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Qualifications for an IFA?

What qualifications should I expect an independent IFA to have? Is it better if they have chartered status? I want advice on Inheritance planning and general saving.


  • HappyHarry
    HappyHarry Posts: 1,595 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    The minimum level is often called Level 4, which is somewhat higher than it used to be pre 2013.

    To show they meet the minimum standards, the IFA will have a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) from their accredited body, which you can ask to see. You should also check the FCA register.


    Chartered (and Certified) Financial Planners have higher levels of qualification, referred to as Level 6.

    For general saving and inheritance planning, it is unlikely that the higher qualification will be needed.

    However, you should speak to a number of IFAs, and ask them what services they can offer, and how they might go about looking at inheritance planning. You should then be able to reduce down the number of IFAs that you feel are worth meeting.

    From your previous posts, you are already clear that you should also be asking about fees at the same time.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser. Any comments I make here are intended for information / discussion only. Nothing I post here should be construed as advice. If you are looking for individual financial advice, please contact a local Independent Financial Adviser.
  • Atreyu107
    Atreyu107 Posts: 96 Forumite
    Look for a reputable firm with a decent history. Many local IFA's will provide the service you're looking for. Have a look at unbiased.co.uk; they exist specifically to help you find a good adviser.

    As for qualifications, I hold a level four qualification in Financial Advice, but I do so because the firm I work for requires me to hold any level four qualification. But I'm certainly not knowledgeable enough to give regulated advice (and anyway, I don't hold the SPS, and don't want to!). Horses for courses.
    I work in the financial services industry but I am not a financial adviser. I do not give financial advice. Anything I say here is for discussion purposes only and should not be construed as advice.
  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,682 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Chartered status is useful in complicated scenarios but not required in general advice. The qualifications system is modular. So, advisers may focus on further qualifications in the modules they deal with more. Some of these modules are of no benefit in obtaining chartered status. So, a chartered financial planner may be qualified to a higher level overall but may have got there without doing modules that a lower qualified adviser may have done.

    Estate planning can be more complicated but most scenarios would be within the remit of a general IFA. If your scenario is more complicated then maybe an adviser with a focus on estate planning qualifications is a better option.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
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