From July 2022, the FCA will start regulating firms that provide and arrange pre-paid funeral plans. A pre-paid funeral plan allows customers to pay upfront or in instalments for a funeral. These plans may help protect customers against rising funeral costs and help relieve the financial burden on their family.
As a matter of urgency, all firms currently operating within the sector must consider how FCA regulation impacts their business and begin to make the necessary preparations. Before September 2021, firms need to apply directly to the FCA for authorisation or, if available and preferred, seek to become an Appointed Representative (see below). Applications made after the 1st of November 2021 may incur a higher fee, so we recommend being prepared to submit your application as soon as the system opens. Contact us to see how Scott Robert can help you prepare and comply with the FCA’s requirements.
You should also be aware of the FCA’s rules and expectations for authorised firms and make the necessary preparations to ensure that those standards can be met once you are authorised. Realistically, this means that firms should begin preparing now in order to ensure that an application is submitted before September 2021.
For those seeking to become Appointed Representatives (other than Introducer Appointed Representatives) there are also considerations in terms of solvency, suitability and whether the Appointed Representative is capable of being effectively supervised by the Principal. This does not apply to Introducer Appointed Representatives. If this is something you would like to explore, contact us to see how we can help you prepare to be onboarded by a Principal Firm.
Firms which do not become an Appointed Representative, or do not apply to the FCA for authorisation, or do apply but do not satisfy the FCA’s standards and requirements, must cease trading in relation to funeral plan activity. Cessation of this activity is required to be achieved in an orderly way and should take effect before July 2022.
The FCA’s rules are currently in draft form during the consultation period which closes on the 13th of April 2021. Whilst these rules are still subject to change, we recommend making the necessary considerations for your business to prepare for this change of regulation. Funeral plan providers and intermediaries will also be subject to the FCA’s supporting rules and requirements, including those brought in under the Senior Managers & Certification Regime.
Appointed Representatives and Principal Firms
If you have been directly authorised by the FCA, you are permitted to onboard Appointed Representatives where you have successfully applied to the FCA for a firm to be authorised for this purpose. Under this form of arrangement, you would act and be known as a Principal Firm. An Appointed representative is a firm that utilises the Principal firm’s authorisation to conduct the same activity/activities as the Principal Firm and with the Principal firm’s oversight.
This arrangement can go both ways, and if you do not want to be directly authorised by the FCA, you may seek out a principal to appoint you as their Appointed Representative. Once appointed, you would be able to conduct regulated activity without being directly authorised. However, you are answerable to your Principal and often this means an ongoing financial cost.
Onboarding Appointed Representatives requires significant planning and consideration in order to satisfy the FCA’s rules and before an application can be made to the FCA. Principal Firms must also be certain that they meet the FCA’s Threshold Conditions before any such appointment and in order to act as a Principal Firm. Scott Robert is well versed with these obligations. Contact us to see how we can help.
How can Scott Robert help you?
If you are unsure about how this change may impact your firm, you can speak with Scott Robert for a consultation today. We can look at your business and assess what it is you are doing, and if this change affects you. If it does, we can help you to prepare for FCA authorisation, including preparing your application to the FCA and giving you the benefit of our knowledge and experience of FCA regulation to help ensure you have the best chances of obtaining FCA authorisation or to perhaps prepare to be onboarded as an Appointed Representative. Once authorised, we can also help you on an ongoing basis thereafter, providing you the guidance and support you need to stay informed and confident in your approach.
If you are currently providing funeral plans and wish to become authorised by the FCA, Scott Robert can help.
Each applicant who works with Scott Robert is assigned a dedicated Regulatory Adviser who will support you throughout your application, answering queries you may have relating to the application and providing you with guidance and support.
The process starts with a fact find between yourself and one of our Regulatory Advisors where we will get to know you and your business and how you intend to provide your services.
We will provide you with advice and guidance on how to comply with the FCA’s requirements, identify any risks and propose remedial action.
We will then produce for you a series of documents to support your application and help ensure that you become authorised. These documents include a Regulatory Business Plan and Compliance Monitoring Plan. We also produce a compliance manual for you which contains documentation for you to implement within your business and upon authorisation to help enable you to comply with the FCA’s requirements.
An online application will then be completed along with all relevant forms, which will then be submitted to the FCA. Should there be any FCA questions, your Regulatory Adviser will work with you to draft a full response.
In short, we are here for our clients every step of the way. We provide our clients with the benefit of our knowledge and experience to not only help ensure that your application is successful, but that your business has the right foundations to ensure positive customer outcomes.
Ongoing FCA Compliance
As an FCA authorised person or firm, you might need help to ensure you comply with the FCA’s rules on an ongoing basis
We provide our clients with support they need to maintain compliance and avoid breaching the rules. Our bespoke service is individually tailored to each of our client’s requirements and objectives to help them meet them in the best way possible.
Whether you need documentation to help you remain compliant, require ongoing advice or support, impartial monitoring of your activities or anything else, Scott Robert may be able to help.
Why Choose Scott Robert?
Scott Robert has been supporting firms through the FCA compliance process since 2008. In that time, we have helped hundreds of businesses to successfully gain and retain FCA authorisation.
We employ a team of compliance professionals who are both highly experienced and expertly skilled. We specialise in providing our clients with solutions to often complex regulatory requirements and compliance needs.
Our knowledge of FCA compliance enables our team to support you and your business, provide effective solutions to any problems you face and help you to devise and implement strategies that work for your business and your customers.
Conducting regulated activities without the correct authorisation is a criminal offence, speak to one of our experts today for confidential and no obligation advice regarding FCA authorisation.
If you want to know more about becoming FCA authorised or maintaining authorisation as an FCA authorised firm, speak to one of our experts today for confidential and no obligation advice by calling 0161 413 2796 to find out more.
Insurance distribution, previously known as insurance mediation, is a common model Scott Robert has assisted in the application process.
You can find out more about whether your firm’s activities require FCA authorisation on the FCA website or you can download our free guide to FCA authorisation below.
Applicant firms who seek FCA authorisation for insurance activity will require professional Indemnity Insurance, satisfy prudential requirements and be able to demonstrate they are ready, willing and organised.
The FCA also have minimum ‘Threshold Conditions’ the applicant firm will need to meet before applying. Those who are in control of the firm or have management responsibilities must also demonstrate they are suitable and appropriate.
You can find out more about Funeral Planning by downloading our free factsheet from the “Access our factsheet” section below.