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Financial Planning

Who is this programme for?
The Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning is a six module postgraduate (level 9) education programme offered by the Institute of Banking which is a recognised college of UCD. It is designed for those working in, or who would like to develop a career in, financial planning and wealth management. It is for those who wish to develop their financial planning knowledge and skills to the highest international standards and go beyond the QFA.

The programme is specifically designed to provide financial planners with the knowledge and understanding of the applicable regulatory requirements, the mechanisms and purpose of the main investment products and the ability to satisfy their individual clients' financial planning and investment portfolio needs.

The Graduate Diploma seeks to deepen your technical knowledge in areas such as asset, finance and risk management and retirement planning. Each area provides the building blocks for the integrated personal financial planning module which provides the basis for developing client solutions and building long-term mutually beneficial relationships.

How you will benefit
This programme will provide you with the knowledge and skills required for a career as a professional financial planner.

It will:
•Enhance your knowledge of the constituent disciplines underpinning financial planning including investments, pensions, taxation and estate planning.

•Develop your analytical, problem solving and decision-making skills to produce comprehensive financial planning solutions.

•Evaluate economic, financial and other relevant data to create integrated financial plans.

•Promote a deep understanding of professional values and ethical issues in financial planning execution.

•Prepare you for the Certified Financial Planner designation qualifying examination.

Gateway to the prestigious international designation - Certified Financial Planner professional
Certified Financial Planner professional or CFP certification is the world's most widely respected financial planning designation and it marks the Certified Financial Planner as being professional, competent, ethical and professional to the highest global standards.

At the end of 2016, there were 170,101 CFP professionals in 26 countries around the globe, including all of the main developed and developing economies. Global numbers have increased by almost 10% over the last two years.

The first cohort of candidates in Ireland were CFP certified (with the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning) in early June 2011. There are now 471 CFP professionals in Ireland.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirements for the programme are:

•Relevant Honours business degree (second class honours grade 2 award or higher) in business or a related discipline; or

•Equivalent relevant professional qualification (e.g.) Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA), with three years' relevant work experience obtained in the banking or financial services industry, Chartered Tax Advisers (CTAs), accountants, solicitors and barristers.

Candidates should also have a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel before starting on the programme.

Holders of the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification qualify for an exemption from the Tax and Estate Planning module.

Professional body membership
You must be a member, or become a member of the LIA, the Institute of Banking or the Irish Tax Institute to undertake this programme.


18 months part-time.

This part-time programme is delivered via weekly lectures. Lectures will be offered in the following locations (subject to demand):

- Dublin, city-centre location (evening lectures)
- Portlaoise (lectures are all day Monday)

Students can register for a maximum of two modules per semester. Each 10 ECTS module comprises of up to 30 lecture hours per semester.

Further enquiries

Address: IFSC, 1 North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: +353 (0)1 6116500
Fax: +353 (0)1 6116565

Subjects taught

You will study six modules as follows:
•Principles and Ethics of Personal Financial Planning (NFQ Level 9, 10 ECTS)
•Tax and Estate Planning (NFQ Level 9, 10 ECTS)
•Retirement Planning (NFQ Level 9, 10 ECTS)
•Asset Management (NFQ Level 9, 10 ECTS)
•Financial and Risk Management (NFQ Level 9, 10 ECTS)
•Integrated Personal Financial Planning (NFQ Level 9, 10 ECTS)


Those who successfully complete the course will be awarded the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning by UCD. This is a Level 9 qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications and carries 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.

Candidates who achieve a second class honours grade 2 award in this Graduate Diploma are eligible for the award MSc in Financial Services (level 9) on successful completion of an additional three modules, Risk-Based Financial Management, Behavioural Decision-Making and Winning Business Negotiation Strategies. The MSc in Financial Services is accredited and awarded by UCD (at postgraduate level 9).

The programme acts as a gateway to the prestigious international designation Certified Financial Planner professional.

Financial Planning Standards Board Ireland (FPSB Ireland) requires that a candidate who wishes to become a Certified Financial Planner professional in the Republic of Ireland must:
•Hold the Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) designation and the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning
•Have successfully completed the certification exam set by FPSB Ireland
•Have met the three year experience requirement in financial planning as set out by FPSB Ireland
•Accept continuing obligations for certification, and
•Commit to the ethics and standards required for CFP® professionals.

Assessment method

Assessment is a combination of continuous assessment and end of semester exams.

The pass mark is 40% in all modules in line with UCD academic policy.

Application date

Closing date: Wed 23rd Jan 2019.

Course fee

Fees: €1,100 per module (€6,600 in total)

Enrolment and start dates

Programme commencement: February 2019.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!