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Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA®)

Professional Qualifications

Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA®)

Meet the standard required for providing financial advice in as little as nine months with this high quality, cost-effective and practically orientated DipFA.

Man studying in class

About the qualification

The DipFA is an industry benchmark financial adviser qualification, which meets the FCA's qualification requirement for retail investment advisers. Highly relevant and practical, the qualification is tailored to reflect the Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) role, giving you the knowledge and skills you need to use your learning in the workplace. The assessments include case-study-based learning that replicates the real-life activities of advisers and multiple-choice tasks with results provided on the day.

We support you in your distance-learning through highly active forums with tutors and other students, model coursework and specimen exam papers. When you've completed the qualification, our ongoing support includes membership of the London Institute of Banking & Finance, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) services and the issue of a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS).

The DipFA is a Level 4 qualification registered with Ofqual in the Regulated Qualifications Framework.

Key information

  • Registration for Unit 1 is open year-round, whereas Unit 2 has specific start dates – view more information here
  • Comprehensive study materials are provided
  • Combination of multiple-choice exam, coursework assessment and written exam based on a pre-released Factfind
  • On completion, you may use the ‘DipFA’ designation after your name 

Gabbi Stopp is the Head of Employee Share Ownership at ProShare, read her study diary while taking the DipFA qualification.


DipFA consists of two units.

Unit 1 - Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE)


  • The environment of the financial services industry 
  • Key components and interrelationships of the financial system 
  • Principles of the regulatory framework and the implications for the financial advice process
  • The importance of the concept of risk and how risks relate to institutions and individuals 
  • Legal concepts and the interplay between regulation and legislation 
  • The FCA's approach to ethical and unethical behaviours and the Code of Ethics 

Unit 2 - Advanced Financial Advice (AFA)


  • Products, services and legislation that inform the financial planning and advice process
  • Principles, theories and interrelationships of investment, retirement planning and protection 
  • The importance of consumer oriented communication and ethical behaviours through the practical application of financial planning knowledge and skills

CPQ Blue Testimonial
An excellent opportunity and qualification which has enabled me to get a fantastic job opportunity as an IFA Account Manager. Kyle Watson -Telephone Account Manager, Prudential


Unit 1 FSRE and Unit 2 AFA make up the Level 4 DipFA course. These are usually studied as a complete 9 month course, but can be studied individually. We recommended that Unit 1 FSRE is studied first but this is not compulsory.

Unit 1 FSRE – Recommended study time 3 months
This unit starts as soon as you register and you have 9 months to sit the exam. It is recommended to sit this exam before you start the AFA unit.

Unit 2 AFA – Study time 6 months
The registration deadline for the next available session is 14 December 2018. AFA has 2 assessment components: A coursework and a 3 hour examination based on a pre-released client factfind.

 Unit 2 AFA - Next available session
 14 December 2018  Registration deadline
 14 January 2019  Course start date and coursework release date
 28 January 2019  Coursework submission deadline
 29 April 2019  Coursework results
 30 May 2019  Factfind released online
 11 July 2019  AFA exam
 23 August 2019  AFA exam results

Date Unit 2 AFA
15 March 2019 Registration deadline
1 April 2019 Course start date and coursework release date
29 July 2019
Coursework submission deadline
6 September 2019 Coursework results
22 August 2019
Factfind released online
3 October 2019
AFA exam
15 November 2019
AFA exam results



Date Unit 2 AFA
14 June 2019 Registration deadline
1 July 2019 Course start date and coursework release date
28 October 2019 Coursework submission deadline
6 December 2019 Coursework results
28 November 2019 Factfind released online
9 January 2020 AFA exam
21 February 2020 AFA exam results



When selecting your preferred study session using the timetable above, please be aware that fees are payable if you wish to change your exam date for Unit 2 – AFA after registration.

Your registration fee includes the following study support:

  • Online access to study texts immediately after registration and hard copies posted to you
  • Student handbook covering key qualification features, study technique and content applicable for achieving the learning outcomes of the units
  • Optional access to experienced web tutors to provide guidance and support
  • Online student forum
  • Specimen papers for Unit 1 and exemplar papers and further readings for Unit 2


Unit 1 - FSRE

2-hour objective exam comprising 90 multiple-choice questions and 2 case studies with 5 linked multiple-choice questions.

This exam can be taken at over 150 Pearson VUE centres nationwide with the result provided on the day.

View information on examination booking and venues

Unit 2 - AFA

Assessed through a combination of coursework and written exam:

  • Coursework is submitted after approximately 16 weeks of study and comprises a written assignment and short answer questions 
  • 3-hour typed exam based on pre-released factfind available six weeks prior to the exam

    View AFA exam venues

Register your interest

By registering your interest you will receive monthly updates regarding our qualifications and services within this area.

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We will use and protect your personal data in accordance with current data protection legislation to process your application. Further details, including your rights, the disclosure of data to third parties, storage, retention and how to amend your personal data, can be found within our Privacy Notice.

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External DipFA training courses

Some students prefer a qualification route with extra learning support. We have recognised a select number of DipFA training course providers offering to help support your learning and understanding of the concepts and materials.

DipFA training courses are optional and do not include our DipFA qualification registration fee. You will still need to register and complete the DipFA qualification through us, as we are the only provider who can award DipFA.

Find out more

Frequently Asked Questions

The registration fee includes the study text, in both book and PDF format, the first sitting of your examination and/or coursework and online access to the MyLIBF area of the website.

In line with our charitable objectives, we make means-tested bursaries available to students studying our qualifications.

You can find out more information about the bursaries we offer here.
If you would like to apply for a bursary, please email our Student and Customer Services team or call them on +44 (0)12 2781 8609. Please ensure that you have details of the qualification you intend to study when contacting us. 

If you find that the qualification you have registered for is not appropriate to your needs, you may cancel it. A full refund will only be given providing all learning materials are returned to us, fully intact and undamaged, within 14 calendar days of receipt. However, if you have already booked an examination, no refund will be given.


After 14 calendar days, all fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you have registered for a qualification where study materials are provided online only e.g. resit and CSDG students, a refund may only be requested within 14 days of The London Institute of Banking and Finance receiving payment.

This is dependent on the type of examination you are sitting.

Electronic examinations

These are controlled by Pearson VUE and you will need to contact them directly via using the details on the ‘important registration information’ link on the MyLIBF home page.

If you are unable to attend your examination, please contact Pearson VUE as soon as possible to cancel or reschedule your examination, allowing a minimum of one full clear business days notice prior to your examination. For example, the deadline to cancel or reschedule an electronic examination due to take place on a Tuesday would be the Friday before. 
AFA examinations

All electronic Advanced Financial Advice (AFA) examination and all paper based examinations are taken on a set date (as per the qualification timetable) and it is not possible to change the date and time. You may however, be able to change the venue or defer to a later sessions and should contact the Student and Customer Services team via email or by phone on +44 (0)12 2781 8609 to enquire.

If you are unable to provide the required notice due to significant mitigating circumstances such as sudden illness, please contact Students and Customer Services straight away as you may be eligible for Special Consideration. Supporting documentary evidence is required for a Special Consideration application. 

Making a result enquiry

If you believe that there has been an error in the marking of your assessment, you may apply for an assessment result enquiry. This policy does not apply to the applicant who believes that their performance during an assessment may have been adversely affected by external factors, for example, noise, illness or unforeseen circumstances. These cases are dealt with under our Special Consideration Policy.

Please read our Assessment Result Enquiry Policy fully as this sets out the key stages for applying. An application form is included within the policy and must be sent to us within 10 working days of the assessment outcome being communicated to you.

For any of the above, we recommend that you first contact the Student Support Services team by telephone on +44 (0)12 2782 9499 or email enquiries@libf.ac.uk to discuss the nature of your concern and for us to offer guidance regarding the process.

Appealing a decision

Students also have the right to appeal to a decision that has been made in the course of the assessment of their programme of learning. An appeal may only be submitted in relation to final decisions.

An appeal application must be submitted to us within 15 working days of the date of our letter advising the outcome of a decision. If the appeal application form is received after the deadline, we reserve the right to refuse the application. Please read our Appeals Policy, in particular Section B - 'making an appeal'.

Making a complaint

A complaint should be made as soon as possible, but no later than ten working days from the date of the incident occurring. 

We deal with all complaints as promptly as possible and within clearly defined timescales. Where it is not possible to meet these service standards, students will be informed of the progress of their complaint. The stages for handling a complaint are as set out within our CPQ Complaints Policy.

... Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

You can apply by completing the RPL application form and sending the form and certified copies of your qualification certificate or transcript to the email or postal address on the form.

We aim to consider and respond with an outcome to your application within 10 working days. In the event that an enquiry proves complex, we may need longer than initially anticipated to investigate it. In such cases, we will make sure that you are kept informed of progress.

You can find the RPL policy here.

special consideration?

You can find our CPQ Special Consideration Policy here. You will need to complete an application form and submit this with your documentary supporting evidence. Given the individual nature of special consideration claims, we would recommend that you also contact the Student Support Services team by telephone on +44 (0)12 2782 9499 or email enquiries@libf.ac.uk for an informal discussion before you submit your application.

For your claim to be considered, you must have initially notified us of your circumstances on or before the submission deadline for coursework or within five days of the examination date. Any applications made outside of this timescale must include an explanation as to why the delay has occurred.

We aim to consider and respond with an outcome within 5 – 10 working days of receipt of your application. This timescale may be longer In the event of your application being referred to the Concessionary Board.

… reasonable adjustment?

Given the individual nature of reasonable adjustments, we would recommend that you contact the Student Support Services team by telephone on +44 (0)12 2782 9499 or email enquiries@libf.ac.uk for an informal discussion before you submit a request. This will allow us to fully understand the nature of your request and advise you on the type of supporting evidence required.

You can find our CPQ Reasonable Adjustments Policy here. An application form is included within Section A, and must be sent to us at least six weeks prior to the date when the adjustment will need to be in place. 

Has your question been answered?

If you have any questions or need advice please fill out the form or call +44 (0)12 2781 8609.


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