The NAFD has welcomed a new report by consumer group Fairer Finance, commissioned by Dignity plc, into the strengths and weaknesses of the pre-paid funeral plan market.

Alison Crake, President of the National Association of Funeral Directors, said: “The National Association of Funeral Directors fully supports the view of Fairer Finance that change is needed in the oversight of the funeral planning market.

“A funeral plan can provide important reassurance and certainty to families and there are a number of excellent funeral plan providers. However, in our view, the current lack of comprehensive oversight is allowing sharp sales practices and a lack of transparency to flourish in parts of the market and NAFD members have reported numerous instances to us where funeral plan providers have not acted in the best interests of either the public who have paid for funeral plans, or the funeral directors who will care for them.

“Since November 2016, we have called for strengthened regulation of funeral plan firms and offered our support to both the current voluntary regulator, the Funeral Planning Authority, and the Financial Conduct Authority, in helping this to be achieved. Any future regulatory regime must be proportionate to the size of the funeral plan market and it must cover all funeral plan providers, not just those who volunteer to abide by high standards.

“Consumers must be given enough information and time to make an informed decision. As a minimum, the NAFD would like to see a compliance regime which operates independently of the funeral planning market and one which all funeral plan providers are compelled to abide by. We would like to see far more detailed information about the terms of a funeral plan provided in all cases, such as where funds are being invested and what additional costs there might be at the time of carrying the plan out. There must also be a requirement to ensure that funeral directors are informed when a plan is being sold with their name against it as nominated funeral director, have an opportunity to agree the terms and their decision be confirmed to the family before the standard ‘cooling off’ period ends.”

For further information and guidance on buying a funeral plan, please click here.