The Quilter Financial Adviser School (QFAS) has launched a Level 6 Financial Planning in Retirement (FPIR) qualification unit, provided by the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF).

The unit will be added to its offering from February 2022, and applications to join the first cohort to undertake the unit are now open.

The LIBF Financial Planning in Retirement qualification unit will be available as both a fifth module of the current QFAS Level 6 offering, and as a qualification in its own right with a separate designation.

Students will be assessed in three ways, including assessed forum contributions, a video presentation, and a timed assessment, meaning this unit may better suit those students who prefer to be assessed outside of an exam hall.

The first cohort to undertake this unit will embark on a five-month structured study plan delivered by QFAS in February 2022, which will include a wide array of support including online study materials, weekly knowledge assessments, virtual catch ups and workshops, as well as access to a Level 6 tutor.

The FPIR syllabus will focus on holistic retirement planning, and aims to develop knowledge not just on pension options, but also effective later life and Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning.

A total of 140 students have so far studied with QFAS towards a Level 6 unit, 51 of which have achieved Chartered status through the school.

Julian Hince, head of the Quilter Financial Adviser School, said: “We are delighted to be adding the new LIBF Financial Planning in Retirement unit to our already robust Level 6 programme.

“We are proud to have worked closely with the LIBF to develop this unit, which complements and expands our current Level 6 offering and ensures those who undertake the unit are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to provide effective retirement planning advice.

“The FPIR also demonstrates an evolution in the way such qualifications are assessed.

“Unlike those currently available, timed, invigilated exams are not a requirement of this unit.

“Instead, the qualification embraces a unique assessment process developed in response to the needs of financial advice as a profession, as well as the feedback of previous students.

“We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of students undertaking this unit in February 2022.”

John Somerville, head of financial services, professional education at LIBF, added: “Later-life planning has become increasingly complex and older clients now need a much more sophisticated level of advice.

“We’re living longer, which is great news, but income in retirement has become more uncertain.

“More people have defined contribution pensions, meaning they have to actively manage their pension pots in retirement, and they’re likely to have income from multiple sources – including potentially from property.

“Inheritance tax, gifting, equity release and long-term care are just a few of the other things advisers and their clients need to consider.

“This is an expanding market, but a much more bespoke market, meaning advisers need to have more sophisticated levels of knowledge and expertise to really be able to understand individuals’ needs.

“This new qualification recognises that, and uses case studies and ‘real-life’ evidence to really bring these subjects to life.

“Advisers can also study this as part of an advanced Diploma, if they want to take their career to that next level.”