Independent Funeral Plan Advice is DEAD.
IF YOU ARE THINKING OF BUYING A FUNERAL PLAN – DELAY YOUR DECISION UNTIL AT LEAST AUGUST 2022.
The FCA is drowning half of the current providers out of business under a ton of wildly unhelpful bureaucracy. As ever, it is on the side of the staid big firms and the wealthy. I am sure they will find a bad egg or two, but at the cost of a massive reduction in both competition and the availability of Independent Advice (unless you are well off). Serving the public? Yes, just thoughtlessly and paying scant attention to their own research, some of which they failed to read.
Much of this page is about the fact that Independent Advice is now only really possible for fee-paying (well off) clients, so I am adapting this site, as far as I can, to allow you to narrow down the number of salespeople you need to speak to to get a decent plan. I firmly believe that the FCA plans are NOT in the public interest, but sadly their Charter is not concerned with the availability of Independent Advice, something you might mention to your MP!
So I am starting to adapt the pages to the new reality, and I invite anyone to let me know if I haven’t yet updated any of the information (there is a lot of work to do!)
So have a search through the pages, I will be adding a date updated to each page at the top, but earlier pages should still be of use as a starting point.
Ignore the rest of this page unless you are interested in Regulatory folly!
LATEST UPDATE – FCA looks set to authorise well under half of existing funeral plan providers!
- List of firms the FCA intend to authorise (as at 17th June – there will doubtless be a few more):
- Alternative Planning Company Limited
- Avalon (Europe) Limited
- Avalon Trustee Company Limited
- Celebration Of Life Planning Ltd
- Central England Co-Operative Limited
- Co-Op Funeral Plans Limited
- Crystal Cremations Ltd
- Dignity Funerals Limited
- Distinct Funeral Plans Limited
- Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited
- F A Albin & Sons Limited
- Family Funerals Trust Limited
- Freeman Brothers (this includes Peter Christopher Freeman and Bridgid Mary Freeman)
- Golden Charter Limited
- Golden Leaves Limited
- Haven Personal Funeral Plans Ltd
- Independent Funeral Planning Services Ltd
- Low Cost Funeral Limited T/A Affordable Funerals (this includes Memoria Limited)
- Peace Burials Limited
- Plan With Grace Limited
- Pure Cremation Planning Ltd
- Southern Co-Operative Funerals Limited
- The Independent Family Funeral Directors Ltd (this includes Fosters Family Funeral Directors)
- William Alty & Sons Limited
Whatever you do, please do NOT buy a plan WITHOUT seeing and READING the Small Print – and not over the phone – read the terms and conditions before even considering parting with money.
A few months ago I asked the Financial Conduct Authority how many firms had applied to offer Independent Advice on funeral plans. I believe there are currently well perhaps 60+. The answer was 6. I asked the same question well a month ago, and have not received an answer. The FCA has in the past made it clear that they think only the well-off deserve Independent Advice because they can afford to pay fees. They were totally disinterested when I pointed out that funeral plans by and large are not purchased by the wealthy. If you are not in the top 5% by wealth, you are unlikely to want to pay £250+ for Independent Advice. As a business, the FCA wants us to find £20,000 as security, and £3,500 just to apply, followed by annual costs which are very unlikely to be less than £8,000, probably far more, plus masses of time to deal with their bureaucracy. It is not possible, but maybe someone will come up with a solution – any ideas, please let me know!
It looks as if at least 40% of Funeral Plan Providers are leaving the market, (some major names will be amalgamating, and the FCA don’t like innovative firms either) dramatically shrinking consumer choice and competition. No doubt many more will find it impossible to persuade the FCA that innovation is a good thing, But the GOOD News is that you are likely to end up only having to do detailed research on around 30 companies, working through their terms and conditions and getting hold of their trust funding report, quite apart from working out which ones are the santised firms we refused to deal with as members of that dying breed Independent Funeral Plan Advisers., Of course, wealthy people, who don’t really need a funeral plan, will be able to afford to pay for Independent Funeral Plan Advice. But only if it is available, which does not seem likely. As ever, the Regulators remit is specifically to help the wealthy, something which really needs correcting. Maybe a Journalist will twig how much damage they continue to do under their badly written charter. One can dream……
So in effect, they expect you to become the experts and advise yourselves, as individual product providers can only offer “Guidance” – “COMPUTER SAYS YES” or “COMPUTER SAYS NO.” Good luck with that!
A Regulator ought to be looking to promote (best) Independent Financial Advice rather than rationing it to the well-off. The rest of us do not deserve the worst possible “GUIDANCE” – in effect, being our own Expert Independent Advisers. The FCAs duty is unfortunately wrongly set at ensuring that no one gets bad ADVICE, and the easiest way to do that is to prevent people from getting advice at all. They are doing an excellent job at that and impoverishing Britain greatly with their stupidity in not pointing out to Parliament that their legal brief is damaging your wealth by stopping 95% of us from getting INDEPENDENT Advice. Over 400,00 advisers have been lost since 1988 in a rising population with a greater need for advice.
WARNING: the incompetent and ignorant Financial Conduct Authority are in effect promoting the WORST plans on the market, as well as attempting to kill off independent advice on prepaid funeral plans. Their excuse is that they don’t regulate the rubbish plans – but they can only be sold by firms they regulate! The FCA are totally disinterested in ordinary people getting INDEPENDENT ADVICE – they would rather you were sold APPALLING plans or paid SUBSTANTIAL FEES (would you?) So it is doubly important to get Independent Advice NOW before the FCA makes it available only to the well-off. Some of the newer funeral plan companies are starting to realise that the FCA are impossible to deal with and are considering ceasing new business and making the market less competitive.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to offer genuine Independent Advice, as several decent companies have found the FCA Rules against accepting business from intermediaries makes such business so bureacratic as to not be viable So the FCA driven market will be full of single product salespeople and there is unlikely to be affordable independent advice in future. The vastly increased bureacracy is likely to increase prices significantly, as will escalating marketing costs.
On a more positive note, you can still start your prepaid funeral plan journey to make an informed decision rather than being sold a – perhaps – inappropriate or inadequate plan. Don’t think for one moment that all plans are all as good as each other: THEY ARE NOT! But time is short if you value advice – especially Independent Advice. 2022 will see a swift decline in the availability of advice (as opposed to “guidance” which is just reading your companies brochure to you. I will still be available at least until March 2022, but soon after that Independent Advice will no longer be viable for anyone who is not pretty wealthy (and doesn’t really need it!) A classic case of Regulation hurting those it is supposed to protect, sadly. Regressive is the word. Just as they have done in the Financial Advice market.
As from July 2022, Funeral Plan Advice must be fee based, and the new Regulators, the FCA have a history of incredible incompetence and ensuring that ordinary people can’t get advice – they are very much an elitist organisation, sadly. At the time of writing, well under half of existing funeral plan providers (despite deadlines) have managed even to get their applications for Regulation in, and many have just given up.
Very helpful advice and guidance when there is so much choice and options available. Also grateful for no sales pressure!
Really useful guide. Thank you.
I was so pleased to receive the details the very next day after I phoned you. This is extremely rare nowadays.
Trustworthy and straightforward – Steve’s value is not to be underestimated!
Thank you for your advice. All dealt with within a week.
Steve, You’ve been an absolute star. Brilliant Service.
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I still offer free personalised INDEPENDENT ADVICE – it is already as rare as hens’ teeth. Why take the risk of being sold an inferior plan which was never right for you? My Prepaid Funeral Plan Reviews will save you time, money and perhaps from being hard sold lower quality plans! But nothing beats a 5 minute chat.
A Prepaid Funeral Plan for the times
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Convertible Direct Cremation Plan. Start off with a Direct Cremation Plan, but with the ability to change it at any time before death into a normal funeral plan with a service.
Funeral plans are just as “simple” as cars! Not only that but sometimes you find the details of the plan you bought and paid for over the phone are not what you were lead to believe. Why not at least read our brief free Guide?
Funeral Plans are not all the same – and neither are people!
Go here to find out more about the Types of Prepaid Funeral Plan Reviewed
If you are NOT ready to go ahead, please ask for the Guide – recommendations are no longer possible sadly. Things change quickly so they may be different in a couple of months. My Free Guide to Prepaid Funeral Plans (above) is a great place to start.
Apparently, funerals are the biggest single items on credit cards they generally have to be paid for in advance of the event. Take advantage of 2021s lowest prices before the rest go up!
2021 was shaping up to be potentially a good year for clients of the Prepaid Funeral Review with more competition keeping prices down. But FCA Regulation due next year will probably add 6 to 8% to prices, and if history repeats itself, we will be forced to charge fees. So competition has temporarily slowed down the rate of increase – but not for long!
The Funeral Planning companies are also trying hard to improve their offers – some offering discounts, others adding additional guarantees, at least to cremation plans. So watch out for improving reviews, but be aware that some are also quietly removing benefits to appear more competitive. We don’t give ratings on our prepaid funeral plan reviews because what is perfect for one person is quite wrong for another – and sometimes they could be neighbours. We find out what you want, what you can afford, where you live and where you might live. Then we do the research and POST out a full WRITTEN recommendation with FULL details of the plan or plans we recommend as being just right for YOU.
The Direct Cremation market (with no ceremony) is growing too; it is much cheaper, but certainly only for a small group with families and friends who truly understand how they work. Do follow the link and have a look at our direct cremation funeral plan reviews.
It is great that competition is leading major brands to review their operations to maintain market share against the new breed of funeral planning companies, some of who market their products just by paying higher fees to salespeople. Where such a plan is truly competitive (and it does happen), we reduce the cost to you where we are permitted by contract to do so.
Bad / Good News: (or put another way, call us today or pay more!) Regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority is on the way (in 2021/2). It may get rid of some of the hard sell folk, but it will have a significant impact on funeral plan providers costs. We estimate the average prices will increase by nearly 10% to account for additional paperwork.
Security will be even stronger (and it is pretty good already). But the market will be less competitive and innovation will be discouraged. Worse still, Independent Advice and Prepaid Funeral Plan Reviews – like ours – could be driven out of the market. Why? The FCA intends to introduce a provider controlled enforcement scheme and we will potentially have to adopt entirely different procedures for recommending the plans of each of the 20 plus providers.
We are determined to stay independent and continue offering unbiased prepaid funeral plan reviews if it is humanly possible, and don’t want to suffer the fate that most Independent Financial Advisers did when the FCA took over – try getting genuine independent financial advice these days if you are not wealthy! (It is still possible – we know a few excellent IFAs who don’t mind helping ordinary people, it is just hard to find them.)