An Overview of the DipFA qualification: What is DipFA

The Diploma for Financial Advisors (DipFA) is a Level 4 FCA-approved qualification that is required to provide professional advice on retail investment(s).

DipFA is one of the main qualifications needed to start a career as a Financial Advisor and studying for it can be daunting if you don’t know how to approach it. In this blog, we will explore how this qualification can benefit your career and why it is important, whilst also giving you tips on how you can study for it, if you decide it’s the right qualification for you!

We have already posted a video on our YouTube channel about the DipFA, so check that out, after reading, for even more information on the DipFA qualification.

Benefits of studying DipFA

The DipFA qualification is a great way to start your career as a Financial Advisor and there are many benefits to the course and undertaking it. Some examples from the LIBF website include:

  • 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


  • Financial Advisors have the option to be employed or self-employed which both hold different benefits and can be differently suited to your personal circumstances
  • Reed estimates that the median earnings for a Financial Advisor is around £65,000 based on all of their active vacancies 

This qualification can be the starting place for a long and prosperous career in financial advice!

How much does the DipFA qualification cost?

The 2022 registration fee for the DipFA qualification is £1,160 with tutor support and £1,050 without tutor support through the LIBF. Additional fees for resits, deferrals and resubmissions would be incurred.

The £1,160 includes exam entry and study materials.

The LIBF website details the below as some of the study materials which are included with or without tutor support.

The study materials are as follows:

  • Access to their virtual library KnowledgeBank
  • Online and printed study text
  • Online student forum
  • Specimen papers
  • Exemplars papers
  • Online access to their student portal MyLIBF
  • Online access to study texts, is available as soon as you register
  • Hard copies of the study texts
  • A student handbook covering key qualification features and study technique
  • Access to a tutor-supported forum for Unit 1
  • Specimen papers for Unit 1
  • Exemplar papers and further reading for Unit 2

The DipFA qualification is broken down into two units.

What are the units of DipFA?

When you study for your DipFA qualification, it will be divided into 2 units which are as follows:

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 long does the DipFA qualification take?

The LIBF require you to sit the Unit 1 exam of DipFA within 12 months of registering and is open for applications all year round. They recommend you undertake 3 months of study time. You will sit this exam through a Pearson VUE test centre much like the CeMAP qualification and your driving theory test.

There are four registration periods for Unit 2. “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.”

The LIBF predict the Total Qualification Time for the DipFA qualification being 400 hours averagely taking students 9 months to complete. Therefore, it is important you make sure you regularly plan time to study.

How to revise Unit 1 of DipFA

Unit 1 comprises of 90 multiple-choice questions and 2 case studies with 5 linked multiple-choice questions. The recommendation from the LIBF is to allow three months’ study time for Unit 1, and to sit the exam before starting work on Unit 2.

  1. Create a schedule to systematically work through the online and printed study text and the rest of the online material to make sure you are looking at the whole specification
  2. We would also advise people to go through all available specimen papers under exam conditions to ensure you are comfortable when the real exam comes around
  3. Strongly consider tutor-support and how best you can utilise a tutor if necessary (by focusing on your weaker points or parts of the qualification you are unsure on)

How to revise Unit 2 of DipFA

Unit 2 consists of two separate parts, coursework and a written exam. The coursework includes a main written assignment and short answer questions. The second part is a 3-hour typed exam based on a pre-released fact find, which is made available 6 weeks before the exam. The pass mark for both aspects of unit 2 is 50% and your score in the coursework assignment accounts for 30% of the exam final grades. Some learning providers will be able to give you a detailed structure of the coursework aspect such as; getting started, writing the body, referencing, writing a bibliography and submitting your work.

With the AFA Written exam, it will represent 70% of the overall unit mark and will combine knowledge, understanding and application of the Unit. You will be required to write a suitability report based on the fact find that is released 6 weeks prior to your exam. Our advice would be to really study the released fact find and think about all of the stances that you could take when writing the sustainability report.

The recommendation from the LIBF is to allow a study time of six months to complete the unit.

What support is available for DipFA?

The LIBF state “If you select the ‘with tutor support’ option for Unit 2 when registering, you will also have access to experienced web tutors through an online forum, who will guide you throughout the course. Their tutors are all experts who have worked as Financial Advisors. This means that as well as explaining the theory, they can show you how it translates into practice by drawing on their experience. You’ll be able to post questions to the forum about the learning or the coursework and your tutor will get back to you with a reliable and personalised response.” Tutor support is an extra £100 bringing the total response to £1,090.

There are 2 Trusted Partners and 2 Accredited Learning Support Providers recognised by the LIBF for DipFA. View the full list below:



Overall, the DipFA is a great qualification to help you achieve a career as a Financial Advisor In this blog we have covered:

  • The benefits of studying DipFA
  • How much it costs
  • The DipFA units
  • How long it takes
  • How to revise for unit 1
  • How to revise for unit 2
  • The support available for those completing DipFA

DipFA is one of the go to qualifications when looking to start a career as a Financial Advisor. When you pass, make sure you know what your next steps are. As a business, we have covered the key things like Writing your CV for financial servicesFinding a new job and How to transition your career which could be especially useful if you are becoming a Financial Advisor for the first time. 

View our Financial Advisor jobs now or call/email us to discuss your circumstances and what roles could be suitable for you free of charge at: