Different routes to become a qualified Financial Adviser

Different routes to become a qualified Financial Adviser

There are 2 main routes you can utilise to obtain your financial planning qualifications to become a Financial Adviser – The London Institute of Banking & Finance and the Chartered Insurance Institute.

The London Institute of Banking & Finance (DipFA)

The London Institute of Banking & Finance enables you to gain the DipFA qualification which is an industry benchmark Financial Adviser qualification, which meets the FCA’s qualification requirement for retail investment advisers.

DipFA consists of two units.

  • Unit 1 – Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE) Recommended study time 3 months

This unit starts as soon as you register, and you have 9 months to sit the exam. It is recommended to sit the exam before you start the Advanced Financial Advice unit. It contains 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) Study time 6 months

AFA has 2 assessment components: A coursework and a 3-hour examination based on pre-released client fact find. Coursework is submitted after approximately 16 weeks of study and comprises a written assignment and short answer questions. 3-hour typed exam based on pre-released fact find available six weeks prior to the exam.


  • Registration fee with tutor support – £920 (includes materials, tutor support and exam entry)
  • Registration fee without tutor support – £820 (includes materials and exam entry)

Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning

The RQF level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning meets the FCA’s qualification requirements for retail investment advisers, developing core technical knowledge and financial planning capabilities across six core areas.

Specific study time guidelines are provided for each unit on its webpage and in the CII qualifications brochure. The notional Ofqual ‘Total Qualification Time’ for this qualification is 370 hours. This represents the time a student might typically take to complete the qualification.

Diploma units are assessed by multiple-choice question exam (MCQ) (R01, R02, R03, R04, and R05), and a written case study-based exam (R06). For online MCQ exams, result notification is immediate on completion. For paper-based MCQ exams, results are released five weeks’ following the exam sitting. Written exam results are normally released 6-8 weeks following the exam sitting.

Unit Credits Level Cost (Study text + Exam fee) Member / Non-Member
R01 – Financial services, regulation and ethics 20 4 £226 / £316
R02 – Investment principles and risk 20 4 £226 / £316
R03 – Personal taxation 10 4 £136 / £180
R04 – Pensions and retirement planning 10 4 £136 / £180
R05 – Financial protection 10 3 £136 / £180
R06 – Financial planning practice 30 4 £249 / £340
Total Cost: £1,109 / £1,512

Membership costs £79 for the year. It is advisable to join if you intend to take this route as you can see from the above, it is certainly cost effective.

For more information on either route click the links below.

Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

The London Institute of Banking & Finance (DipFA)

Job Opportunities as a Trainee Financial Adviser

Many Financial Planning businesses in the UK are now identifying the need to bring new talent into the industry. At Premier Jobs UK, through our strong relationships we have established with our client companies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we regularly are in discussions with business owners / hiring managers on recruiting Trainee Financial Advisers. This may be on a one-off basis or creating a regular intake of new starters.

Many firms now have structured training schemes in place they can utilise, offering their new starters a clear route into Financial Services. In most cases, you will be taken on initially in an administrative role whilst you learn the ropes through providing support to experienced Financial Advisers, alongside studying for your qualifications. As you increase your knowledge via the on-the-job learning and theoretical reading, your duties will transition into becoming more involved with clients. Depending on your skill and the training plan, you could become a qualified Financial Adviser within 6 – 18 months. Upon graduation as a Financial Adviser, you will then begin to provide financial planning advice to clients and commence a potentially rewarding career.

If you have undergone obtaining your Financial Planning qualifications off your own back, this can potentially put you in a stronger position as it shows your desire and commitment to become a Financial Adviser. Your journey will still require you to undertake a period of training to build your core skills but is likely to allow you to start advising clients much quicker.

Therefore, if you are interested in becoming a Financial Adviser or know someone this could suit, give us a call on 0208 0044 154 to find out what current opportunities we have available.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s blog. Feel free to check out previous blogs and let us know what you want next month’s topic to be, by emailing [email protected] with your suggestions. Yours might feature so look forward to reading your ideas.