Experience brings with it expertise and increased competence. So why should financial advisers bother with additional qualifications? Samuel Mayes looks at how studying Level 6 qualifications can reward you now and in the future as well as leading to chartered status.
As in any profession, financial advisers are at different levels of experience and expertise as they go through the stages of their careers. The more experienced you are, the closer you get to ‘master’ level.
To practise as a financial adviser, you need a Level 4 qualification, such as the Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA). A financial adviser needs to meet the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) minimum standards per the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) that came into effect 1 January 2013.
But it’s like a game of chess. Level 4 qualifications teach you the basic rules of chess and how each piece is allowed to move. When you graduate to Level 6, you become a chess master!
Advancing your financial advice career
Professional credentials help employers and recruiters determine how competent you are as a financial adviser. So if you’re looking to progress your career, you may want to consider adding a specialism, for example, in pension transfers or retirement planning.
Specialising in pension transfers
To advise on pension transfers you’d need an additional licence to practice, such as Level 6 Pension Transfers (PETR). This qualification distinguishes pension transfer specialists from financial advisers who practise on a more general level.
You can also claim 150 continued professional development (CPD) hours by studying PETR. These meet the requirements set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for purposes of retention of your Statement of Professional Standing (SPS).
Specialising in retirement planning
Retirement planning is always evolving. The UK has an ageing population with a growing number of people approaching retirement, with individual needs and financial ambitions. They need guidance on the various options, which requires a sophisticated level of advice.
Our recently launched Financial Planning in Retirement (FPIR) qualification will help you consider retirement income from multiple angles and give you the skills to evaluate and communicate options to clients.
Other benefits of studying and upskilling
Most professional Level 6 qualifications also include upskilling and education through soft skills, more fringe subject matter and application of knowledge, rather than core facts memorisation.
However, there are other significant benefits that come into play the minute you start your studies with LIBF.
Become a Certified Professional in Financial Advice (CPFA)
Studying any of our qualifications confers membership for the duration of the course, that is, 12 months.
If you also hold your Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) with us, you will automatically be awarded CPFA status.
Your status will be added to our Professional Services Register and you’ll be able to download a digital badge to display your CPFA achievement. This – along with being able to use the MLIBF designation after your name – will mark you out as an accomplished professional.
This is a great way to promote your professionalism and expertise while increasing your knowledge and developing your skills.
Becoming chartered in financial advice
You may also consider using either PETR or FPIR as a springboard into your Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial Advice (Adv DipFA). After you’ve completed one of these as a specialist option you only have two other modules.
You may take up to two years to study Adv DipFA, all the while holding your CPFA status. And if you have at least three years professional experience, when you are awarded Adv DipFA you will be eligible for chartered status.
Sam Mayes is a higher education lecturer and author. He also has a career in fintech – specialising in developing and coding applications that enable data automation for reporting – for clients in investment, banking and insurance.
See our Financial Advice qualifications