral plan firms once they begin paying periodic fees from 2022/23.
Approved Persons Regime (APR)
If you become an AR, senior managers at your firm will be subject to the APR. This means that individuals that are performing activities described as 'controlled functions' will need to be approved and comply with the provisions of the APR.
Your principal firm is responsible for making sure that it has identified, and sought approval of, all individuals performing controlled functions. You can find more details on the APR in our Handbook.
Funeral plan intermediaries (directly authorised and appointed representatives) must meet our prudential requirements. You can find out more about these in our Policy Statement and rules.
You should prepare your business now to make sure that you have the financial resources to meet the requirements for day 1 of regulation. If you apply for direct authorisation you must demonstrate in your application how you will meet these requirements.
Ongoing reporting requirements
Directly authorised intermediaries will need to provide the following regulatory returns to us:
- 6-monthly prudential returns
- an annual complaints return
Read more in Chapter 7 of our Policy Statement.
ARs should discuss their reporting requirements with their selected principal firm.