Keeping Your Money Safe

Some plans are provided through insurance policies and others operate under a legal trust that is operated independently to the funeral plan company.

Article 60 of the ‘Regulated Activities Order’ stipulates ‘sums paid by the customers under the contract will be held on trust for the purpose of providing a funeral and that the following requirements will be met with respect to the trust:’

These legal requirements are:

  1. ‘The trust must be established by a written instrument.'

    This is the trust deed


  2. 'More than half the trustees must be unconnected with the provider.'

    It is the trustees job to administer the fund for the purposes specified.


  3. ‘The trustees must appoint an independent fund manager who is an authorised person who has permission to carry out an activity of the kind specified in article 37 of the RAO, and who is a person who is unconnected with the provider, to manage the assets of the trust.'

    A fund manager is an institution that manages the investment of money.


  4. ‘Annual accounts must be prepared and audited by a person who is eligible for appointment as a company auditor under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1989 with respect to the assets and liabilities of the trust.'

    Annual accounts record the financial records of the trust, an eligible company auditor is usually a firm of accountants.


  5. 'The assets and liabilities of the trust must, at least once every three years, be determined, calculated, and verified by an actuary who is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries or the Faculty of Actuaries.'

    The purpose of the actuary is to value the trust to identify that there is sufficient funds in the trust to pay for the funerals of all plan holders. In doing so the actuary will consider:

    • available funds to pay for the funerals of the plan holders if all plan holders died at the same time

      and

    • available funds to cover the future liabilities of the costs of funerals based on the number of funerals expected each year and the expenses incurred administering the trust

    Simply put this would identity if the trust was in surplus or deficit. If Funeral Plan Market became aware that a funeral plan provider’s trust fund was in deficit the funeral plan provider would not be featured on our comparison or results tables.

How do I get my money Out?

Your money is held in a whole of life policy or trust fund and managed by the trustees until, on the death of the plan holder, it is paid back to the funeral plan provider to meet the costs of the contracted funeral. Typically, the funeral plan provider is responsible for providing the funeral rather than the insurance policy, trustees or the trust fund. Usually the insurance policy or trust fund provides an agreed sum of money and it is the funeral plan provider or allocated funeral director who would make up the shortfall, if any.

There is no paperwork to complete however the family of the deceased must register the death and obtain a death certificate (which costs £4). The funeral director will provide the family with help and advice on how to register the death.

When the plan holder dies their family will contact the funeral plan provider or allocated funeral director who will arrange for the person to be collected and taken to the funeral home. At this time the money will be released from the insurance policy or trust and paid to the funeral director (in some cases the family may be required to provide a copy of the death certificate for the money to be released however this should not impact on the funeral director commencing their services).

What if I want my money back before I die?

If your funeral plan is provided through an insurance policy and you cancel your policy you will not have to make any further payments however you may not get any of your money back and you will not have any cover in place for your funeral costs. If you choose a funeral plan provided through an insurance policy please check the terms and conditions carefully.

If you have paid for your funeral plan in full or are paying in instalments over a given term you can cancel your funeral plan at any time and you will receive your money back less a cancellation fee. The cancellation fee varies by provider. If you cancel your funeral plan within the cooling off period there are no cancellation fees and you will receive a full refund of all monies paid:

Funeral Plan Company Cancellation Fee Cooling off period
Avalon £395 30 days
Capital Life £595 21 days
Choice £500 30 days
Co-op £250 30 days
Dignity £395 30 days
Golden Charter £249 30 days
Golden Leaves 20% of Funeral Plan price 30 days
Memoria £480 - £895 (plan dependent) 30 days
Open Prepaid £345 30 days
Perfect Choice £160 + charge from Funeral Director 30 days
Pride Planning 20% of Funeral Plan price 14 days
The Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Trust £350 14 days
Safe Hands Funeral Plans £495 30 days
Silver Clouds Funeral Planning £495 14 days

Is my money safe?

Yes. When you pay for your funeral plan the money is held in trust (or is some cases in a whole of life policy) your money is completely protected so even if the funeral plan provider or funeral director went out of business your money will still be safe and secure to pay for your funeral.

Please click on the below links for further information on how your money is kept safe by each funeral plan provider:

  • Monies are held securely in the Avalon Trust No. 3. Then custodian trustee is Capita Trust Company Limited.
  • Managed by Standard Life Investments; their objective is to ensure that the funds in the trust grow securely and in line with the liabilities of the future funeral costs. Standard Life Investments are a leading global asset manager.
  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually by BDO LLP, the award-winning UK member firm of the BDO international network - a global accountancy and business advisory firm. They operate in 154 countries with 64,500 people working out of 1,400 offices worldwide.
  • The actuaries, Rowanmoor, perform an annual valuation to ensure there are sufficient assets to ultimately meet the future payments to funeral directors.

Avalon is a registered provider of The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), an organisation set up by the industry to regulate providers in the UK pre-paid funeral plan industry.

The primary aim of the FPA is to ensure providers that are registered with the FPA are operating in a manner that will result in customers getting the funeral they have paid for when it is needed. The FPA do this by checking that all registered providers abide by a set of Rules and a Code of Practice, which exceed the statutory requirements. For further information on the Rules and Code of Practise Avalon comply with please visit: http://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/regulations/

  • Monies are held securely in a Trust Fund independent of Capital Life that complies with the current legislations as set out in the Regulated Activities Order (Financial Services and Markets Act 2000), under Article 60.
  • Managed by the international fund manage Investec. Their objective is to ensure that the funds in the trust grow securely and in line with the liabilities of the future funeral costs. Investec is a international asset management company operating out of 40 offices worldwide.
  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually by Forrester Boyd Chartered Accountants, established in 1935 and winner of the Large Practice of the Year award at the 2016 Practice Excellence Awards
  • The actuaries, Rowanmoor, perform an annual valuation to ensure there are sufficient assets to ultimately meet the future payments to funeral directors.
  • BBS Law are the legal advisors to the trust, a leading commercial boutique law firm.

The money from plan-holders is held securely by a life assurance company in a whole of life assurance policy. This insurance policy is managed by Royal London Insurance Group.

Choice only works with UK based life assurance companies who are authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Funeral plans themselves are not regulated by the PRA or FCA.

By holding the funds in a whole of life assurance policy the Plan meets the requirements of Article 60(1) (a) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001.

Choice Funeral Plans are provided by Alternative Planning Company Limited who is a registered provider of The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), an organisation set up by the industry to regulate providers in the UK pre-paid funeral plan industry.

The primary aim of the FPA is to ensure providers that are registered with the FPA are operating in a manner that will result in customers getting the funeral they have paid for when it is needed. The FPA do this by checking that all registered providers abide by a set of Rules and a Code of Practice, which exceed the statutory requirements. For further information on the Rules and Code of Practise Choice comply with please visit: http://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/regulations/

There is limited information about the Co-operative trust fund for funeral plans, however the below is stated on their website:

The Co-op Funeralcare Funeral Plan is invested in a regulated whole-of-life insurance policy or trust fund in accordance with the rules and guidelines set out by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA).

This insurance policy is managed on our behalf by an independent company called Royal London and the trust funds are managed by independent trustees. The funds are also regularly reviewed and audited. The funds are then released to us when your funeral has been provided or in certain other limited circumstances in accordance with the terms and conditions.”

Co-operative Funeral Care is a registered provider of The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), an organisation set up by the industry to regulate providers in the UK pre-paid funeral plan industry.

The primary aim of the FPA is to ensure providers that are registered with the FPA are operating in a manner that will result in customers getting the funeral they have paid for when it is needed. The FPA do this by checking that all registered providers abide by a set of Rules and a Code of Practice, which exceed the statutory requirements. For further information on the Rules and Code of Practise Co-operative Funeral Care comply with please visit: http://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/regulations/

  • Monies are held securely in the National Funeral Trust. Then custodian trustee is Royal Exchange Trust Company Limited. Following the transfer of Royal Exchange Trust Company Limited to Capita plc (a FTSE100 Company), some activities are carried out by Capita Trust Company Limited under a Power of Attorney. Capita Trust Company Limited is a subsidiary of Capita plc and its business is the provision of a wide range of corporate and trust services.
  • All payments from the Trust’s bank accounts are controlled by, and all investments are registered in designated accounts held under the control of, Royal Exchange Trust Company Limited. The Custodian Trustee maintains regular contact with the Investment Manager and the Managing Trustees. The Managing Trustees are PT Hindley (Chairman), JW Hough and B Doherty.

The Investment Managers are: M & G investment Management Limited, Blackrock Investment Management Limited, Lazard Asset Management, Schroders and M & G (Guernsey) Limited.

  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually by Ernst & Young LLP.
  • The actuary, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, perform an annual valuation to ensure there are sufficient assets to ultimately meet the future payments to funeral directors.

Dignity is a registered provider of The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), an organisation set up by the industry to regulate providers in the UK pre-paid funeral plan industry.

The primary aim of the FPA is to ensure providers that are registered with the FPA are operating in a manner that will result in customers getting the funeral they have paid for when it is needed. The FPA do this by checking that all registered providers abide by a set of Rules and a Code of Practice, which exceed the statutory requirements. For further information on the Rules and Code of Practise Dignity comply with please visit: http://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/regulations/

  • The Golden Charter Trust (the Trust) was established in 1990 to hold, invest and administer the funds received from individuals and families who have purchased funeral plans sold by Golden Charter Limited. In 2015, the Trust transferred its investments into a wholly owned subsidiary company, The Golden Charter Trust Limited, to conduct its investment business more efficiently and to provide greater investment flexibility. The Directors of The Golden Charter Trust Limited are the Trustees of The Golden Charter Trust and so safeguards provided by the Trust were unaffected by this change. The Trust is administered by a Board of Trustees comprising of experienced business people from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • Managed by Aubrey Capital Management Limited as the principle fund manager to manage the investments of the trust. The investment fund managers include Royal London Asset Management, Baillie Gifford & Co, Legal and General, Aviva Investors, Artisan Partners, Partners Group, Newton Investment Management and Columbia Threadneedle.
  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually by Grant Thornton UK LLP.
  • The actuaries, Barnett Waddingham LLP, perform an annual valuation to ensure there are sufficient assets to ultimately meet the future payments to funeral directors.

Funeral Plans purchased in 1 payment or in monthly payments are held in the Golden Charter Trust. In addition Golden Charter provide a fixed monthly payments option.

If the Fixed Monthly Payment Option is chosen, payments will be used by Golden Charter to buy a life assurance policy on your life with AXA Wealth Limited.  Golden Charter will be the beneficiary of that policy not you or your Estate.  The proceeds of that policy will belong to Golden Charter to enable them to pay for your Funeral Services and Will Services.  You (or any person taking out the Funeral Plan for your benefit) will need to complete a Direct Debit instruction in favour of AXA Wealth Limited who will collect the monthly payments.  All Funeral Services are arranged by Golden Charter and will be provided by the Selected Funeral Director.  

Full benefit is paid after 2 years full payments have been received.

Golden Charter is a registered provider of The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), an organisation set up by the industry to regulate providers in the UK pre-paid funeral plan industry.

The primary aim of the FPA is to ensure providers that are registered with the FPA are operating in a manner that will result in customers getting the funeral they have paid for when it is needed. The FPA do this by checking that all registered providers abide by a set of Rules and a Code of Practice, which exceed the statutory requirements. For further information on the Rules and Code of Practise Golden Charter comply with please visit: http://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/regulations/

  • Plan-holders monies, that purchase a funeral plan paid for in full or in instalments over 1 – 5 years, are held securely in the Golden Leaves Trust and is overseen by a board of trustees.
  • Julius Baer and Quilter Cheviot are appointed as the investment fund managers of the trust. Julius Baer (The world's most capitalised bank) who have just won the EUROMONEY award as the “World’s best bank for Wealth Management”. Quilter Cheviot, one of the largest UK Investment banks has 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.
  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually by Jacob Cavannagh Skeet who have been established for over 85 years, since 1927.
  • The independent Actuaries JLT (who sit on the UK’S Institute of the Board of Actuaries), perform an annual valuation to ensure there are sufficient assets to ultimately meet the future payments to funeral directors.

Plan-holders that choose the Fixed Monthly Payment option, to provide the benefits of the Funeral Plan, have their Fixed Monthly Payments paid to AXA Wealth Ltd, trading as SunLife to secure a whole of life policy. Golden Leaves, (who are the beneficiaries of the policy,) will utilise the proceeds of the policy at the time of death, to provide the chosen funeral services.

With their roots going back to 1810, SunLife has strived to deliver affordable financial products providing peace of mind and excellent service to thousands of customers.

Golden Leaves is a registered provider of The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), an organisation set up by the industry to regulate providers in the UK pre-paid funeral plan industry.

The primary aim of the FPA is to ensure providers that are registered with the FPA are operating in a manner that will result in customers getting the funeral they have paid for when it is needed. The FPA do this by checking that all registered providers abide by a set of Rules and a Code of Practice, which exceed the statutory requirements. For further information on the Rules and Code of Practise Golden Leaves comply with please visit: http://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/regulations/

Memoria Low Cost Funeral Plans are administered by Ecclesiastical Planning Services, every penny of the full plan value (excluding the initial management fee) is held securely in a whole of life assurance policy and ring fenced to pay for your funeral when the time comes. To hold the pre-payment funds, Memoria work with UK-based life assurance companies that are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the PRA and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); this complies with the current legislations as set out in the Regulated Activities Order (Financial Services and Markets Act 2000), under Article 60. The Memoria whole of life policy is arranged by Ecclesiastical Life [on behalf of Memoria] and underwritten by Royal London.

Ecclesiastical Life are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority they are the 2017 Better Society’s Insurance Company of the Year and worldwide insure over £275 billion of property and in the UK they are the leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, insure more than 40,000 charities, 22,000 churches and over 40% of independent schools. They also provide specialist investment management, risk management, broking and advisory services. Their investment management business, EdenTree, has won multiple awards for its ethical investment funds.

Founded as a Friendly Society in a London coffee shop in 1861, Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with Group funds under management of £106 billion. Group businesses provide around 9.0 million policies and employ 3,449 people. (Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2017).

There is limited information about the Open Trust Fund for funeral plans, however the below information is provided on their website:

  • Monies are held securely in the Open Trust Fund operated by a board of Trustees.
  • The assets are held in collective funds (OEIC's) managed by some of the world's largest asset management companies chosen by the trustees after a rigorous selection process, assisted by independent financial advisers.
  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually.
  • A triennial actuarial report is prepared by independent actuaries in line with the Financial Conduct Authority's guidelines. 

Perfect Choice Funeral Plans are brought to you by Ecclesiastical Planning Services which is part of the Ecclesiastical Group. Ecclesiastical is a specialist, UK-based financial services group which has been protecting people, property and funds since it was founded in 1887. 

The money from plan-holders is held securely by a life assurance company in a whole of life assurance policy. Unlike some funeral plans, every penny of the full value of a Perfect Choice plan (excluding the initial management fee) is held securely and ring-fenced to pay for your funeral when the time comes. What's more, to ensure maximum financial security, Ecclesiastical only work with UK-based life assurance companies that are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the PRA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Funeral plans themselves are not regulated by the PRA or FCA.

By holding the funds in a whole of life assurance policy the Plan meets the requirements of Article 60(1) (a) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001.

Perfect Choice is a registered provider of The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), an organisation set up by the industry to regulate providers in the UK pre-paid funeral plan industry.

The primary aim of the FPA is to ensure providers that are registered with the FPA are operating in a manner that will result in customers getting the funeral they have paid for when it is needed. The FPA do this by checking that all registered providers abide by a set of Rules and a Code of Practice, which exceed the statutory requirements. For further information on the Rules and Code of Practise Perfect Choice comply with please visit: http://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/regulations/

  • Monies are held securely in the Pride Planning Trust.
  • Managed by the international fund manage Investec. Their objective is to ensure that the funds in the trust grow securely and in line with the liabilities of the future funeral costs. Investec is a international asset management company operating out of 40 offices worldwide.
  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually by Kay Johnson Gee (KJG LLP), the award-winning Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors.
  • The actuaries, Rowanmoor, perform an annual valuation to ensure there are sufficient assets to ultimately meet the future payments to funeral directors.

The Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Trust was established in January 2016 and just like the market leading funeral plan trusts it complies with the terms laid down by the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001 Chapter 14.

It is managed by four Trustees as follows:

  • Stephen Crewe, Consultant and Magistrate (independent trustee)
  • Karen Billington, Partner at Parkinson Wright Solicitors, Droitwich (independent trustee)
  • Alex Bayliss, Chartered Accountant (independent trustee)
  • Bryan Powell (a Director of Pure Cremation Ltd and of Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd)

Kames Capital is appointed as the qualified investment manager to look after the funds placed into the Trust

Pure Cremation Ltd are appointed as the suitable funeral provider to carry out plan-holders’ wishes

The trustees oversee the management of the Trust to ensure that funeral expenses can be met and the annual report is produced

  • Monies are held securely in the Safe Hands Funeral Plans Trust Fund that is operated entirely independently, by Pitmans Trustees Limited.
  • The Safe Hands Funeral Plans Trust is managed by UBS a multinational investment management firm, voted 'Global Best Investment Bank' at the Global Finance World's Best Investment Banks Awards 2016.
  • The trust accounts are produced and audited annually by Mazars LLP, one of the UK's largest accounting and auditing firms.
  • Mazars LLP, in addition to auditing the company's annual accounts, are also appointed as actuaries to the Safe Hands Funeral Plans Trust.
  • Monies are held securely in the Silver Clouds Trust Fund that is operated entirely independently, by Forest Edge Trustees and Secretaries Limited.
  • The trustees rely on investment advice from professional regulated advisers with safe custody of funds and holdings provided by Jarvis Investment Management Limited, who have been established for over 30 years.
  • The trust has only been in operation since 2016 and as such auditors and actuaries have yet to be appointed and will be appointed by the Trust following an appropriate selection process.

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