Trust Funds Explained - Your investment is safe
Are Funeral Plans Safe?All funeral plan providers we advise on safeguard your money by using a Trust Fund, which is protected by UK law under the Regulated Activities Order, Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
Article 60 of the Regulated Activities Order stipulates ‘sums paid by the customer under the contract will be held on trust for the purpose of providing the funeral and that the following requirements will be met with respect to the trust:’
Trust Fund Rules
- The trust must be established by a written instrument.
- More than half the trustees must be unconnected with the provider.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Maximum care has been taken to ensure the Trust Fund in which our customers’ monies are invested within complies with all current legislation, and all funeral plan companies we advise on comply with this code of practice.
How Secure Is My Money in a Trust Fund?
Money paid into a Trust Fund is not held by an individual funeral director, or even the funeral plan provider – they are held securely, managed by a qualified and independent fund manager who has no connection with your funeral plan provider.
The Trust must be assessed at least once every three years to calculate the assets and liabilities of the fund. Most Trust Funds release their reports on the over a ll health of the fund – here you can find a summary of how the Trust Fund is run, and some include the most recent reports from the plan providers we advise on.
Dignity – National Funeral Trust FundThe independent National Funeral Trust Fund was set up in 1986 to protect both our customers and our funeral directors. It’s a completely separate legal entity and its assets are independent of Dignity and all its funeral directors. It’s there, so that even in the unlikely event of Dignity going out of business, your money will still be protected.
The Trust Fund is carefully invested and managed by some of the most respected financial firms in the UK – to ensure that no matter what, there are sufficient funds within the Trust Fund to honour our promise to our Planholders.
To give you complete confidence in our funeral plans, we have the Trust Fund actuarially valued and audited annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst Young – Here you can find the 2016 Annual Report
Golden Leaves – The Golden Leaves Trust
The Golden Leaves Trust independently manages the funds to achieve stable long-term growth, specifically to cover the increasing cost of funeral services. The Trust is regulated in compliance with The Financial Services and Markets Act 2001, and is overseen by a board of trustees, who have appointed Julius Bär and Quilter Cheviot as the investment fund managers for the Trust, and Lloyds TSB as the fund’s banker. The fund is annually, independently audited and subject to strict actuarial reporting to ensure that it remains solid, stable, and above all, completely secure.
Pure Cremation - Pure Cremation Trust
Funds are paid directly into the Pure Cremation Trust, an independent fund to safeguard your money and to pay for your funeral when it is needed. The Pure Cremation Trust has four Trustees, three of whom are completely independent, with no connection to Pure Cremation Ltd. All three of the independent Trustees are experts in their fields, law, accountancy and insurance. Their remit is to oversee the proper investment of the funds and to ensure that the Trust complies with the laws and regulations governing pre-paid funeral plans.
Are Funeral Plans Regulated by the FCA?
The industry is currently subject only to voluntary regulation, and this is by the Funeral Planning Authority. Help provided by the FPA is limited, and it doesn’t offer any additional financial guarantee to the public. Companies offering funeral plans are not legally required to be registered with the FPA. A funeral plan company registered with the FPA have undergone additional scrutiny and adhere to a Code of Practice, which includes rules on conduct, marketing and advertising and rules on plan funds. We only advise on funeral plan companies that use a Trust Fund to safeguard money - not all of these providers are registered with the Funeral Planning Authority. Dignity and Golden Hands are members.
What Happens if my Funeral Plan Provider goes out of business?
In the unlikely event that your funeral plan provider goes out of business, money paid towards your plan will be protected by the trust, which is under the control of an independent trustee. The trustee will work to find another company to complete the administration of the plans. The funds that will eventually be needed to pay for the funeral director’s services are always held securely.
Whichever fund your money is invested in, you can have the peace of mind that in the extremely unlikely event that if your pre-paid funeral plan provider ever did go out of business in the future, your funeral plan money will always be available.