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Level 6 Diploma in Financial Advice (Adv DipFA®)

  • Overview
  • Cost
  • Units
  • Studying
  • Assessment
  • CPD
  • Registration
  • Progression


The Level 6 Diploma in Financial Advice (Adv DipFA®) 600/6862/0 is an advanced qualification for ambitious retail investment advisers that can lead to Chartered status. The Diploma is two levels above the Level 4 DipFA® qualification and requires a large amount of independent study. The qualification is ideal for professionals that would like to differentiate themselves from their peers and demonstrate the highest of professional standards.

Each of the units are taught entirely online and have been developed in close consultation with working professionals in the financial advice sector and feedback from our members. The Diploma explores in more detail the theories and practices associated with financial advice and planning for customers.

Taxation, Trusts and Tax Compliance (TTTC) Unit
TTTC provides comprehensive coverage of the UK taxation and trusts legislation and regulations and enables students to interrogate existing rules and provide appropriate recommendations.

Managing Investments (MANI) Unit
MANI teaches the principles and theories associated with performance measurement of investments and how to manage investment portfolios to achieve client objectives in accordance with legislation and regulations.

Award in Pension Transfers (AwPETR) / Pension Transfers Unit
PETR equips students with the required knowledge and practical skills in order to excel as Pension Transfer Specialist. Find out more on the Award in Pension Transfers qualification page.

Later Life Planning and Advice (LLPA) Unit
LLPA enables students to develop a strategy for a UK client's later life planning and also to advise clients or other stakeholders on the implications of financial decisions taken in later life.

Please refer to the 'Studying' tab to view registration and examination dates.

Important Qualification Related Information

Further information relating to the Adv DipFA Qualification Specification.
View the Level 6 Diploma in Financial Advice (AdvDipFA) product card.
Read more about the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).


Each unit has the following associated fees:

Registration fee
Includes online learning materials and initial examination entry
£450.00 per unit*
Coursework resit / deferral fee £179.00
Examination resit / deferral fee £206.00
Resit both Full registration fee

* Bursaries are available to eligible students.

Please note: No core study materials or printed study guide are provided for this qualification.


If you wish to obtain the Level 6 Diploma in Financial Advice; you must complete all four units.

Module Unit Detail Syllabus
Adv DipFA® Taxation, Trusts and Tax Compliance
Develop an understanding of how to analyse a range of data and information that will contribute to the development of a taxation and trust strategy for a client that complies with relevant legislation and regulations, within an ethical framework.
(150 hours Total Qualification Time (TQT))

View the unit aims, learning outcomes and assessment criteria
Managing Investments
Explore the essential principles and theories associated with performance measurement of investments and the management of investment portfolios to achieve client objectives.
(150 hours Total Qualification Time (TQT))

View the unit aims, learning outcomes and assessment criteria.
Pension Transfers
Learn how to interrogate rules, legislation and regulations in order to provide appropriate recommendations on strategies to meet a clients' pension transfer needs.
(150 hours Total Qualification Time (TQT))

View the unit aims, learning outcomes and assessment criteria
Later Life Planning and Advice
This unit explores strategies to be employed and considerations needed when developing later life strategies for clients.
(150 hours Total Qualification Time (TQT))

View the unit aims, learning outcomes and assessment criteria.
Specialist option unit The specialist option unit must be from a specialist area of financial advice, eg mortgages (DipMAP®). Qualifications in generic financial advice, eg DipFA® cannot be included. Credit will only be given for one specialist option unit, and this must be sufficiently different to the other units.
(Minimum 100 learning hours at QCF Level 4 or above)


Each unit which is part of the Adv DipFA® is a distance learning qualification delivered online using structured weekly study guides. It is recommended that the average student spends 150 hours Total Qualification Time (TQT) for each unit. The complete course is achievable within 18 - 24 months.

You will be provided with online access to a variety of learning support material including online tutor support, webinars, student forums and group activities, access to ifs KnowledgeBank, exemplar coursework and examination papers.

Students will also have online access to a student handbook and a weekly learning plan covering key qualification features, study technique and content applicable for achieving the learning outcomes.

Study timetables

(1) L6 TTTC+MANI+PETR+LLPA - Feb 2016 session

(2) L6 TTTC+MANI+PETR+LLPA - Aug 2016 session

(1) L6 TTTC+MANI+PETR+LLPA - Feb 2017 session

(2) L6 TTTC+MANI+PETR+LLPA - Aug 2017 session

Please note that fees are payable if you wish to defer your studies after registration.

Taster study resources

The following resources are extracts from the Taxation, Trusts and Tax Compliance unit and are provided to give you an idea of the course approach, design and workload before embarking on the programme.

Example study guide week

The following is a study guide topic representing one week's work from the Taxation, Trusts and Tax Compliance unit. The study guide for each unit is delivered online through a course website and contains embedded activities and resources.

View the example study guide week.

Course website preview

Each unit is an online course and the course website is the centre of all the activity. The video below (1 min 12) will give an overview of how the website works and an idea of what to expect from online learning with the Institute.

Webinar extract

Webinars are online tutorials led by your tutor. The following video is a short extract (1 min 24) from the Taxation, Trusts and Tax Compliance unit introductory webinar, where the tutor outlines the range of resources available to support students.

Please note that in order to reflect any changes to syllabuses, including matters arising from the annual budget, the study materials for some units are updated annually. It is your responsibility to ensure you are studying from the most up-to-date materials. The most up-to-date learning materials, updates and amendments can be found on my ifslearning, and we suggest that you log in regularly to check for updates.


Each unit is assessed by a written coursework assignment and a written paper-based examination.

The coursework assignment element consists of one question worth 25 marks. Feedback on the coursework assignment will be given by the unit tutor.

The paper-based examination element consists of short and long answer questions worth 75 marks.

A minimum of 40% is required to pass; a maximum of 25% attributed from the coursework assignment element and a maximum of 75% attributed from the paper-based examination element.

All Units

Pass coursework assignment

Pass examination


Fail coursework assignment

Fail examination

Full re-registration required

Pass coursework assignment

Fail examination

Resit examination

Fail coursework assignment

Pass examination

Re-attempt the coursework assignment


Individuals can claim CPD by studying any studying any of these Level 6 units. This CPD meets the requirements set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for purposes of retention of an SPS or CPA.

The FCA requires:

  • a minimum of 35 hours' CPD per year with 21 of those hours being structured. Studying for a qualification is classified as structured CPD.
  • CPD carried out is reflective of the current examination standards (QCF Level 4) as a minimum. The Adv DipFA® is QCF Level 6 and the syllabus reflects elements of the current examination standards.
  • that learning from the CPD is measurable. This is confirmed through the coursework and examination assessments.

The SPS / CPA CPD requirements are clearly set out in the Institute's Continuing Professional Development Verification and Recognition Policy (CPD)

Individuals will be required to demonstrate their commitment to achieving the qualification by evidencing their study path / plan.

As a general rule, the Institute will allow a maximum of 10 hours per week to be claimed as CPD from studying any of the units in the Adv DipFA®. If individuals have carried out more study time than this they should clearly document why additional time is being claimed in their CPD log.

The recommended maximum CPD claims and the mapped exam standards are as follows:

Unit CPD Hours Exam Standard(s)
Taxation, Trusts and Tax Compliance 150 UK taxation system in relation to individuals, trusts and investments
Managing Investments 150 Main characteristics and behaviours of asset classes and investment products; Principles of the time value of money and understand the investment advice process
Pension Transfers 150 Pensions law; Regulation in relation to pensions planning; Aims & objectives of retirement planning including the investment issues and Structure, characteristics and application of defined benefit and defined contribution schemes
Later Life Planning and Advice 150 Range and application of long term care insurance; Needs and priorities in selecting appropriate financial protection solutions; Legal concepts in relation to financial advice and Taxation in relation to individuals and trusts

Individuals studying for a resubmission of new summative coursework assignment or a resit of an examination will be permitted to claim additional study time. The Institute expects that CPD time claimed for this additional study accurately reflects the time taken to bring the individuals knowledge up to the necessary standard to pass the summative coursework assignment or examination.


Entry requirements

To register for any of the units, students must already hold ifs University College DipFA® or equivalent qualification as deemed appropriate by the FCA for the provision of Financial Advice.

Register by post / email - download and complete the following registration form and either send this to the address stated on the form or by email.

You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view these files – you can download this program for free from the Adobe website.

If you have any questions about your application, please contact Student and Customer Services on +44 (0) 1227 818609 or email us.


Membership of the Institute of Financial Services includes access to benefits that help you to maintain your skills and knowledge, as well as supporting your career ambitions. It costs £72 per annum and can be paid monthly by Direct Debit at no extra cost.

Apply for membership


Chartered status

If you complete all four units, you will obtain the Level 6 Diploma in Financial Advice (Adv DipFA®). Successfully completing the Adv DipFA® can lead to Chartered status with the Institute. Applicants for Chartered status must have at least two years' relevant work experience.

Achieving and maintaining Chartered status is a mark of professional standing that recognises academic achievement, an ongoing dedication to professional development and a commitment to the highest ethical and business standards.

Once Chartered status has been achieved it must be maintained through membership of the Institute, and completion of a programme of high quality, structured, continuing professional development such as that required to qualify for a Statement of Professional Standing under the FCA's rules on training and competence for retail investment advisers.

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