Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)

Professional qualifications

Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)

Take your first step to becoming a qualified financial adviser and embark on a rewarding new career.

Man studying in class

About the qualification

If you’re interested in the world of investments and personal finance – and you enjoy working with people – you should consider a career in financial advice.

Financial advisers can work in established companies or build their own businesses. This means that as well being a rewarding career, working in financial advice offers flexibility.

By studying DipFA you will learn all the skills you need to begin your career as a financial adviser. And, because we include case-study-based learning, you will be able to apply your learning to the workplace and gain new knowledge.

The DipFA is the minimum level qualification you need to become a financial adviser, as laid down by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

When you register for DipFA you’ll automatically become a Member of The London Institute of Banking & Finance (MLIBF) for the duration of your studies. As a member, we will support you and give you access to benefits such as our professional networking events and careers support.

Your studies will cover

  • The purpose and structure of the UK financial services industry
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) main aims, and the rules and regulations that apply to financial advice
  • The different risks that might affect your customers’ financial needs, including both economic and personal
  • How to source and analyse data
  • How to create, implement and maintain financial plans
  • How to formulate and communicate financial advice
How much does it cost?              £1,160 with tutor support
£1,050 without tutor support

The price includes your study materials and exam entry
Average time to complete
Nine months
Number of units Two
How will I be assessed? Exams and assessments. View the assessment section for further details

You can take your exam at a test centre or at home with remote invigilation
What study materials do I get?

As part of your fee, you’ll get: 

  • online and printed study text
  • specimen papers
  • exemplar papers
  • online student forum
  • online access to our student portal MyLIBF
  • online access to our virtual library KnowledgeBank
You will be learning on our new VLE Brightspace, click on the logo to find out more.

Additional study support You can purchase additional study support materials when you register or at any time, including:
  • optional access to experienced web tutors to provide guidance and support
  • study with our training school, DipFA Academy
  • study with one of our accredited learning support providers
  • FSRE revision videos. 
How will I study? Everything is online, you’ll follow a structured timetable
  • Registered with Ofqual in the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
  • Meets the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) examination standards



If you wish to study Financial Services, Regulation and Ethics (FSRE) on its own you can view the qualification page here

Unit 1 – Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE)

  • Financial institutions and the different services they provide
  • The main components of the financial system and what they do
  • The regulatory framework, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Code of Ethics
  • The nature of risk, both personal and financial
  • The law, and the relationship between regulation and legislation

Unit 2 – Advanced Financial Advice (AFA)

  • The products, services and legislation that inform the financial planning and advice process
  • The principles and theories of investment, retirement planning and protection - and how they connect
  • The importance of consumer-oriented communication and ethical behaviour
  • How to apply your knowledge of financial planning and skills.

Are you eligible for an exemption?

If you have qualifications from us or another awarding organisation, we may be able to count them as credits.

Find out more


Unit 1 – FSRE

You will be able to start studying Unit 1 as soon as you register, and you will have 12 months to sit the exam. We advise you to allow three months' study time for Unit 1, and to sit the exam before starting work on Unit 2.

You can register for Unit 1 at any time.

Unit 2 – AFA

There are two parts to Unit 2, and we recommend allowing a study time of six months to complete the unit.

You can register for one of the following study sessions throughout the year:

Details Date 
 Registration deadline   03 July 2023
 Course start date   10 July 2023
 Coursework deadline   06 November 2023 
 Exam date  18 January 2024

Details Date 
 Registration deadline   02 October 2023  
 Course start date   09 October 2023
 Coursework deadline     05 February 2024   
 Exam date  11 April 2024

Details Date 
 Registration deadline   02 January 2024  
 Course start date   08 January 2024
 Coursework deadline   07 May 2024 
 Exam date  11 July 2024 


Unit 1 - Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE)

You’ll take a two-hour Pearson VUE electronic exam with:

  • 90 multiple-choice questions
  • two case studies, each with five linked multiple-choice questions.

You have 12 months from registration to complete the course and sit the exam.

Unit 2 - Advanced Financial Advice (AFA)
You’ll have to submit coursework online after 16 weeks of study.

You will also have to take a three-hour typed electronic exam, based on a case study that will be released six weeks before.

Your exam will be on a set date depending on which study session you join. Please refer to the timetable above for exam dates. You can choose to sit at a test centre or through remote invigilation at home.

Exam and assessment information

Additional study support

Tutor support

If you select the 'with tutor support' option for Unit 2 when registering for DipFA, you’ll get access to our team of experienced web tutors through an online tutor forum.

Our tutors are all experts who have worked as financial advisers. This means that as well as explaining the theory, they can show you how it translates into practice by drawing on their experience.

You’ll be able to engage in discussion with your tutors and fellow students, as well as ask questions to help you prepare for each element of the assessment. Your tutors will get back to you with a reliable and personalised response.  

How much does it cost?

Students will need to register for DipFA using our online registration form and select the option ‘with tutor support’. This cost is £110 bringing the total cost to £1,160.

Everything listed in the ‘study support’ section is also included in this price.


FSRE Revision Videos

If you are studying Financial Services, Regulation and Ethics (FSRE) unit, support your learning with our FSRE revision videos.

The videos focus on the areas of the syllabus that students find more difficult. An experienced tutor breaks down the learning into smaller topics to help you digest the content more easily and providing examples to support your learning. The videos also include example questions throughout that help reinforce your learning to help you prepare and give you a taste of the exam question style.

The videos can be watched on any device, from anywhere in the world – as long as you have internet access – giving you the flexibility to study when and where it suits you.

The videos cost just £149 for the full series and access lasts for 12 months. There is just under four hours of video content in total. Once purchased, they will be available for you to access on through your www.mylibf.com account.

To purchase the FSRE videos, simply log into your www.mylibf.com account and click on “Purchase Additional Study Support” button.


Study with the 100% online Digital Academy

We’re partnering with ICS Learn, one of the UK’s largest online learning providers, to launch a 100% online training programme for the Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA).

This offers students a new route to study the DipFA with the digital academy. It’s an innovative online learning platform that allows learners to study the diploma entirely at their own pace and remote.

This is the first time a training programme for DipFA has been offered 100% online.

For more information about the training programme and costs, please see the Digital Academy offered by ICS Learn.


Study with the DipFA Academy

If you would like professional support to guide you through DipFA, then you might prefer to study through our DipFA Academy – brought to you by our trusted partner, Simply Academy.

DipFA Academy combines the structure of classroom-based learning with the flexibility of studying from home. The class sizes are small and – because it's online – as long as you have internet access you can join discussions and get feedback from your tutors. 

How much does it cost?

  • FSRE only: £714
  • AFA coursework course: £414 inc VAT
  • AFA exam course: £414 inc VAT

For more information about costs and available discounts please see the DipFA Academy page on the website of our trusted partner, Simply Academy.

Accredited Learning Support Providers

There are a number of organisations offering courses for LIBF qualifications, especially in financial and mortgage advice. To help students to make an informed choice, in addition to the DipFA Academy and online Digital Academy we also accredit a select number of reputable training organisations. These organisations have joined our ALSP scheme and to keep this status their provision is subjected to regular quality checks by LIBF.

Using an ALSP is entirely up to you – it is NOT a requirement of your studies – but this extra support might be beneficial to your learning. You’ll need to pay for such provision directly to your chosen ALSP.

Please note that you will still need to register and complete DipFA via us as we are the qualification awarding body.

Find out more

An ALSP is a training organisation that has joined our ALSP scheme and has been formally recognised by us as delivering appropriate additional learning and training support.


To gain our recognition, an ALSP’s course is assessed rigorously and must continue to meet certain quality standards relating to:


  • accuracy of course information
  • comparability to The London Institute of Banking & Finance’s programme of study
  • accuracy of course content
  • quality of delivery, both online and in a classroom
  • trainer/author credentials
  • course management policies and procedures
  • satisfactory annual reporting of their training activities and course management


While all ALSPs’ courses undergo regular monitoring, they might not be suitable for all students and we offer no guarantee of success in the exam to users of them. If you are considering using third party services, it’s very important that you assess their offering against your needs and choose your provider with great care – please see the FAQ on what you should look for when choosing a learning support provider. A list of our current DipFA ALSPs is here.

Using a third party learning provider is entirely your choice: it is NOT a requirement of your DipFA studies. However, once you have commenced your studies, if you feel you would like or need supplementary support in addition to the resources available from The London Institute of Banking and Finance , paying for an additional course might benefit you. For example, an extra online course from a training provider might be structured in a way that suits your learning style.


Many training organisations also offer face-to-face workshops. The benefits of these include you being able to meet and learn with fellow students and a qualified trainer, discuss issues relating to your individual needs, undertake varied activities, practice exam questions and better understand your progress and learning gaps - all away from the distractions of a work/home environment.

There are dozens of learning support providers offering training courses. Please be aware that while websites appear to be professional-looking, not all are bona fide organisations: for example, a ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency in 2018.


So, if you are considering using a learning support provider that is not an ALSP, we strongly recommend you read its website thoroughly and look at whether:

  • it can be contacted by phone or e-mail (beware of those only offering a call-back service)
  • an address is given – check on the Companies House website that the company and its address are genuine. Do an online search on the address: does the company operate from professional-looking premises?
  • training course fees are clearly stated
  • it states you will also need to register with The London Institute of Banking & Finance and pay the appropriate fee
  • syllabus information and course content appears accurate, complete and up to date
  • there are any testimonials (but bear in mind they might not be genuine)
  • there are clearly stated terms and conditions. Make sure you read them carefully.
  • the organisation claims to be recognised or accredited by The London Institute of Banking & Finance and/or uses its logo. Please note that only ALSPs are authorised to state they are accredited by us and display the official ALSP logo. The names and contact details of our ALSPs who offer support for DipFA are published on our website here.


You are strongly advised not to simply register and/or pay for a course online. Your first step should be to phone the organisation to discuss the course and your needs. If they cannot describe the course in detail, or if there is no answer and they do not reply to voicemails or e-mails, you should be very cautious.

We are aware of a number of revision courses and learning materials being offered for sale online. If these are not being offered by one of our Accredited Learning Support Providers, you should be very wary of buying these items, even if they appear to be good value. The provider and the materials have not been reviewed by us and therefore their quality and relevance to your studies is unknown. Note that these materials might be incomplete, inaccurate or out of date and could be misleading to you.

If you have any concerns, please e-mail customerservices@libf.ac.uk 


The Certificate of Professional Achievement (CPA)

The Certificate of Professional Achievement (CPA) will show potential employers that you’re qualified to advise customers.   

If you’re looking for your first position as a financial adviser, you’re between jobs or working in a non-advice role, CPA will help you demonstrate that you’ve:

  • completed DipFA or you hold another Retail Distribution Review (RDR) compliant Level 4 qualification
  • met the requirements of our CPD scheme, and
  • adopted our Code of Ethics.

In other words, you have everything you need to practise as a retail investment adviser in the UK, apart from the required Statement of Professional Standing (SPS).

If you start working for a company that adds you to the FCA register within three months of having your CPA, we'll convert it to an SPS at no extra charge.

Request further information

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