Differences between DipFA and DipPFS

Many roles in the Financial Services market require you to be “Diploma Qualified” and you may be confused at the vagueness of this statement. Hopefully, in this blog, we will be able to break down for you the differences in the two main diplomas for financial planning.

What are the two main diplomas for financial planning?

DipFA and DipPFS.

What is DipFA? (LIBF)

The Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) is a Level 4 FCA approved qualification that is required to provide professional advice on retail investment(s). It is broken down into two units:

Unit 1: Financial Services Regulation Ethics (FSRE) which is a 2-hour objective exam comprising 90 multiple-choice questions and 2 case studies with 5 linked multiple-choice questions.

Unit 2: Advanced Financial Advice (AFA) consists of two parts, coursework and a written exam. The coursework includes a main written assignment and short answer questions. The second part is a 3-hour written exam based on a pre-released fact find, which is made available 6 weeks before the exam.

How much does DipFA cost?

The 2021 registration fee for the DipFA qualification is £1,090 with tutor support and £990 without tutor support through the LIBF, and this price includes study materials and exam entry. Additional fees for resits, deferrals and resubmissions would be incurred.

Pros of DipFA:

  • You can study at your own pace online
  • Varied study options so you can pick the one for your learning style
  • Student membership for one year with additional benefits
  • Access to career support and guidance
  • Use the ‘DipFA’ designation after your name once you qualify
  • Invitations to events and webinars from industry leaders

What is DipPFS (Cii)

DipPFS comprises unit options from the CII Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a total of 140 credits on successful completion. There are 37 units to choose from, including the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, the Diploma units listed below and the Advanced Diploma units. At least 80 credits must be at Diploma level (J02, J03, J05, J07, J09-J12, R01-R04, R06-R08) and a maximum of 30 credits at Advanced Diploma level.

Important note – AF2 and J03 will be withdrawn after the 2020-2021 syllabus, with the final assessment opportunity in the Q2 2021 exam session. Any credits already achieved from these units will continue to count towards the completion requirements of the Diploma in Financial Planning and the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning after the unit’s withdrawal.

How much does DipPFS cost?

In a blog we wrote back in 2019 we broke down the costs of DipFA and DipPFS. The typical cost for DipPFS are as follows;

Although this can vary depending on what units you take (see below)

Pros of DipPFS:

  • Flexible in that you can choose what modules you want to do
  • You can use the DipPFS designation to demonstrate your knowledge and technical capability, and your ongoing commitment to professional development
  • EFA designation, through their mutual recognition agreement with the European Financial Planning Association
  • Discounts on a range of learning and development services including study and revision materials and exam entry
  • Access to key market information through their library of financial planning publications, reports and documents
  • Membership to a PFS region and CII local institute providing local CPD events, training and networking opportunities
  • CPD scheme to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date
  • Market news and updates from their membership magazine, Personal Finance Professional
  • Access to a range of high street and online discounts through Perks, their affinity benefits scheme 

What is the difference between DipFA and DipPFS?

In the long term, there are no differences between the two qualifications, ultimately, they should get you to the same destination.

Is DipFA better than the DipPFS?

No, they both achieve the same outcome, you become diploma qualified either way.

Should I go with DipPFS or DipFA?

If you have already started one; carry on with that one. If not, deciding which qualification to take will likely come down to which better suits your personal circumstances, such as cost and how you can fit in study with your work and personal commitments.