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There are two levels of qualifictions for IFA's - those which entitle the holder to enter the profession (such as Financial Planning Certificate) and higher qualifications.

Nowadays, all financial advisers are required by their regulator, the Financial services Authority, to pass an exam known as the Financial planning Certificate (FPC) or an equivalent, before they are allowed to provide financial advice. The FPC is a basic-level exam. From there it is possible to go further, in much the same way as someone with 'A' levels can go on to obtain a degree, an MA or MSc and eventually a PhD or DPhil. Opinion on the academic standard of the FPC varies between commentators, but most experts would accept that it compares roughly with a challenging GCSE or 'O' level, perhaps an 'A' level.

The term "incremental" can be used to describe these higher level qualifications. These can be both general advanced qualifications which demonstrate their holders enhanced levels of knowledge, and specialist additional qualifications which demonstrate their holder knowledge in a particular aspect of financial services and may entitle them to give specific types of advice.   

Advisers may find that having additional qualifications can help them keep up to speed on personal finance topics, with many awarding bodies insisting that records of continuous learning or continuous professional development (CPD) be maintained. Additional qualifications can help to provide reassurance and evidence that an adviser takes professional knowledge and continuing education seriously - which demonstrates a commitment to providing clients with high quality advice.

The company's founder (Daniel Clayden - FPFS) has over 20 years industry experience and is a Chartered Financial Planner. He has also attained the following qualifications:

Mortgage Advice Qualification (MAQ) - In order to provide mortgage advice, FPC and MAQ (or equivalent) must be held

Advanced Financial Planning Certificate (AFPC) - Issued by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), candidates must take and pass 3 advanced exam papers, including compulsory G10.

Fellow, The Personal Finance Society (FPFS) - The Personal Finance Society is the UK's main body for development of professionals in the financial services industry and is part of the CII. Associate membership requires a candidate to sit 6 AFPC exam papers, or equivalents including compulsory G10. Also requiring 3 years' relevant prior experience and 1 years' CPD (Continuous Professional Development). To achieve the Fellowship grade, individuals would be required to have 10 AFPC (Diploma) units or equivalent. This shows a commitment to continuous professional development.

Chartered Financial Planner - Having achieved the APFS designation, advisers can go on to achieve this recognisable benchmark of quality and ethical practice for financial services professionals, elevating financial planning and advice in the public eye to the same standing as other Chartered professions. The holder must demonstrate a combination of experience, financial qualifications, ongoing educational activity (continous professional development) and ethical behaviour.

Daniel has passed the following advanced exam papers

  • AF5 - Financial Planning Process
  • G10 - Taxation and trusts
  • G20 - Personal investment planning
  • G60 - Pensions
  • K10 - Retirement options

and the following certificate level exam papers

  • SV1 - Savings and investments
  • CF7 - Lifetime mortgage activities
  • HR1 - Home reversion plans
  • CF8 - Long term care insurance
  • CF9 - Pensions simplification
  • GR1 - Group Risks
  • FA1 - Life Office Administration

Daniel Clayden FPFS - Director, Clayden Associates

Speak to Clayden Associates ... For the good of your wealth.

(IFA Promotions have produced a range of guides that provide information on a range of financial products that you can download from their website by clicking here. You will be leaving a regulated website by following this link, which is for information purposes only. Clayden Associates does not make any recommendation and cannot be held responsible for the content or accuracy of other sites.)