Dignity comments on Fairer Finance's report 'Towards Regulation of the Prepaid Funeral Planning Industry'

Dignity today welcomes the publication of Fairer Finance’s report 'Towards Regulation of the Prepaid Funeral Planning Industry'. This follows the report Dignity conducted with Fairer Finance in July 2017, which highlighted a lack of regulation and misleading sales practices, targeted at vulnerable and elderly consumers, in the prepaid funeral market.

Fairer Finance's follow up report has been funded by Co-op Funeralcare, Dignity, Golden Charter and Ecclesiastical and looks in detail at possible routes towards statutory regulation as well as considering how the existing voluntary framework could be improved.

There is no statutory regulation for the funeral planning market and instead it is regulated by The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) a voluntary organisation set up by the industry. Not all plan providers are registered providers of this body.

Dignity supports many of the Fairer Finance report suggestions and in particular how practice in the funeral plan market can improve in the short to medium term. However, the report argues that whilst statutory regulation of the industry is necessary it should fall under the FCA’s remit as opposed to the existing voluntary trade body, the FPA. In its White Paper, published earlier this month, Dignity calls for the current voluntary regulator to be granted a statutory remit with all firms compelled to register with the regulator in order to trade.

Simon Cox, Dignity's Head of Insight and External Communications, said "We were pleased to partner once more with Fairer Finance and thank them for all their hard work compiling this report. It is important to have an influential independent voice calling for stronger regulation of the funeral plan market and together with Fairer Finance and many industry players we have a strong and compelling case. Dignity reiterates its call on HM Treasury to launch further policy action to strengthen the market, and to consult on how regulation can most effectively improve outcomes for consumers."

"We have been calling for regulation for many years and recently conducted some research that showed that whilst improvements are evident in the market, since our join report with Fairer Finance last July, misleading sales practices continue. Our advice and preference would be for a statutory FPA, with all firms compelled to register with the regulator, but if this is not feasible, FCA regulation would be preferable to the status quo."

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