Answering your questions about Pure Cremation and the FCA
Message from our founders Bryan and Catherine Powell:
“We have designed the Pure Cremation Funeral Plan to be fair for each customer and to provide a fully-funded funeral at the time of need – when it really matters. That’s why we welcome regulation from the FCA so that everyone, whatever style of pre-paid funeral plan they choose, can have the same confidence that Pure Cremation offers its plan holders.
We know that some of you have questions about the transition to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and we hope the following information is both helpful and reassuring.”
What does FCA regulation of the funeral plan market mean for me?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will become the new regulator for the market, setting clear and stringent rules for how funeral plans are sold, how customers are treated and how their money is managed.
Has Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd applied for FCA authorisation?
How healthy is the Pure Cremation Funeral Plan Trust?
Our plan holders can be confident that the Trust holds more than enough money to carry out their plans, with all costs covered in full. This is monitored each month by Trustees and directors, with formal, independent assessment each year by an auditor and an actuary (see below).
The latest actuarial valuation of the Trust showed that it had 132% of the funding required to deliver all plans that have been sold. This comfortably exceeds the benchmark of 110% funding that the new regulator will set. A new actuarial valuation will be completed shortly.
Why is the Pure Cremation Trust so healthy?
Here’s how we’ve achieved a healthy surplus:
1. Setting Aside the Right Amount
For each Trust Plan sold the Trust receives more than the cost of delivering the service you have requested.
The Over 50s whole-of-life policy value has been selected to be higher than the current cost of delivering the service, complete with an uplift for inflation. That said, even if prices should rise faster than anticipated the
Pure Promise means that the plan provider and service provider carry the risk of any cost increases, not our plan holders’ families.
The Pure Cremation Funeral Plan Trust has always been carefully managed by independent Trustees who have appointed professional, FCA regulated fund managers.
These fund managers are tasked with carefully growing the value of the fund through a conservative investment approach and maintaining sensible cash reserves.
The health of the separate Trust is assessed by two independent professionals each year – an auditor who confirms the true value of the Trust fund, and an actuary who works out what this value means for the plan holders.
Both have confirmed that our policy of putting enough into the Trust in the first place, coupled with prudent fund management, has generated a very healthy position for the Trust with more than enough money to provide every plan holder’s cremation today.
Will Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd be authorised?
We are totally committed to securing authorisation and believe that our values and focus on customer care are aligned with the FCA’s objectives. We continue to work closely with the FCA to demonstrate that our people, systems, and plan structures meet the new standards - and while we have invested more than £1m in this process, we respect the fact that the final decision rests with the FCA alone.
Please note: The FCA has clearly stated that it won’t make any announcement about the list of authorised plan providers until July 29th, 2022. Any company claiming that they will be authorised before this date is not being truthful.
However, if it becomes apparent that a firm will be unable to meet the required standard, that firm will be invited to withdraw its application and begin an orderly wind down.
What if Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd is not authorised?
In this situation two things will happen:
1. Your money will continue to be kept safe until it is needed. Your plan will be fulfilled. Your family will be protected, as intended.
The Pure Cremation Funeral Plan Trust is completely separate from the plan provider and so will continue to hold and manage the funds for existing plan holders, and pay for all plan holder cremations as the need arises.
The Trust will make new arrangements with an authorised plan provider and, through them, continue to work with Pure Cremation Ltd, the company that currently fulfils all plans. Our Over 50s insurance-backed plans have the backing of Scottish Friendly Assurance and if we cannot provide a funeral then the sum assured can be paid to a different provider or directly to your chosen beneficiaries.
The healthy position of the independent Trust and the strength of the insurer means that your family will still get the full benefit of your prudent decision.
2. Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd will be unable to sell any further funeral plans and must begin an orderly wind down.
Every firm applying for authorisation has had to prepare a wind-down plan as part of the application process.
The wind down plan includes communicating with all customers about what is going to happen and when.
Is a funeral plan still a good idea?
A pre-paid funeral plan is a great way to protect your family from difficult decisions and any worry about finding the money to pay for your funeral. And the rising cost of living means it has never been more important to ensure your family is free from the prospect of taking on debt or struggling financially when also dealing with their grief.
How does a Pure Cremation Funeral Plan give me peace of mind?
1. Your wishes are clearly expressed.
Telling your family which style of funeral you want is priceless. It means they’ll know they’re ‘doing the right thing’…and won’t be tempted to spend more than you might want them to.
Our professionally designed plan holder pack contains everything you need to confirm that your plan is active, what is included and what your family should do when the time comes.
The separate Trust that receives plan holder funds has been set up properly with independent Trustees for good governance and excellent fund management from FCA approved professionals.
The most recent independent actuarial review confirmed that the Trust held 132% of the funds needed to support every plan holder’s cremation arrangements. The Trustees are responsible for keeping your money safe until it is needed.
In 2021 the Pure Cremation Funeral Plan became one of the UK’s most popular choices, with more than 65,000 new customers taking positive action to protect the ones they love while taking control of their arrangements. This success is founded on our sincere desire to offer individuals and families a new, high-quality alternative to the traditional funeral format at a fantastic price without compromising on the quality of care.
But you don’t have to just take our word for it.
We are extremely proud of the fantastic reviews that we’ve received and do our best to answer every single one!
Please do check out our reviews collected via the UK's two leading independent review platforms:
What makes Pure Cremation different from other plan providers?
Pure Cremation’s own highly trained staff look after you from the first moment you call for an information pack, through the set-up of your plan right up to the hand delivery of your ashes. This very special client relationship means we are totally committed to keeping the promises we have made, including covering the full cost of the service you have requested in your plan.
The owners of Pure Cremation have decades of first-hand experience of serving the bereaved. As a result, we truly understand our duty of care to both plan holders and their families and have been extremely careful in the design of our funeral plan, the way we sell it and its administration. Here are the highlights:
You can only purchase directly from us.
A Pure Cremation Funeral Plan can only be bought directly from us, which means that none of your plan money is used to pay commission to brokers.
Plan funds are held securely until needed.
Money for each Trust-based plan is placed directly into the independent Pure Cremation Funeral Plan Trust and the instalments for our Over 50s plan funds are used to purchase a whole of life policy from one of the UK’s largest mutuals.
In both cases, money can only be released from the Trust on receipt of proof of death and after securing two Trustee signatures.
The Pure family of companies, plus the independent Trust, work together in the delivery of your plan.
The plan provider (Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd) and the service provider (Pure Cremation Ltd) agree a sensible, guaranteed price and service standard for carrying out plan holder cremations, taking into account the funds available in the Trust. This ensures that your family will not have to pay a penny more when the time comes.
There is no need to do anything until after the FCA has announced which firms are authorised to continue selling pre-paid funeral plans. This will happen on July 29th, 2022.
We hope that the information we have provided here will put your mind at rest about the future of your Pure Cremation Funeral Plan.
Our friendly team are available on 0800 033 7737 to chat about any remaining concerns and give honest answers to any questions that you might have.
If you decide to cancel your plan now, here is a reminder of the terms and conditions that apply: Click here
Q & A
We submitted our application on the first day possible, September 3rd, 2021.
Our plans have been designed to protect customers and pay the full cost of their cremation whenever needed. For each Trust-based plan sold, the independent Pure Cremation Funeral Plan Trust receives more than the cost of delivering the service promised. The Over 50s whole-of-life policy value has been selected to be higher than the current cost of delivering the service, complete with an uplift for inflation.
The FCA officially begins its regulation of the funeral plan market on July 29th 2022 and no funeral plan provider will be authorised before this. All firms applying to be authorised have been working hard to be ready for the new rules as part of the application process, which began in 2021.
All existing Pure Cremation funeral plans will remain in effect because of the health of the independent, separate Trust and the strength of the insurer behind the Over 50s plans, albeit they will be transferred to an FCA authorised plan provider. Your money will continue to be kept safe until it is needed. Your plan will be fulfilled, and your family will be protected, as intended. However, Pure Cremation Funeral Planning Ltd will cease to sell new plans.
This good news will be widely publicised on our website, in our advertising, in the media and in communications with plan holders.