Professional designations in financial advice: which is for me?

28 October, 2021Juno Baker

There are many designations in financial advice, signifying different levels of experience and professionalism. But what are the benefits of each? And what do you need to attain them?

Statement of Professional Standing (SPS)

Who for?

Members and non-members, across the UK, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.


An SPS allows you to work as a retail investment adviser in the UK and is a requirement if you wish to do so.

What do I need to qualify?

You need to:

  • have successfully completed an FCA approved Level 4 qualification, such as our Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)
  • have completed annual CPD that meets FCA requirements
  • act in accordance with FCA ‘fit and proper standards’ and our Code of Ethics.

Certified Professional in Financial Advice

Who for?

Members of The London Institute of Banking & Finance (MLIBF) who hold their SPS with us.


CPFA accredited advisers can already enjoy member benefits such as our CPD logging tool, events and Financial World online.

But in addition, you’ll:

  • have digital badge to display your status on LinkedIn and in your email signature
  • be included in our searchable Professional Services Register
  • receive a quarterly newsletter signposting you to new content, events and webinars. 

What do I need to qualify?

We’ll contact you to let you know you’ve achieved Certified Professional in Financial Advice status, if you:

  • hold your Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) with us, and
  • are a Member of The London Institute of Banking & Finance (MLIBF)
  • are listed on the FCA register as giving retail investment advice.

If you're not already an MLIBF, you can apply for membership through the homepage on your MyLIBF account.

For an annual fee of only £82, membership will give you other benefits too, including a 50% discount on your next SPS.

Certificate in Professional Achievement (CPA)

Who for?

Members and non-members, who aren’t be currently advising.


If you’re taking a career break or just starting out, Certificate in Professional Achievement (CPA) shows you’ve qualified as a financial adviser and you’re committed to CPD.

What do I need to qualify?

You’ll need to:

Chartered Associate

Who for?

Members and non-members.


Chartered status will raise your professional profile and help you advance in your career.

What do I need to qualify?

You may already be on the path to chartered status if you are studying – or have studied – a professional or higher education qualification with us.

To become fully chartered with us you will need to have at least three years professional experience and complete:

  • Stage one: Diploma for Financial Advice (DipFA), which is at Level 4, or equivalent
  • Stage two: Diploma in Financial Advice (Adv DipFA) at Level 6.

While studying for both these qualifications, you will automatically become a Member of The London Institute of Banking & Finance – giving you access to memberships benefits including CPFA, if you’re eligible.

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