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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 typed exam based on a pre-released Factfind
  • On completion, you may use the ‘DipFA’ designation after your name 

Get up-to-date information relating to Coronavirus.

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 three months
This unit starts as soon as you register and you have nine months to sit the exam. It is recommended to sit this exam before you start the AFA unit.

Unit 2 AFA – Study time six months
AFA has two assessment components: A coursework and a three-hour examination based on a pre-released client factfind.

Date Details
 19 June 2020 Registration deadline 
06 July 2020 Course start date 
26 October 2020 Coursework submission date
21 January 2020 AFA exam 

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


Get up-to-date information relating to Coronavirus.

There are two units for DipFA, which are assessed differently.

For Unit 1, Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE) you will be assessed through a two-hour Pearson VUE electronic exam with:

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

The exams can be taken at any time at Pearson VUE test centres with same day results.

You will have nine months to complete and sit the exam. Your first exam is included in the registration fee for each module. If you wish to retake an exam you will need to pay a resit fee.

Find out how to book your Pearson VUE exam

For Unit 2, Advanced Financial Advice (AFA) you will be assessed by:

  • coursework, submitted online after approximately 16 weeks of study, which will include a main task and short answer questions
  • a three-hour session-based written Pearson VUE electronic exam, based on a task that will be released six weeks before your exam

You will choose your exam venue when you register for the DipFA course, and your AFA exam will be scheduled for you.

The venue address will be released about five weeks before the exam date in an ‘exam attendance notice’ which you will find in your MyLIBF account. We will let you know by email once your attendance notice is available.

Find your nearest exam venue

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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

Your registration fee includes the qualification study materials, and the first sitting of your exam and/or coursework. You will also gain access to MyLIBF (our student portal). Some qualifications include a hard copy of the study text, access to student forums, tutor forum support and specimen papers.

If you need to resit your exam or coursework, you will need to register and pay for a resit.

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

Bursary information

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. 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) encompasses a student’s previous non-certificated and certificated achievements obtained through another awarding organisation. This has previously been known as an exemption.

Please read our Recognition of Prior Learning Policy as it explains the steps to take when applying. Your application will need to include certified copies of your qualification certificate or transcript.

We aim to provide an outcome within 10 working days. If we need longer, we will let you know.

Special consideration:
The Special Consideration Policy applies to students who believe they have been disadvantaged during, or before, an assessment because of an injury, illness or other unforeseen temporary circumstance beyond their control that may have adversely affected their performance in one or more assessments.

Please read our Special Consideration Policy as it explains the steps to take when applying. Your application will need to include supporting documentation.

Given the individual nature of special consideration claims, we would recommend that you contact our Student Support team on +44 (0)1227 818609 or support@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 exam date. Any applications made outside of this timescale must include an explanation as to why the delay has occurred.

We aim to provide an outcome within 5 – 10 working days. It may take longer if your application is referred to the Concessionary Board.

Reasonable adjustment:
We are committed to providing an inclusive educational experience for all students, regardless of any disabilities or learning difficulties they may have and realise that, without reasonable adjustment, students may be prevented from demonstrating their true level of ability during an assessment.

Given the individual nature of reasonable adjustments, we recommend that you contact our Student Support team on +44 (0)12 2781 8609 or support@libf.ac.uk for an informal discussion before you submit your request. This will allow us to fully understand the nature of your circumstances and advise you on the type of supporting evidence required.

The Reasonable Adjustments Policy explains the steps to take when applying and has an application form included. Your application must be received, with supporting documentation, at least six weeks prior to the date when the adjustment will need to be in place.

You have 14 calendar days from your course start date to cancel your registration and arrange a refund by calling our Student and Customer Services team. You will need to return any hard copy study texts in its original condition.

After this period all fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

If you have booked your exam with Pearson VUE (and are within the cancellation period), you will need to contact them directly at least 24 hours prior to the exam date to cancel it. Then allow at least two hours before calling our Student and Customer Services team to cancel the qualification registration and arrange a refund.

Contact Pearson VUE on +44 (0) 370 608 1915 (Europe, Middle East, Africa region).

Electronic Pearson VUE exam:
Before your registration expiry date you can cancel your exam or change your exam date, time or venue (subject to availability). You will need to contact Pearson VUE directly, giving a minimum of 24 hours’ notice online or at least one working days’ notice by phone prior to your current exam booking. For example, if your exam is booked for a Monday, the latest you can reschedule is the previous Friday.

Pearson VUE can be reached via the details given on your Important Registration Information link on MyLIBF or our ‘Exam booking and information’ page.

Session based exams (set exam date as per study timetable) including Advanced Financial Advice (AFA):
Please telephone Student & Customer Services directly to discuss your options. You may be able to change your venue, but will need to call us at least eight weeks before your exam date to check.

For all exams, 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 there has been an error in the marking of your assessment, you can apply for a result enquiry.

The Assessment Result Enquiry Policy explains the steps to take when applying and has an application form included. Your application must be received within 10 working days after we have communicated your assessment results.

This policy does not apply to students who believe their performance during an assessment may have been affected by external factors, for example noise, illness or unforeseen circumstances. These cases are dealt with under our Special Consideration Policy.

Appealing a decision:
You have the right to appeal to us to review decisions that have been made in the course of the assessment of your programme of learning. An appeal may only be submitted in relation to a final decision.

Please read our Appeals Policy as it explains the steps to take when applying, in particular section B 'making an appeal'. Your application must be received within 15 working days after we have communicated the outcome of a decision.

Making a complaint:
A complaint should be made if you are dissatisfied by one of our products or services as soon as possible, but no later than 10 working days from the date of the occurrence.

We deal with all complaints as promptly as possible and within clearly defined timescales. The stages for handling a complaint are listed in our CPQ Complaints Policy.

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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