I want to become a financial adviser; what qualifications do I need?


Becoming a successful adviser stems from a desire to help people achieve their financial goals; by gaining relevant qualifications, you can acquire valuable knowledge that will benefit your service, and your clients.

In order to comply with the FCA, advisers need to be qualified to a certain level. To advise retail clients, you must have a level 4 diploma; new entrants have 30 months from when they begin a role to complete it.

There are a number of providers who run courses that meet the FCA’s requirements for retail advisers; one is the CII level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning.

Learners gain insight into all aspects of financial planning; including how a financial institution works, service offerings and regulation and ethics, as well as the opportunity to practice the application of the financial planning process.

This course is suitable for those who already hold credits that count towards completion; you will need to have a CII qualification or equivalent to enrol. You can find out more information about entry requirements and syllabus specifics at The Chartered Insurance Institute’s site.

If you don't already hold credits, the CII level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning will be more suitable.

Qualifications are also required for advisers who want to provide specific advice, such as mortgage and pension transfer;

  • the level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Advice develops a crucial understanding of the mortgage sector and meets the FCA’s qualification requirements for mortgage advisers;
  • the level 4 Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice develops in-depth knowledge and practical skills needed to advise on the transfer of safeguard benefits and meets the FCA’s qualification requirements for those who want to undertake pension transfer activities.

You can also choose to extend your qualifications once you have reached FCA standards. The level 6 Advanced Diploma builds on existing knowledge and can lead to chartered status once you have over 5 years’ experience.

While hands-on experience dealing with clients will always be paramount, gaining qualifications creates a foundation of valuable knowledge that is particularly useful if you are beginning your path to an adviser role.

If you are interested in becoming a trainee IFA, AFH offer an 18-month trainee programme. You will gain on-the-job experience around the whole of the business, as well as receive continued support as you work towards achieving the level 4 diploma.

If you have any questions and would like to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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