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Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA®)

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

About the qualification

The DipFA is an industry benchmark qualification which meets the FCA's  qualification requirement for retail investment advisers. Highly relevant and practical, the programme is tailored to reflect the role of an IFA, providing you with the required knowledge and skills to apply the subject matter effectively in the workplace. The assessments comprise of case-study-based learning designed to replicate the real-life activities that advisers undertake and an assessment that is partly multiple-choice with results provided on the day.

We support you in your distance-learning through highly active forums with tutors and other students, exemplar coursework and exam specimen papers. Upon completion our ongoing support includes membership of the London Institute of Banking & Finance, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) services and the issuance of Statements of Professional Standing (SPS).

The Diploma for Financial Advisers is a Level 4 qualification registered with Ofqual in the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

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
  • Upon completion, you are able to use the ‘DipFA’ designation after your name 
CPQ Blue Testimonial
The study packs are understandable and the Diploma was very well laid out. The qualification is excellent – so much so that several of us in the office may go onto the Level 6 qualification in due course. Sean Martin - Managing Director, 2mi Financial Services Limited


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


Study Timetables:

January 2017 - October 2017
January 2018 – October 2018

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.

400 study hours are recommended to complete this qualification.

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 written exam based on pre-released factfind available six weeks prior to the exam

Both paper-based and electronic exam venues are available.

View AFA exam venues


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For registration and other enquiries please contact Student and Customer Services on +44 (0)12 2781 8609.