Full list of safe funeral plan providers (and the ones to avoid)
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has authorised 26 prepaid funeral providers (it originally identified 66 in the market) which collectively hold 1.6 million plans. Together, they make up 87% of the market.
It comes after the government announced in January 2021 that the funeral plans market would come under the scope of the FCA, following concerns about the conduct of some prepaid funeral plan providers.
And with estimates suggesting the number of prepaid funeral plans sold in 2021 grew 35% in the year to reach 217,000, bringing an end to the four-year decline in annual sales, according to figures provided by Pure Cremation, it’s well-timed.
As part of the new rules, there is a ban on cold-calling and on commission payments to intermediaries, such as funeral directors.
There’s also a requirement for a funeral plan to deliver a funeral unless the customer dies within two years of taking out the plan, in which case a full refund will be offered.
It also means customers have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) so their money is protected if a provider goes bust. And complaints can also be taken to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), even if the issue happened before the regulation by the FCA, as long as the provider was registered with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) at the time the issue occurred.
Just this week the FCA published the terms of the new Consumer Duty and it confirms it will apply to funeral plan providers. This means 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.
This is the list of prepaid funeral plan providers which are now regulated, so you are protected as above:
- Alternative Planning Company Limited (this includes Choice and Choice funeral plans from Funeral Partners)
- Avalon (Europe) Limited
- Avalon Trustee Company Limited
- Celebration Of Life Planning Ltd
- Central England Co-Operative Limited (this includes CEC FPL and CEC Funeral Plans)
- Co-Op Funeral Plans Limited (this includes Co-op Funeral Plans and Co-op Funeralcare)
- Crystal Cremations Ltd
- Dignity Funerals Limited
- Distinct Funeral Plans Limited
- Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited (this includes Perfect Choice Funeral Plans)
- F A Albin & Sons Limited
- Family Funerals Trust Limited
- Freeman Brothers (this includes Peter Christopher Freeman and Brigid Mary Freeman)
- Golden Charter Limited (this includes Golden Charter and localfuneral.co.uk)
- Golden Leaves Limited
- Haven Personal Funeral Plans Ltd (this includes Haven Personal Funeral Plans and Haven)
- Independent Funeral Planning Services Ltd (this includes IFPS and The IFPS)
- Low Cost Funeral Limited (this includes Affordable Funerals and Memoriafunerals.co.uk)
- M&F Funeral Services Ltd (this includes M&F Funeral Services)
- Open Prepaid Funerals Limited (this includes Open Prepaid Funeral Plans and Open Funeral Plans)
- Peace Burials Limited (this includes Peace Funerals)
- Plan With Grace Limited
- Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd
- Southern Co-Operative Funerals Limited (this includes Southern Co-op and The Co-operative Funeralcare)
- The Independent Family Funeral Directors Ltd (this includes Fosters Family Funeral Directors)
- William Alty & Sons Limited
The FCA said it will update its financial services register tomorrow which lists all the providers which have been authorised and which funeral plan buyers should check first.
As it stands, these plans from these providers are not covered by FCA regulation, so they’re not covered by the FOS or FSCS. They are not allowed to sell or carry out funeral plans in the UK. As such, customers are urged not to buy new plans from them while existing customers should contact them and ask for a refund. If you can’t get in contact with the firm, get in touch with the FCA:
- Bristol Memorial Woodlands FP
- Fox Milton and Co LTD, trading as Unique Funeral Plans
- Iberian Funeral Plans (based in Spain)
- Mairi Urquhart & Son Ltd
- Not for Profit Funeral Plans
- P S Cremations Funeral Planning Ltd
- Safe Hands Plans Limited
- Sovereign Lifecare Ltd
- Tyde Group Limited.
A total of 13 firms that applied for authorisation before 1 March 2022 but which have not been authorised, have until 31 October 2022 to transfer their plans to authorised firms or refund customers. These firms can continue administering funeral plan contracts until 31 October but as they’re not regulated, they’re not allowed to sell new funeral plans so customers shouldn’t buy from them:
- Aura Life
- Capital Life
- Eternal Peace
- One Life Funeral Planning
- Pride Planning
- Prosperous Life
- Rest Assured
- Silver Clouds Later Life Planning
- SJP Litchfield
- Serene Funeral Planning Limited
- Wren & Fraser.
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.”