The Good Funeral Guide Blog

An offer they can’t refuse

Thursday, 18 December 2014



A number of independent funeral directors have sent us a copy of a letter they have received from Golden Charter:

Dear _________

The latest Funeral Planning Authority statistics confirmed that Golden Charter is now the leading seller of funeral plans. As a non-seller, your existing plans currently do not attract our seller’s additional premium, payable when the plan matures. To date, Golden Charter has held this seller’s premium in the Trust in the hope that your company would, one day, become a seller of Golden Charter plans. 

However you, along with other non-selling independents, have declined several invitations to become sellers, and it appears unlikely that you will join us in the future. This means we are now holding money in the Trust which is unlikely to be required and much of that contingency can be released for redistribution to our shareholders and exclusive sellers in the years ahead. 

In November the board unanimously agreed that those funeral directors who do not actively sell Golden Charter funeral plans after 31 December 2015 will no longer be eligible for this historic premium on existing plans, even if they should become an active seller at a later date. 

It is not too late … I would urge you to reconsider …

Of course, this is not the only attraction. Sellers of Golden Charter plans also receive allocations of future funerals. We allocate far more plans or legal charges than all the other companies combined and the volume is growing rapidly. Gaining your share of that future market must make becoming a seller worthy of consideration. 


In closing, it is my hope that you will take this opportunity to join with Golden Charter, and become part of the success story owned by and run entirely for the benefit of independent funeral directors.

The letter is signed by Michael Corish, Managing Director.

12 comments on “An offer they can’t refuse

  1. James Baker

    Monday 29th December 2014 at 3:54 pm

    The great GC hegemony strikes again….Where do I start? Actually, I’m not even going to bother. Judging by previous comments those who see it the way I do will have joined up the dots for themselves a long time ago, whilst those who are still under the spell of funeral planning must be so lacking in basic financial literacy & common sense that they’re probably a lost cause anyway.
    In a previous blog Charles, you described funeral planning as being “sub-prime.” Bearing in mind you’re a celebrant rather than an FD, I wonder if you realise just how painfully accurate the “sub-prime” epithet really is – and in a few more ways than you might realise.
    As a non-proactive Perfect Choice seller, our pre-payment liabilities are containable, but even so I constantly find myself giving serious consideration to pulling out of selling funeral plans completely and instead actively advising clients to put their money in an ISA whilst simultaneously lodging a copy of their funeral wishes with us and/or their family or executors.
    For those of a certain age who, like me, retain fond childhood memories of watching Sesame Street, I would venture to suggest that funeral plans are the result of a children’s financial planning workshop and are brought to you with the help of the letters C.R.A and P.

    • Monday 29th December 2014 at 4:46 pm

      There is one positive choice for funeral directors James. Happy to explain why sometime if you’re interested.

  2. Tuesday 23rd December 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I am pleased to be with Perfect Choice, there is none of this bend your arm round you back treatment, to force you to do things they want.

    It’s shabby marketing, it started with good intentions, now commercial greed is taking over as with Dignity, with very high prices at need, although competitive with pre-need. The Co-op ! Lost there way. What sort of funeral service will we have in 10 to 20 years from now.

    Nothing to be proud of I would imagine.

    Very sad.

    Malcolm Garton

    • Wednesday 24th December 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Malcolm

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, greed is driving standards in certain areas and that can only fail in the long run. The fall out will be substantial.

      Perfect Choice and Open are very similar in that we only charge an admin fee and the full plan price is invested. However they only apply growth at RPI, nothing more nothing less for the life of the plan.

      Open on the other hand seek to pay the maximum possible at the time of need to benefit both funeral director and plan holder. If a £3,000 plan were to be taken out now with each of us you’d receive just over £780 more if it were redeemed in 10 years. That’s a big difference to you isn’t it?

      If you’d ever like to learn more about Open please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      Best regards


  3. vita incerta

    Saturday 20th December 2014 at 5:34 pm

    ‘In closing, (…) join with Golden Charter, and become part of the success story owned by and run entirely for the benefit of independent funeral directors.’

    I wonder how many of the people taking Golden Charter plans would continue to do so if Michael Corish regaled them with the fact that the organisation exists, ‘entirely for the benefit of independent funeral directors.’

    • Jonathan

      Monday 22nd December 2014 at 4:09 pm

      ‘Entirely for the benefit of’ means just that – nobody else benefits.

      But that implies that Golden Charter are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts exclusively to help funeral directors, which is obviously a lie. Is it part of the agreement, when you sell one of these plans, that you explain to the purchaser that he’s not expected to benefit from buying it?

      At least that would be honest.

  4. Friday 19th December 2014 at 12:28 pm

    John, I loved your article on Linkedin –

    Maybe it could be shared through here as a balanced and sensible repost?

  5. James

    Friday 19th December 2014 at 10:47 am

    Thank you for sharing the letter Charles.

    When families take out a Golden Charter plan and nominate a FD who is not an active/exclusive seller do GC mention that a large % of their plan money is going to be shared out to other FDs who will have nothing to do with carrying out the arrangements?

  6. Thursday 18th December 2014 at 3:13 pm

    At least there’s an ethical choice available to those funeral directors who don’t like that style of ‘persuasion’

    • Thursday 18th December 2014 at 4:40 pm

      But John, they clearly state that they exist SOLEY for the “benefit of Independant Funeral Directors”? You can’t lose……..unless you don’t sign up of course 🙂

  7. Thursday 18th December 2014 at 1:09 pm


    Merry Christmas Funeral Directors!

    Interestingly, The FPA figures a) only show the FPA member’s figures and b) don’t take off cancellations – It may make no difference, but it would be interesting to know.

    See you Monday Sir 🙂

    • Clive Jackson

      Sunday 8th February 2015 at 1:52 pm

      As an active seller of GC plans, I’d be interested to see if they do increase there prices in April as they say they will. I hope they follow there previous years trend of keeping the prices the same when time comes.

      GC get a great deal of flack on here and I can see it from the FD’s perspective, but there are two sides to the story. I’ve always found them a pleasure to deal with and they always provide good backup (although I am not an FD myself)

      The decision to announce their plans in this way as a marketing ploy was sure to back fire though. The strategy is a mystery to me! It will be very interesting to see how this next year pans out for them but my guess is their prices will stay the same and they will no doubt stick to this hard line they seem to going down with non selling FD’s.

      Does anyone know what the other expected increases are for Dignity and the COOP?



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