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Qualified financial advisers

Mike Hunt

Qualified financial advisers

Ask your financial advisor about their credentials when you meet for the first time. The most important thing is to verify that they are legitimate and competent, and the second is to ensure they possess the specialist knowledge you need. Any well-qualified adviser will be pleased to show you their certificates to prove their competence in the various fields.

Here's our glossary of the most common qualifications that you'll encounter so you can double-check them and understand what they mean.

What grade do you have? QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework)

The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is used to assess most financial qualifications. These have been graded according to a QCF system, from level 1 to level 8. Here is a comparison of the levels to more familiar qualifications to help you understand them:

  • QCF level 1-2 - Below A-level
  • QCF level 3 - A-level
  • QCF level 4 - Part qualified degree
  • QCF level 5 - Degree
  • QCF level 6-7 - Masters Degree
  • QCF level 8 - PhD

What is their Statement of Professional Standing?

A current Statement of Professional Standing is required for every individual financial adviser selling investment products, securities, or derivatives. The certificate indicates that they are adhering to a code of ethics and completing at least 35 hours of continuing education each year to keep abreast of changes in the industry and regulations.

The following list displays the specific qualifications approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the only kind we recognize. The qualifications issued by each institution are accessible by visiting the website for the following bodies:

  • Chartered Insurance Institute
  • Personal Finance Society
  • The London Institute of Banking and Finance
  • Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland
  • CFA Society of the UK
  • Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment
  • Institute of Financial Planning
  • Pensions Management Institute
  • Scottish Qualification Authority
  • Financial regulators of the British Isles

All financial advisers listed on are regulated by one of the following bodies:


Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman

Isle of Man Financial Services Authority

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