When you buy a funeral plan from Golden Charter you pay the plan price directly to the plan provider, Golden Charter Limited. After deducting their fees as set out in the plan T&Cs, Golden Charter Limited pay the balance into The Golden Charter Trust. The funds remain in the Trust until needed to pay the funeral director who performs the funeral services under your plan.
The Trust is a distinct legal entity from Golden Charter and the Trust’s assets are held entirely separately from the assets of Golden Charter Limited. Therefore the money you paid for your plan is ‘ring fenced’ over the term of your plan. The monies paid by all customers are invested by the Trust until needed to pay the funeral directors who performs the funeral services of maturing plans.
A Golden Charter funeral plan is not an investment product that fluctuates in value or on which you earn interest. When you buy a plan, you receive a guarantee of funeral services at a price fixed now for the future services.
The overall value of the Trust Fund can rise or fall but this does not impact on the guarantee of the funeral director’s services under your plan, or on your cancellation rights.
The monies paid by all customers are invested by the Trust until needed to pay the funeral directors who performs the funeral services of maturing plans. It is the aim of the Trustees to increase the value of outstanding funeral plans that will be paid to funeral directors at the time of need, on an annual basis to mitigate the impact of inflation. Each year, Golden Charter Limited instructs an independent Actuary to prepare a Solvency Assessment Report of the Trust to determine if the assets of the Trust are in excess of 100% of the liabilities for the outstanding funeral plans of Golden Charter Limited. This report is published on the website of Golden Charter Limited.
The plan provider, Golden Charter is the main contact for customers. However, the Trust’s website is regularly updated in order that full information on the Trust is always available. You can also contact the Trust directly by completing the form on the “contact us” section on the website and we will be happy to reply to any questions you may have about the Trust.
If you have paid for your plan in full, you will be refunded the original amount paid by you less any applicable cancellation fee. If you are paying for your plan by instalments, please refer to the terms & conditions of your plan and/or contact Golden Charter Limited for details of your entitlement to a refund of monies on cancellation. When your cancellation is processed by Golden Charter, the sum advised by Golden Charter Limited will be refunded to you directly from the Trust.
The Trust is an entity constituted under the terms of a Trust Deed to safeguard customers’ money until the time of need. The Trust is not owned by a company, individual or by shareholders. The Trust is managed by a Board of Trustees who are legally responsible for holding the assets for the benefit of its beneficiaries. In performing their duties, the Trustees take appropriate advice from carefully selected professional advisers.
Details of the current serving Trustees can be found here. The Trustees are all experienced, successful business people from a wide range of backgrounds. Trustees serve a maximum of ten years. When a new Trustee is to be appointed, a shortlist of suitably qualified candidates is identified and interviewed by the serving Trustees, following which the successful applicant is chosen.
The pre-paid funeral plan sector is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) from 29 July 2022. The Trust is not directly regulated by the FCA, but Golden Charter Limited, as the plan provider, is authorised and regulated by the FCA and must comply with a strict set of rules which govern funeral plans backed by independent trusts.
The net asset value of the Trust at 31 March 2022 was £1,282 million. Annual accounts are prepared each year at 31 March and audited by Grant Thornton, one of the UK’s leading audit and accountancy firms.
The Trust holds a diversified portfolio of investments which includes index-linked gilts, global equities, diversified growth funds, multi asset credit, long lease property, infrastructure assets and cash. Full details of the current underlying investment managers can be found here.
The Trust is carefully managed on a prudent basis. The investment strategy is based on a long term view and designed to cope with short term market fluctuations. The Trust’s investment advisers regularly undertake ‘stress testing’ exercises to show the impact on the Trust’s value of a combination of extreme market conditions. The results show that even an unlikely combination of negative events would not fatally damage the financial strength of the Trust. During the stock market turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust continued to pay, in full, all sums due under maturing funeral plans.
The accounts of the Trust and The Golden Charter Trust Limited are prepared annually and are audited by Grant Thornton LLP. The accounts of The Golden Charter Trust Limited are filed at Companies House and published on our website. In addition, a consolidated statement of the Trust’s net assets at 31 March each year is published on the Trust’s website.
If Golden Charter ceased trading, your money would continue to be safeguarded in the Trust and held until the time of need. You would also retain the right to cancel your plan and receive a refund subject to the terms & conditions of your plan. The Trust would continue as long as is necessary to make payments to funeral directors for all plans as they mature.
If your selected funeral director ceased trading your money would remain safeguarded in the Trust. In such circumstances, you could choose another funeral director from the many independent funeral directors who accept Golden Charter plans. Alternatively, you could simply ask Golden Charter to reallocate your plan for you. The original terms of your plan would remain unchanged, subject to the new funeral director’s acceptance. You would also retain the right to cancel your plan.
The Trust’s head office is in Glasgow where the Trust’s full-time employees are based. Location and contact details are given here.
Contact details for the Trust are given here.