Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)

Professional qualifications

Level 4 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

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

Financial advisers provide regulated financial advice to help people make the most of their existing wealth. This can include planning for retirement, advising on investments, helping people to make tax efficient savings, and more.

The key responsibilities include:

  • meeting with clients and discussing their financial goals
  • answering client questions and educating them about investment options and potential risks
  • researching and recommending investments for clients
  • helping clients plan for the future, such as retirement
  • monitoring client account performance or accommodating life changes, such as marriage.

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

Whether you've just graduated from university, are moving up in an existing role or looking to start a whole new career – a career in financial advice has never been more fulfilling.

When studying DipFA you’ll learn all the skills you need to begin your career as a financial adviser. And, because we include case study-based learning, you’ll gain practical knowledge that you can immediately apply in the workplace.

During your studies, you’ll become a Member of LIBF (MLIBF). Membership offers benefits such as career support and access to professional networking events.

Your studies will cover

  • The purpose and structure of the UK financial services industry
  • The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) main aims, and the rules and regulations that apply to financial advice
  • The different risks that might affect customers’ financial needs, including both economic and personal
  • The potential solutions for the main areas of financial advice
  • How to source and analyse client data
  • How to create, implement and maintain financial plans
  • How to formulate and communicate financial advice to clients
How much does it cost?              £1,380 for the full qualification

Students can also register by module and the fees are:
  • Module one – Financial Services, Regulation & Ethics (FSRE): £320
  • Module two – Taxation: £220
  • Module three – Investment: £220
  • Module four – Protection: £220
  • Module five – Retirement Planning: £220
  • Module six – Coursework: £180
The price includes your study materials and first assessment entry.
 Registration You can register to study DipFA from 15 January, but you will not get access to the course material until 25 February.
Average time to complete
Nine months
Number of modules Six
 Entry requirements There are no specified entry requirements. However, you need to be satisfied of your ability to study in English. 
How will I be assessed? Multiple-choice exams and final coursework. View the assessment section for further details.

You can take your exams 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: 

  • specimen coursework assignment
  • unit syllabuses
  • online tutor forum
  • specimen exams and exemplars
  • 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 during your studies including:
  • 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
  • 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

Module one – Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE)

FSRE will introduce you to the financial services profession, and develop your knowledge and understanding of regulations, legislations and the Code of Ethics. 

It’s a comprehensive module that not only looks at the FCA approach to regulation but also the relevant laws and legislation that advisers adhere to in their day-to-day activities.

It also looks at the skills required when dealing with clients and the different financial products and the services clients may need at various stages of their lives and the potential solutions that could help them.

Module two – Advanced Financial Advice – Taxation (AFAT)

This module develops your knowledge and understanding of the UK taxation system, it also develops your ability to analyse the taxation treatment of individuals and trusts when advising on investments.

Financial advisers require a general knowledge of individual taxation, including inheritance tax and the taxation of trusts. They also need to understand how different investment solutions are taxed when providing advice and discussing potential solutions with clients.

Module three – Advanced Financial Advice – Investments (AFAI)

Delves into the economic environment and its impact on investments as well as providing a detailed understanding of investment products and their performance in different situations.  

Understand the different investment theories and learn the framework required to advice clients on their investment choices to meet a wide range of different objectives.  

Module four – Advanced Financial Advice – Protection (AFAP)

Build your understanding of the need for financial protection and why your clients need to recognise its importance. This module looks at the role and limitations of state benefits and the various policies and solutions available to meet any protection shortfalls. 

It ensures you know the main features of the potential solutions available, how they work in detail and to be able to identify the clients protection needs and potential priorities in different circumstances. It also provides you with the skills needed to be advise clients to ensure they prioritise any protection shortfalls accordingly. 

Module five – Advanced Financial Advice – Retirement Planning (AFAR)

Explore retirement planning and the political, economic, and social environmental factors which provide the context for pensions planning as well as the different taxation regime that applies.

Learning about retirement planning ensures you have a comprehensive grounding on the different state pension benefits that are provided and their relevance to an individual's pension planning.  It also ensures you understand the structure, characteristics and application of defined-benefit (DB) schemes and the range of defined-contribution (DC) scheme options available. 

It also provides you with the knowledge required to be able to discuss the options available and the factors that need to be considered when drawing pension benefits. 

Module six – Advanced Financial Advice – Coursework (AFAC)

This coursework module develops your knowledge and capability to be able to demonstrate your ability to provide effective financial planning solutions for clients.  

It ensures you understand the process of gathering client information for holistic financial planning, are able to analyse the information and can create, formulate, and communicate this effectively.  

It ensures that your able to demonstrate your understanding of all of the previous five modules when advising clients in various situations.

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

How to book your exam and assessments

Module one to five

Exams are sat electronically at any one of the Pearson Vue test centres across the UK or via Remote Invigilation where you can sit your assessment remotely. 

It is recommended that exams are booked two months in advance of the date you wish to sit. However, subject to availability, an examination can be booked as little as two working days in advance.

Module six

On registration of module six (coursework) you will be able to choose a specific coursework session. You can view and change your coursework session via MyLIBF, but this must be changed before the deadline date.


Module one:

You’ll take a two-hour multiple-choice exam that is split into 2 units, each unit will include:

  • 25 multiple-choice questions
  • Three case studies with five linked multiple-choice questions
  • Both units are worth a total of 80 marks

Module two-five:

You’ll take a 90-minute multiple-choice exam for each module that is split into 2 units. Each unit will include:

  • 20 multiple-choice questions
  • Two case studies with five multiple-choice questions related to each case study
  • Each unit is worth 30 marks

Module six:

  • Coursework consisting of pre-released fact find with an essay response worth 240 marks

Resit attempts

There are no restrictions on the number of times you can resit a module in which you were unsuccessful. For the multiple-choice units (modules one-five) you will only need to resit the unit(s) you have failed.

Exam and assessment information

Tutor support

You’ll get access to our team of experienced web tutors through an online tutor forum.

The tutors are all experts in their fields and have extensive experience 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.  

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.

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 academies to teach DipFA.

These 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 in a classroom environment but from the comfort of your own home. Small class sizes allow you to benefit from an interactive style of learning. You’ll 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. This virtual learning platform allows you to study at a place and time that suits you, 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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