On 15th February, the FCA published a statement on funeral plan provider applications for authorisation. The statement reminds applicants that the FCA will not approve an application unless it is satisfied that:
- the applicant will sell funeral plans which offer fair value, meet consumer needs and are sold fairly;
- the applicant is well run, adheres to high conduct standards and has sufficient resources and risk transfer arrangements so it can deliver funeral services; and
- consumers have time and all the information they need to make better informed decisions when choosing between different products and whether a funeral plan is right for them at all.
Providing a funeral plan becomes a regulated activity from 29 July 2022, and the FCA has already made clear that it is unlikely that providers that have not already submitted an application for authorisation will be authorised by this date. The statement released this week might indicate that the FCA is not seeing applicants being as 'ready, willing and able' to comply with its rules as it might have hoped.
"This process is designed so only well-run funeral plan providers able to provide a valuable service to their customers can continue to operate. We warned firms to plan for the new regulatory regime or prepare to leave the market in an orderly manner."