The Regulated Diploma in Financial Planning is a QCF approved level 4 qualification. This means that is satisfies the minimum standard for financial planners and financial advisors as laid down by the recent Retail Distribution Review (RDR). All financial planners working after 2012 will require a QCF level 4 qualification, and this article details some of the facts surrounding one of the industries most popular courses.
R01 – Financial Services, Regulation, Ethics. This module focuses on the main types of financial products, the FSA and other regulatory bodies, the rules financial advisors need to follow, and ethical frameworks.
R02 – Investment Principles and Risk. This module is concerned with the technical knowledge of an advisor. It covers the characteristics of different investments, some macroeconomics and theories concerning risk and return.
R03 – Personal Taxation. This module concerns all personal taxes from income tax to national insurance to capital gains.
R04 – Pensions and Retirement planning. This module covers pensions, trusts and other relevant retirement planning topics at an overview but not exhaustive level.
R05 – Financial Protection. Financial protection means insurance, and this module picks up from R01 and goes into more detail surrounding different types of insurance and how an advisor should approach recommendations.
R06 – Financial Planning Practise. This is the largest of the modules, and tests your practical application of all the above to actual case studies. This is a whollistic summary module which requires R01-R05 as assumed knowledge.
Modules R01- R05 are each assessed through a 100 question multiple choice test sat on the computer. There are many test centres across the UK which offer exam dates all year round, and as often as three times a week. Assessments must be booked at least 1 week before sitting date.
Module R06 is assessed by a formal written exam which has 3-4 dates per year, evenly spread out. Extra revision classes are available to support students for this one-off exam type.
The fees for Regulated Diploma in Financial Planning consistent of the following categories: Course Texts, Exam Sitting, Revision Aids
Course texts range in price from £40 for R05 to £130 for R06, reflecting the varying amount of content in each module.
Exam sittings also vary in price from £60 for R05 to £162 for R06. Resits are charged at the same rate.
A vast array of revision materials are offered, from audio guides, mock questions, revision classes and summary notes. The extent to which a student relies on these aids will dramatically alter the cost of the course, as revision classes often cost as much as the course text and exam combined!
The total fees for a student who passes each exam first time, and buys the course texts and mock question sets would be roughly £1,500. However this could potentially increase to £3,000 with revision classes and resits. This should only give an indication of costs. If you work for a financial advisory firm, they will pay for these costs for you.