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?              £1,320 with tutor support
£1,200 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

Once you’ve passed you’ll receive a digital certificate. A paper copy can also be ordered for an additional fee.
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
  • DipFA appears in the Financial Adviser apprenticeship standard.



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   14 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

We offer a variety of additional study support options for you to purchase when you first register with us or later through your MyLIBF account by clicking on the “Purchase Additional Study Support” button.

Tutor support

If you purchase this option, then you will get support for Unit 2 (AFA) only. You’ll get access to our team of experienced web tutors through an online tutor forum.

The tutors are all experts who have worked in financial services, meaning they can explain the theory and show you how to put it into practice.

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 assessment. Your tutors will get back to you with a reliable and personalised response.  

How much does it cost?

Studying DipFA with tutor support costs £1,320.

Everything listed in the ‘what study materials do I get?’ section is also included in this price.

If you have already started to study DipFA without tutor support but feel that you need extra support, then you can contact our customer services team and purchase tutor support for an additional £110.

FSRE Revisions Videos 

The FSRE videos have been created to help students focus on the areas of the syllabus that they find more difficult.

An experienced tutor will break down the learning into smaller topics to help you understand the content more easily and provide examples to support your learning. The videos also include example questions throughout that reinforce your learning to help you prepare for your assessment 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.

How much does it cost?

The videos cost just £149 for the full series and access lasts for 12 months.


We have partnered with two institutions – ICS Learn and Simply Academy – who’ve created digital academies to teach DipFA.

These digital academies offer students an innovative way to study the DipFA course focusing on flexibility, convenience and making the learning process more manageable.

Classroom virtual learning

Simply Academy offer students the opportunity to study with the DipFA Academy where you can learn within a classroom but from the comfort of your own home. Small class sizes allow you to benefit from an interactive style of learning. You will be able to join in with discussions with your class and get live feedback from your tutors.

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

100% online learning

ICS Learn offer students the opportunity to self-learn 100% online with the Digital Academy. Their virtual learning platform allows learners the opportunity to study fully online and at your own pace.

For more information about the structure, costs and timetables please see the Digital Academy page on the website of our partner, ICS Learn.

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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