The Partnership Podcast

FPA regulation with Adam Ginder

November 26, 2019 Golden Charter Season 1 Episode 1
The Partnership Podcast
FPA regulation with Adam Ginder
The Partnership Podcast
FPA regulation with Adam Ginder
Nov 26, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Golden Charter

Episode 1 of the Partnership Podcast sees new SAIFCharter Chair Adam Ginder talk to Malcolm about the new Funeral Planning Authority rules and code of practice, both coming in from January 2020. They touch on the regulatory timeline, support available, and Adam's insights from the first few months of his chairmanship.

Show Notes Transcript

Episode 1 of the Partnership Podcast sees new SAIFCharter Chair Adam Ginder talk to Malcolm about the new Funeral Planning Authority rules and code of practice, both coming in from January 2020. They touch on the regulatory timeline, support available, and Adam's insights from the first few months of his chairmanship.

Malcolm Flanders [00:00:04] Hi, welcome to the first edition of the Partnership Podcast, your update on the business matters that affect you, the independent funeral director, ensuring you are kept up to date with the latest developments in the profession. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:00:16] I'm Malcolm Flanders from Golden Charter, and I'll be using this new approach to guide you through other upcoming changes that will affect your business, and right now that means we're focusing on regulation. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:00:27] As an independent funeral director who partners Golden Charter, you are already in a good position as we move towards a more formally regulated funeral planning market. Over the coming months we will be providing guidance and support to ensure your business continues to thrive in an increasingly regulated environment. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:00:49] In this issue of the Partnership Podcast, we are going to be discussing the upcoming changes to the funeral planning authority Rules and code of practice, in terms of what this means for your own business and also for Golden Charter. So I'm delighted to be joined by Adam Ginder today, our new chair of SAIFCharter. So, Adam, a few weeks into your new role, how are you seeing things so far? 

Adam Ginder [00:01:10] So having taken over the chair role from Julian Walker back at the AGM in September, one of the things that I am privileged to be able to do is to work with a large group of funeral directors, which represent the membership across the country. And they help us to guide and direct and develop how Golden Charter is working, through a series of different working groups and through the executive itself. And one of things that we benefit from this is it gives us a good understanding of the customer preference that we have and a wide view of that. And it's helping Golden Charter to build the market that meets the current customer need. 

Adam Ginder [00:01:53] And this gives us an idea of what's going forward within our own profession. One of the things that is on the horizon for me is as the chair is the new FPA regulations that come in on the 1st of January that affect the market. Can you explain, for the benefit of your listeners, what the FPA is and why they're important? 

Malcolm Flanders [00:02:16] Yes, sure, Adam. Right, the Funeral Planning Authority has been around for a number of years now and ostensibly exists to maintain standards of the way that funeral plans are promoted and sold to customers. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:02:32] They exist protect the customer at the end of the day. And they also have a number of rules that they expect all the registered providers with them to abide by and they monitor that. So in a way, it's a published framework within which all of us that are registered with the Funeral Planning Authority need to abide by. But at the heart of it, it's about protecting the families and the customers who buy a funeral plan from a provider to make sure they get a good deal, they're treated well, and if they have any cause for complaint in the way that process has been delivered, they have recourse, and that process is documented. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:03:14] So that is what they do today. What is happening from the 1st of January is that the Funeral Planning Authority have refreshed some of their rules and are basically relaunching their code of practice quite deliberately, because whilst we know the funeral planning market will be regulated by the FCA, that won't happen for a couple of years. So right now, we have to focus on the requirements of the Funeral Planning Authority, who are our regulatory body today. 

Adam Ginder [00:03:46] So going forward, you talked about the FCA and the future regulation coming in. The new code of practice coming in from the FPA is a stepping stone towards where we're going. It's bringing funeral directors closer to the future under regulation. It ensures that we're doing the right thing for our families and ultimately treating customers fairly. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:04:08] Absolutely, yes. And it's crucial to understand that, that it is a stepping stone and actually all of us, and by that I mean providers as well as funeral directors who sell funeral plans, need to pay attention to this. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:04:23] And there are three core elements that, if I can summarise. One is treating customers fairly, which is a policy that has been in the business market for many years now. And that's about formalising customer processes to make sure that customers and families are treated the correct way. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:04:38] Secondly, is ensuring that vulnerable customers do not suffer any detriment whatsoever in the process of discussing and purchasing a plan. And again, I know funeral directors have been handling vulnerable customers for many, many years, but there is a requirement now to document this and ensure there is consistency in the way that is handled across the country. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:05:00] And thirdly, an element I'll talk about later on, is there is a need now to formalise and go one step further with our funeral director guidelines and create a more formal agreement between ourselves and our selling funeral directors. And all providers will be expected to abide by that code of practice. 

Adam Ginder [00:05:19] So this isn't something that's just for Golden Charter and the future directors of SAIFCharter who work with Golden Charter, this is for everybody who's in the funeral plan market.

Malcolm Flanders [00:05:28] Absolutely. All providers and all funeral directors who discuss and sell funeral plans to families. Yes. What it will mean effectively is a bit more detail around training, a bit more detail around treating customers fairly, treating vulnerable customers the right way, but also ensuring that our products, and the way in which these products are discussed, with your families, are done the right way for customers at their time of need. Or if they're planning, just thinking through what the right and correct language is, all of that comes into that more formal arrangement. And we'll be coming out to all our selling funeral directors over the next few months to have that conversation. 

Adam Ginder [00:06:11] Now, as SAIFCharter members, we know that we can be part of working groups and ultimately go on to join the executive, where we as funeral directors can have influence in product innovation and design and how it's marketed and how we meet these requirements. Going forward, is this still going to be something that funeral directors can be part of, developing how we manage our products for our customers? 

Malcolm Flanders [00:06:36] Yes, absolutely, Adam. In fact we really, really would like even more funeral directors to get involved. We are doing this as a partnership. What we need is the insight, we need the experience, we need the support of funeral directors and the most effective way of making regulation work for the customer, the family and ourselves is to do that in partnership. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:07:00] So we are always looking for feedback. We're always looking for ideas. And bear in mind that we start to roll out this new code of practice, we will be engaging with all our funeral director partners. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:07:12] So, yes, if anyone thinks a different approach could work, then please let us know. But bear in mind, we still have to abide by the code of practice. And it is a very good stepping stone for the ensuing regulation, which we know is coming through the FCA in two years time. 

Adam Ginder [00:07:29] You mentioned about the partnership model and we as a business have gone through this and had our review, and progressed forward. One of the things that I found as a funeral director is that this gives a personal approach as to how Golden Charter can work with our business individually and how we understand where our particular market in the areas that we are. Have you found that with other funeral directors? 

Malcolm Flanders [00:07:54] Yes, I have. We've been running the partnership service now for almost a year, and I have spoken to the funeral directors as far north, up in the north of Scotland, all the way down to the south coast, east and west. All have valued that type of conversation, which is more about how can we help you help your business in the years ahead. And it was a deliberate move on our part to broaden that support. And I would say now, for any change going forward, whether it's regulation or any other business challenge, do reach out and use your business manager.

Malcolm Flanders [00:08:29] We believe it's the biggest part of our proposition. We have 26 of these managers across the country to support our funeral director network, and they are available and focused on the funeral director. So please use them in the next few months and beyond. 

Adam Ginder [00:08:43] So I think the message I'm getting here and hopefully the funeral directors listening to this are as well, is that Golden Charter's there to support us. They're there to help us build our business and help us to move forward into what will potentially become a regulated industry. And that's going to start with the FPA regulation coming out and code of practice coming out in January. So, Golden Charter, there to help support us, and through SAIFCharter as well, funeral directors have got a chance to be part of this growth and this progression as it goes on. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:09:14] Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And in turn, we want a prosperous independent community. I'm absolutely convinced that this is manageable. People should not be that worried. It's about an evolution of professionalism that happens to all markets. And as long as funeral directors keep true to their current and very valuable service propositions, we will help put the process around that and move through this, and I think with considerable professionalism, but at the end of the day, just keeping the customer firmly at the heart of it. 

Adam Ginder [00:09:48] Finally, if a funeral director has got concerns at this particular time with regards to the FPA and a new code of conduct coming out in January, what can they do then? 

Malcolm Flanders [00:10:00] They can get in touch with us. Now look, there's a number of ways you can do that. You've got your own business manager out there. You can email ourselves here at Golden Charter. There's an email address at

Malcolm Flanders [00:10:13] And look, by all means, email me or phone me direct. But do not wait, if you've got any questions you think need answering, please get in touch, that is what we're here for. 

Adam Ginder [00:10:25] So I think going forward, we're in the best place, both for funeral directors and for Golden Charter. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:10:32] I think so, yes. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:10:36] Future editions will explore more of the practical requirements of regulation that are set to impact us all in the new year. I'll be speaking to people across the funeral profession and beyond to see what we can learn and share to help Independents prepare for the future. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:10:51] You can keep up to date with future episodes, the same way you found this one. And we'll keep you up to date through a SAFInsight and by Goldenews. So keep an eye on, and for emails from Golden Charter. 

Malcolm Flanders [00:11:04] And remember, you have a dedicated Golden Charter business manager if you have any questions or thoughts about what you like to hear from this podcast. And don't be afraid to contact me direct on or ring me direct on 07713 313 034, if you have good ideas on what else you would like to hear about. I'll talk to you next time on Golden Charter's Partnership Podcast.