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Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)

Professional qualifications

Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)

Take your first step to becoming a qualified financial adviser and embark on a rewarding new career.

About the qualification

If you’re interested in the world of investments and personal finance – and you enjoy working with people – you should consider a career in financial advice.

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

By studying DipFA you will learn all the skills you need to begin your career as a financial adviser. And, because we include case-study-based learning, you will be able to apply your learning to the workplace and gain new knowledge.

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

Your studies will cover

  • The purpose and structure of the UK financial services industry
  • The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) main aims, and the rules and regulations that apply to financial advice
  • The different risks that might affect your customers’ financial needs, including both economic and personal
  • How to source and analyse data
  • How to create, implement and maintain financial plans
  • How to formulate and communicate financial advice

Benefits for you

  • Register for Unit 1 at any time, with four opportunities to register for Unit 2 throughout the year
  • Study at your own pace online
  • Select additional tutor support if you wish
  • Become a student member of LIBF and get additional benefits
  • Get your exam results the same day for Unit 1
  • Use the ‘DipFA’ designation after your name once you qualify
 Registration fee £990 with tutor support

£890 without tutor support
 When to apply? Unit 1 is open for applications all year round. There are four registration periods for Unit 2.

See timetable section for further information.
Number of units             Two
Average time to complete Nine months
Study type  Self-study, distance learning
Study material
  • Access to our virtual library KnowledgeBank
  • Online and printed study text
  • Specimen papers
  • Exemplars papers
  • Online student forum
Additional study material Optional access to experienced web tutors to provide guidance and support.
Assessment type Multiple-choice questions, coursework and case-study based exam
Level 4 qualification registered with Ofqual in the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

Get up-to-date information relating to Coronavirus.


Unit 1 - Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE)

  • Financial institutions and the different services they provide
  • The main components of the financial system and what they do
  • The regulatory framework, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Code of Ethics
  • The nature of risk, both personal and financial
  • The law, and the relationship between regulation and legislation

Unit 2 - Advanced Financial Advice (AFA)

  • The products, services and legislation that inform the financial planning and advice process
  • The principles and theories of investment, retirement planning and protection - and how they connect
  • The importance of consumer-oriented communication and ethical behaviour
  • How to apply your knowledge of financial planning and skills.


Unit 1 – FSRE

You will be able to start studying Unit 1 as soon as you register, and you will have nine months to sit the exam. We advise you to allow three months' study time for Unit 1, and to sit the exam before starting work on Unit 2.

Register for Unit 1 at any time.

Unit 2 – AFA

There are two parts to Unit 2, and we recommend allowing a study time of six months to complete the unit. You can register for one of the following study sessions throughout the year.

 Details Date 
 Registration deadline  19 June 2020
 Course start date  06 July 2020
 Coursework deadline  26 October 2020
 Exam date  21 January 2021

 Details Date 
 Registration deadline  18 September 2020
 Course start date  05 October 2020
 Coursework deadline  25 January 2021
 Exam date  15 April 2021

 Details Date 
 Registration deadline  11 December 2020
 Course start date  11 January 2021
 Coursework deadline  10 May 2021
 Exam date  15 July 2021

Study support

Your registration fee includes:

  • online access to study texts, available as soon as you register
  • hard copies of the study texts, which we will send you by post
  • a student handbook covering key qualification features and study technique
  • access to an online student forum
  • specimen papers for Unit 1
  • exemplar papers and further reading for Unit 2

If you select the 'with tutor support' option when registering, you will also have access to experienced web tutors who will guide you throughout the course.


Unit 1 - Financial Services Regulation and Ethics (FSRE)

You’ll take a two-hour Pearson VUE electronic exam with:

  • 90 multiple-choice questions
  • two case studies, each with five linked multiple-choice questions.

You have nine months from registration to complete the course and sit the exam.

Book your exams at a time to suit you at the Pearson VUE test centre of your choice. You will get your results the same day. 

Unit 2 - Advanced Financial Advice (AFA)

You’ll have to submit coursework online after 16 weeks of study.

You will also have to take a three-hour typed Pearson VUE electronic exam, based on a case study that will be released six weeks before.

You can choose your exam venue when you register for the DipFA course, and your AFA exam will be scheduled for you.

Find out how to book your exam

Get up-to-date information relating to Coronavirus.

External DipFA training courses

Some students prefer a qualification route with extra learning support. We have recognised a select number of DipFA training course providers offering to help support your learning and understanding of the concepts and materials.

DipFA training courses are optional and do not include our DipFA qualification registration fee. You will still need to register and complete the DipFA qualification through us, as we are the only provider who can award DipFA.

Find out more

An RLSP is a training organisation that has joined our RLSP scheme and has been formally recognised by us as delivering appropriate additional learning and training support.


To gain our recognition, an RLSP’s course is assessed rigorously and must continue to meet our standards for the quality and relevance of course content, delivery, trainers, and all programme management procedures.


While all RLSPs’ 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.

Using a third party learning provider is entirely your choice: it is NOT a requirement. However, once you have commenced studying and you feel a need for extra support, 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. Alternatively, many training organisations also offer classed-based workshops and live webinars. The benefits of these include learning with fellow students with the guidance of a qualified trainer, being able to discuss topics relevant to you, 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, click here for a ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency in 2018.


So, if you are considering using a learning support provider that is not an RLSP, we strongly recommend you research it fully. Here are some hints and tips to help you:

  • beware of providers who only offer a call-back service
  • do an online search on the address: does it operate from professional-looking premises?
  • are course fees clearly stated? Does it tell you need to register with The London Institute of Banking & Finance?
  • is syllabus information accurate and up to date?
  • read the provider’s terms and conditions
  • we know of some organisations that use our logo and RLSP badge without permission, so first check RLSP pages for an up to date list of recognised providers.
  • do not simply register and/or pay for a course online. You should first 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 Recognised 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, Sue Sedwell, Head of Accreditation: ssedwell@libf.ac.uk will be happy to help you. 


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Frequently Asked Questions

Your registration fee includes the qualification study materials, and the first sitting of your exam and/or coursework. You will also gain access to MyLIBF (our student portal). Some qualifications include a hard copy of the study text, access to student forums, tutor forum support and specimen papers.

If you need to resit your exam or coursework, you will need to register and pay for a resit.

In line with our charitable objectives, we make means-tested bursaries available to students studying our qualifications.

Bursary information

If you would like to apply for a bursary, please email our Student and Customer Services team or call them on +44 (0)12 2781 8609. Please ensure that you have details of the qualification you intend to study when contacting us. 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) encompasses a student’s previous non-certificated and certificated achievements obtained through another awarding organisation. This has previously been known as an exemption.

Please read our Recognition of Prior Learning Policy as it explains the steps to take when applying. Your application will need to include certified copies of your qualification certificate or transcript.

We aim to provide an outcome within 10 working days. If we need longer, we will let you know.

Special consideration:
The Special Consideration Policy applies to students who believe they have been disadvantaged during, or before, an assessment because of an injury, illness or other unforeseen temporary circumstance beyond their control that may have adversely affected their performance in one or more assessments.

Please read our Special Consideration Policy as it explains the steps to take when applying. Your application will need to include supporting documentation.

Given the individual nature of special consideration claims, we would recommend that you contact our Student Support team on +44 (0)1227 818609 or support@libf.ac.uk for an informal discussion before you submit your application.

For your claim to be considered, you must have initially notified us of your circumstances on or before the submission deadline for coursework or within five days of the exam date. Any applications made outside of this timescale must include an explanation as to why the delay has occurred.

We aim to provide an outcome within 5 – 10 working days. It may take longer if your application is referred to the Concessionary Board.

Reasonable adjustment:
We are committed to providing an inclusive educational experience for all students, regardless of any disabilities or learning difficulties they may have and realise that, without reasonable adjustment, students may be prevented from demonstrating their true level of ability during an assessment.

Given the individual nature of reasonable adjustments, we recommend that you contact our Student Support team on +44 (0)12 2781 8609 or support@libf.ac.uk for an informal discussion before you submit your request. This will allow us to fully understand the nature of your circumstances and advise you on the type of supporting evidence required.

The Reasonable Adjustments Policy explains the steps to take when applying and has an application form included. Your application must be received, with supporting documentation, at least six weeks prior to the date when the adjustment will need to be in place.

You have 14 calendar days from your course start date to cancel your registration and arrange a refund by calling our Student and Customer Services team. You will need to return any hard copy study texts in its original condition.

After this period all fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

If you have booked your exam with Pearson VUE (and are within the cancellation period), you will need to contact them directly at least 24 hours prior to the exam date to cancel it. Then allow at least two hours before calling our Student and Customer Services team to cancel the qualification registration and arrange a refund.

Contact Pearson VUE on +44 (0) 370 608 1915 (Europe, Middle East, Africa region).

Electronic Pearson VUE exam:
Before your registration expiry date you can cancel your exam or change your exam date, time or venue (subject to availability). You will need to contact Pearson VUE directly, giving a minimum of 24 hours’ notice online or at least one working days’ notice by phone prior to your current exam booking. For example, if your exam is booked for a Monday, the latest you can reschedule is the previous Friday.

Pearson VUE can be reached via the details given on your Important Registration Information link on MyLIBF or our ‘Exam booking and information’ page.

Session based exams (set exam date as per study timetable) including Advanced Financial Advice (AFA):
Please telephone Student & Customer Services directly to discuss your options. You may be able to change your venue, but will need to call us at least eight weeks before your exam date to check.

For all exams, if you are unable to provide the required notice due to significant mitigating circumstances, such as sudden illness, please contact Students and Customer Services straight away as you may be eligible for Special Consideration. Supporting documentary evidence is required for a Special Consideration application.

Making a result enquiry:
If you believe there has been an error in the marking of your assessment, you can apply for a result enquiry.

The Assessment Result Enquiry Policy explains the steps to take when applying and has an application form included. Your application must be received within 10 working days after we have communicated your assessment results.

This policy does not apply to students who believe their performance during an assessment may have been affected by external factors, for example noise, illness or unforeseen circumstances. These cases are dealt with under our Special Consideration Policy.

Appealing a decision:
You have the right to appeal to us to review decisions that have been made in the course of the assessment of your programme of learning. An appeal may only be submitted in relation to a final decision.

Please read our Appeals Policy as it explains the steps to take when applying, in particular section B 'making an appeal'. Your application must be received within 15 working days after we have communicated the outcome of a decision.

Making a complaint:
A complaint should be made if you are dissatisfied by one of our products or services as soon as possible, but no later than 10 working days from the date of the occurrence.

We deal with all complaints as promptly as possible and within clearly defined timescales. The stages for handling a complaint are listed in our CPQ Complaints Policy.

Has your question been answered?

If you have any questions or need advice please fill out the form or call +44 (0)12 2781 8609.


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