The Exam due for the July sitting provides a fairly complex financial planning scenario, based on the needs of a fictional Mr and Mrs Osbourne
Many of the issues present in the exam are very similar to “real life” scenarios so the IFS have provided a suitable exam challenge for students looking to qualify as financial advisers.
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 client’s circumstances, needs and objectives.
This blog summarises some of the key issues students 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 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. This is particularly crucial as Mrs Osborne is a higher rate taxpayer and both clients have assets.
Additionally some specific areas to consider are;
Retirement planning including ‘final salary pension’ schemes
Needs based Protection planning including reviewing existing policies
Share Incentive Plans
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. Students 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 students 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 support can be found by booking attendance at one of Futuretrend’s DipFA courses.
Paul Davis, BA (Hons); Cert Mgmt (Open); Dip. PFS .