The Safe Hands Trust Fund
As one of the UK’s premier funeral plan providers, it is of paramount importance to us that our customers’ investments are safe and secure. To that end, maximum care has been taken to ensure the fund in which our customers’ monies are invested complies with all current legislation as set out in the ‘Regulated Activities Order’ (Financial Services and Markets Act 2000).
Article 60 of the R.A.O 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:’
i) ‘The trust must be established by a written instrument.’
The ‘written instrument’ is the Trust Deed (written by Wrigleys LLP – a trust specialist law firm).
ii) ‘More than half the trustees must be unconnected with the provider.’
None of the Safe Hands Funeral Plans’ directors or staff are in any way connected with the board of trustees. The Safe Hands Plans Trust is operated entirely independently, by Pitmans Trustees Limited.
iii) ‘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 provider, to manage the assets of the trust.’
The Safe Hands Plans Trust is managed by UBS – a multinational investment management firm, voted ‘Global Best Investment Bank’ at the Global Finance World’s Best Investment Banks Awards 2016.
iv) ‘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.’
Chartered accountants, JW Hinks, based in Birmingham, are appointed to audit the company accounts annually.
v) ‘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.’
Mazars LLP, one of the UK’s largest accounting and auditing firms, are appointed as actuaries to the Safe Hands Plans Trust.
Summary of the Actuarial Report on the safe hands plans trust
The most recent actuarial report, dated 11th October 2017, was prepared by Mazars LLP, a top ten UK audit and accounting firm and one of Europe’s largest audit and accounting firms, following their appointment to do so by the Trustees, Pitman’s Independent Trustees Limited. The report complies with the Technical Actuarial Standards on Funeral Plans, Modelling, Data and Reporting, as issued by the Financial Reporting Council, and the Actuarial Profession Standards APS Z1 and APS X2 issued by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
The report recorded that the Trust invested in funds managed by UBS, in a range of asset classes including equities, index-linked and fixed interest bonds and cash.
The valuation of the Trust showed an asset valuation, after allowing for any deferred tax liability, of £22.3m. The valuation results of a central scenario based on a set of assumptions about likely future events (in simple terms, anticipated future mortality rates) valued the surplus at up to £9.3m - and also showed, that assuming all plan-holders died on 31st May 2017, there would be a surplus of funds of £1.5m.
The actuarial methodology based the calculation of the future liabilities on the projected costs of the funerals expected each year, and the expenses incurred in administering the Trust. The report made appropriate assumptions as to future inflation rates and investment returns for each class of investment, with allowance for any taxes likely to arise, and took into account likely future mortality rates.