Golden Leaves has operated high levels of quality, standards and governance since it began providing in 1984

Golden Leaves Press Release July 2017

Fairer Finance research report recommends increased regulation of funeral plans

The report published recently by Fairer finance suggests that poor operational standards and sales techniques practiced by some funeral planning companies are putting consumers at risk. It is also apparent that many of these misdemeanours relate to companies that are not FPA registered providers. The report recommends that some level of increased regulation, governance and oversight within the market is required to raise quality and standards.

Golden Leaves is supportive of more stringent regulation in the sector, providing that it is realistic and proportional in its delivery and does not disadvantage the consumer by way of increased pricing or reducing choice. We believe that increased regulation by the FPA should be welcomed and although different planning companies have different operating models – the same high level of quality and standards should be operated by all.

Golden Leaves has operated high levels of quality, standards and governance since it began providing the pre-need product in 1984 and has been a FPA registered member since the Authority was founded in 2002. Golden Leaves impeccable history and heritage, has partially been based upon its drive for continually improving quality and standards in the sector, whilst being part of a family funeral group that has been caring for bereaved families since 1873.

Since its formation, Golden Leaves has been at the forefront of the Funeral planning sector. It was a founding member of the NAPFP (National Association for Pre-Paid Funeral Plans) and was heavily involved in launching the first nationally recognised Code of Practice which covered, amongst other items, correct ethical and compliant sales behaviour as well as clearly understandable marketing material. Golden Leaves were also pivotal some years later, in the negotiations with Her Majesty’s Treasury and the FSA in 2000 that led to statutory regulations and the formation of the FCA recognised sector self-regulatory body – the FPA (The Funeral Planning Authority) of which Golden Leaves is a founding member.

The Golden Leaves Trust fund has a reputation that is unblemished. Independently scrutinised and reported on annually by independent Actuaries JLT (who sit on the UK’S Institute of the Board of Actuaries) under FPA rules. The Golden Leaves Trust is fully regulated in a fashion that goes further than the Act of Parliament’s “Financial Services and Markets Act 2001’s Regulated Activities Order” dictates.

Our board of Trustees have significant experience in the fields of Consumer Protection, Trading Standards and Investment management. Find out about The Golden Leaves Trust here. Our investment banks are Julius Baer (The world’s most capitalised bank) who have also just won the EUROMONEY award as the “World’s best bank for Wealth Management” and Quilter Cheviot, one of the largest UK Investment banks that have been at the forefront of the investment sector for over 240 years, having themselves won more than 20 awards over the last two years and are accredited a 5* rating for portfolio management. All funds received for funeral plans are either placed into an insurance that is FCA regulated or an FPA regulated Trust fund providing security of funds to all of our clients.

An integral part of our organisational demands for quality, standards and security of funds, is our robust management and governance of third party sales agents. Any Golden Leaves sales or marketing partner, undergoes a comprehensive programme of on-boarding due diligence checks, product and sales training, as well as ongoing monitoring and compliance governance. Applications received via our telephony portal (created in partnership with Sunlife trading as AXA Wealth) are recorded and the sales process and scripting approved by our FCA compliant partners. Plan applicants are “client satisfaction called” and taken through a comprehensive sequence of compliance questioning (which is also recorded) to ensure their satisfaction with the product they have purchased, its service inclusions and the way the sale was conducted in the first instance.

Golden Leaves are happy to engage with and be party to, any additional sector discussions surrounding increasing regulation, as we firmly believe that it is in the interests of consumers that all funeral planning companies in the market should adhere to FPA regulation and the high standards it demands of its registered providers.

If you would like any further information please email info@goldenleaves.com