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Q: How do I identify the qualifications I need?

The list can be viewed on their website at

As of summer 2011, new entrants can take the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning qualification in order to be RDR compliant.

If candidates have an existing QCF level four (or above) qualification and are CII or Personal Finance Society members then they should make use of the CII’s gap fill tool.

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This will take into account any existing qualifications candidates may have and provide CPD solutions on how to fill these gaps to reach the FSA’s requirements.

However regulatory requirements are not the only driver for advisers in determining which qualifications to take; your employer may require you to hold certain qualifications.

You should consider whether the subjects are most suitable for you, your clients and your firm, according to Lucy Courtenay, qualifications director of the Institute of Financial Planning.

She said: “You should look at the syllabus and the learning outcomes to consider whether those are a good fit. Very often, the syllabus or qualification guides will suggest who might want to take the particular exams.

“You may be working towards a particular qualification or designation so you will want to choose the more efficient route to qualification but it makes sense to choose relevant subjects to gain your credits.

“If you pick subjects that are not relevant, the studying will be more difficult and less interesting.”

Mark Roberts, further education development manager of the ifs School of Finance, said advisers should ask themselves the following questions:

• What job role are you in now and does it have any requirements for qualifications?

• What job role do you aspire to and does it have any qualification requirement?

When you have determined broadly what your need is, Mr Roberts said there is a variety of sources of advice to ensure you pick the right test.

Mr Roberts said consider discussing the exam options you face with colleagues, your HR or training team, awarding bodies or the FSA website.

He said: “The best source of advice is likely to be colleagues, particularly those that have studied the qualifications and can tell you first-hand of their experiences.

“Check if your employer sponsor examination routes and if there is other support available (study leave, additional materials, training courses etc).

“Some employers will have a preferred qualification and will offer support based on this.”