About Us | About Open Prepaid Funeral Plans

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Meet The Team

John Taplin - Managing Director, Co-owner and Founder - John runs Open day to day and is responsible for Opens ongoing growth and development, John is the driving force behind Open and particularly the technology that makes Open so great. He ensures Open delivers on its promises and always will. John is focused on Open being the best, not the biggest.

David Bastock - Co-owner & Founder, 7th Generation Independent Funeral Director - David started the conversation that led to the launch of Open back in 2003. There wasn’t a funeral plan available that he felt gave him the comfort to offer to his clients. That’s how Open started and we maintain those same values and benefits that we always have done. David runs his funeral business day to day but is always on hand to share his vast knowledge and experience.

Andrew Smith - Compliance Director - Having held senior leadership roles within the UK Financial Services industry for more than 25 years, Andrew has built a significant reputation devising highly successful business change strategies that drive commercial growth, compliance and operational improvement. As an executive director and FCA regulation Subject Matter Expert, he provides objective challenge to both executive and non executive committee Boards in the strategic planning and implementation of long-term initiatives that deliver growth and change across new markets. Creating clear strategy to enable businesses to achieve their objectives is one of his greatest strengths. He has worked extensively with financial services organisations on devising effective Board and governance frameworks that can be implemented efficiently and easily, achieving buy-in and delivering outstanding financial results.

Sue Witton - Head of Operations - Sue is an experienced Risk and Compliance Manager and has led teams of staff throughout her career. Fully qualified in conduct and credit risk in operational and second-line roles, Sue is customer focussed, applying FCA regulation and industry best practise to drive good customer outcomes. Her regulatory knowledge of the FCA Handbook is sound. Sue is a strong communicator, with proven stakeholder engagement at all levels, delivering results on operational activities and projects. Motivated by new challenges and driving change, Sue is committed to personal and continuous professional development.

Michelle Russ - Membership Administrator - Michelle helps Sue with the onboarding process of new funeral director IARs.

Sonia Hemus - Plan Administration Team Leader - Reporting to Sue, Sonia leads the administration team in their day to day duties, including diary management of our advisers.

Saffina Stratton - Plan Administrator - Saffina also processes that plan administration tasks along with call handling and diary management.

Amanda Hodson - Key Account Manager - Amanda has many years experience in the funeral plan sector having worked for another national provider for 7 years before joining Open in 2020. Amanda now supports Open’s key funeral director accounts ensuring that they are supported in their funeral plan activity with Open.

Amy Smithson - FD Area Manager - Middle England - Funeral Director growth and account management and OPF Adviser trained.

Patricia Leary - New Business Area Manager - Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England - Patricia is responsible for growing the network of Independent Funeral Directors using Open north of the border.

Claire Gardner - Funeral Plan Arranger - Claire’s primary role is to handle the plan appointments for clients, and to support and develop some of the smaller FD accounts. Claire has previous experience as a funeral arranger.

Kate Barrett - Funeral Plan Arranger - Kate’s primary role is to handle the plan appointments for clients, and to support and develop some of the smaller FD accounts. Kate has previous experience as a funeral director and arranger.

Kerris Morgan - Design, Print and Distribution - Kerris works with the team to discuss plan personalisation information and artwork and supports the print and distribution of Open Plan brochures and POS to FDs across the UK.