There is a complex arrangement of the client’s financial affairs at death, and some interesting aspects of their current financial affairs. In many ways, the IFS have delivered a more challenging exam than we have seen for a while, yet perhaps this is actually more realistic in terms of how people’s actual financial arrangements are in real life.
However, as in all fact find exams, regardless of how “life like” or not the exam is, the scenario is actually there to test your knowledge, and crucially, the application of that knowledge, to the clients circumstances, needs and objectives.
This blog summarises some of the key issues candidates will need to consider for this exam, and some pointers that students may find useful to review and refresh themselves of in addition to other study – this blog is not a comprehensive guide to the exam but should get you started.
As always, a solid understanding of taxation is required. Anyone not fully clued up on the tax treatment of pensions, income and investments should immediately head to the IFS Study Folders (issued by the IFS when they started the DipFA course), and look up the Taxation folder, as well as the Retirement Planning folder.
For this particular exam, some key areas are;
- Technical knowledge of Defined Benefit pensions (Final Salary) – is there a little ‘trap’ here for the unwary?!
- Inheritance Tax options and planning
- Investment planning and risk, especially around ethical investments
This is most definitely not a comprehensive list, and of course don’t forget, anything in the syllabus can be considered relevant for the exam. The amendments on the day can cover any issue covered in the Study Folders, or related to these areas. Candidates would be well advised to at least review the sections of the Study Folders for areas of advice they are not familiar with prior to the exam itself. According to recent Examiner’s reports, many candidates are missing out on marks as a result of not sufficiently addressing the amendments on the day. If there are gaps in your knowledge compared to the syllabus, you run the risk of being caught out…
Further help can be found via Futuretrend’s DipFA fact find training courses.