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Professional Qualifications for Finance Professionals

17 February 2023
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Gaining a finance qualification is vital within specialist roles, acting as a stamp of quality - whether that role be in banking, investment management, accountancy, insurance, risk management, the list goes on.

Like all high-risk, specialist professions, the finance industry demands a enhanced level of competency. Finance professionals should be adaptable and knowledgeable in their field to perform their day-to-day roles to a high standard, as well as adjust to the fast rate of change taking place in the industry.

A competent and highly skilled workforce is therefore critical for any financial organisation to function effectively and be future-proof. In short, better skills equal better business.

In this article, we will highlight what makes financial qualifications critical to the industry, with a focus on the increasing demand for assessments to ensure the right skills are being tested with sufficient and robust methods. Finally, we will outline how Kaplan Assessments can benefit your organisation, with a tailored qualification service that prioritises your objectives.

The Importance of Finance Qualifications for Industry Professionals

At Kaplan Assessments, we understand the important role that professional qualifications play in raising industry standards. As established leaders in advancing competent professionals, our qualifications are industry-tailored to suit your workforce, enabling them to fulfil specialist roles and for your organisation to succeed.

As you’d expect, finance qualifications are of particular importance to finance professionals. To understand why, let’s first take a quick look into what exactly these qualifications entail.

What are Finance Qualifications?

A finance qualification is a certificate that gives your staff the necessary accreditations for a specific skill and is often a regulatory requirement to be able to practise. Positioned in a real-life, professional environment, a finance qualification provides evidence that the candidate has earned the right to practise in their chosen field. As a baseline standard for professional expertise, it can act as a quality mark and be used to elevate the level of competence within your organisation.

Finance qualifications are not only an asset for that professional - they also act as an indication of a competent, valuable, and future-oriented workforce in a rapidly evolving industry. With the increasing, multifaceted demand for roles with an advanced technical skill set, resilience, and sound interpersonal skills, assessing levels of competence within the finance industry is more important than ever.

Why Finance Qualifications Should be Essential

Professional qualifications are fundamental to the progression and success of the finance industry: a focus on certification creates a marker of trust as well as meets the pressure to reskill and upskill particular roles.


Within the finance industry, there is an expectation to maintain a high level of stability and integrity. Enforcing requirements, restrictions, and guidelines is therefore paramount, with several professional qualifications now being viewed as an industry benchmark.

Clearly defining and assessing your workforce’s standard in skills, knowledge, and ethics - in practice and conduct - through a recognised professional body is vital.

Raising the standard

Like any profession, the day-to-day responsibilities involved in a financial role must adhere to a certain standard. Here, professional qualifications enable your business to maintain this standard, ensuring your workforce’s skill sets remain in line with the evolving industry demands.

Businesses that invest in training and development, particularly through the creation of tailored qualifications that address key areas of interest or challenges, benefit from a raised standard of delivery across the team. Our tailored qualifications are designed to assess a more diverse professional skill set while still meeting required industry regulations.

Enhance your workforce’s practical skill set

Although verification of knowledge is key to meeting the regulatory demands of the finance industry, the real test of capability is in the workplace itself. In other words, the successful demonstration of a required skill provides both a greater assurance of quality and a competitive edge for your organisation.

At Kaplan Assessments, we recognise the need to break from more theoretical forms of measuring competence and encourage the assessment of a practical skill set for our tailored qualifications.

Obtaining a professional qualification in a specialist area will also enable candidates to thrive in their roles and broaden their career prospects.


Professional qualifications from accredited bodies are vital when it comes to the public - they demonstrate that your business is credible and in many cases are a regulatory requirement to practise in a role. Whether you operate B2B or B2C, having a workforce backed by recognised certification gives customers the assurance that they are being handled by experts.

Nationally Recognised Finance Qualifications

Proof of competence is especially fundamental within high-risk industries. For the finance sector, there is a comprehensive and established set of qualifications available for every career stage.

With this being said, as job roles and skills are constantly evolving and becoming more niche, the broadness of the existing curriculum provides limited opportunity to assess professional competencies on high risk topics. Kaplan Assessment addresses the need for a more robust and tailored assessment approach that enables your workforce to remain adaptive to the changing demands of their role.

For example, Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is generally an unregulated form of assessment within the finance industry. The aim of CPD is to provide a platform for proactive development. This allows your organisation to maintain a sustainable advantage within a highly competitive field. There is therefore an opportunity for more regulation and rigour post-qualification.

In a professional environment that is experiencing rapid developments in the area of sustainability as well as data and cyber security, there is an increasing demand for finance roles to expand their skillsets. These vital areas are components of much broader curriculum, which leaves space for an alternative assessment framework to ensure these competencies are regulated.

In partnership with Kaplan Assessments, you can develop a tailored qualification that focuses on the more specific issue of competency within your sector. We will work with you to create a detailed specification that ensures the knowledge gained during assessment is fit for purpose, versatile and impactful.

We partner with organisations from a wide range of finance sectors to create industry-specific professional qualifications, tailored to your unique needs.

Below is an overview of the nationally recognised qualifications currently available:

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Regulated and awarded by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, the CFA certification is the gold standard in finance credentials. The aim is to equip candidates with the practical skills and knowledge required to display proficiency in investment analysis and wealth and portfolio management.

Investment Management Certificate (IMC)

Nationally recognised as the benchmark entry-level qualification in the investment profession, IMC is awarded by the Chartered Financial Analyst Society UK.

The aim is to provide a well-rounded foundation in investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills, with a focus on core management areas.

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

Governed by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, the aim is to verify that candidates have a practical understanding of the alternative investments industry. It also gives a comprehensive insight into the future of finance from a digital perspective.

Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

Administered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals, the FRM programme is the leading qualification for the risk management industry and the global standard for financial risk expertise.

Financial risk management not only anticipates the potential risks facing an organisation but is instrumental to its survival through the implementation of solutions. From banks to insurance companies and investment firms, this role is integral to long-term business success.

CISI Capital Markets Programme (CMP)

Governed by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and developed with representatives from leading financial services organisations, the CISI Capital Markets Programme is an approved Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) qualification.

Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

The Chartered Insurance Institute is a globally recognised professional body for the insurance sector. In particular, they facilitate the level 3 Certificate in Insurance, which is recognised as a core qualification for insurance roles.

Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP)

Certifications awarded by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals are designed to provide an assurance of quality across a variety of roles within the payroll, pensions, and reward professions. Overall, the qualification facilitates the accurate administration of services on a day-to-day basis.

Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA)

Governed by Certified Actuarial Analysts Global, the CAA qualification is an internationally recognised qualification. The aim is to provide valuable expertise and experience for professionals working in a technical role within the insurance and financial services sector.

In addition to showcasing a proven technical and professional skill set, candidates will have the opportunity to join either the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).

Tailored Finance Qualifications with Kaplan Assessments

At Kaplan, we can partner with you to design, develop, and deliver a qualification that's tailored to the specific needs of your workforce. In this way, your business is primed for success, backed by a team with the correct skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to carry out their roles effectively.

What Sets Us Apart?

The finance industry is a dynamic and highly specialist environment that demands a highly competent, versatile, and resilient workforce. With a proven track record of raising the standards of specialist roles, including financial analysts and bankers, we challenge what it means to be a quality professional and keep this at the forefront of our tailored assessments and qualifications.

We work in partnership with institutes and professional bodies to provide an assurance of quality and create qualifications that truly make a difference to the credibility and standards of your workforce. Combining our expertise in professional qualifications with industry insights, we create tailored certifications that give an independent confirmation of competence and present your organisation as a leader within the finance industry.

With a real-world focus, we adapt our assessment methodology to consider the professional activities involved in - and the practical experience of - working in a regulated profession. This approach enables us to tailor our qualifications to the specific responsibilities involved in your organisation, ensuring relevance.

There are a variety of motivations for seeking a professional qualification in the finance industry, and our tailored approach enables us to facilitate a wide range of requirements. Whether you’re looking to create a new qualification for a specific area of the finance profession or you need a complete overhaul of an existing qualification framework, we work with you to create a solution that successfully meets the needs of your organisation.

We also have the capabilities to support regulators looking to outsource the design, development, and/or delivery of a professional finance qualification.

Our Approach: Design, Development, and Delivery

We offer a flexible approach to the current qualifications available for the finance sector. Using our modular approach, we can tailor our services to meet your needs, providing you with the best roll-out for your qualification’s design, development, and delivery.


Whether your organisation is facing a specific challenge or you would like to build competency in a particular area of your field, we will devise a detailed specification around your objectives. Your qualification design will take several factors into consideration, such as the level of change experienced in your sector, the degree of specialisation, and the competencies required from your workforce.

What you can expect from our qualification design service:

  • A partnership approach that provides flexibility
  • A dedicated Client Solutions Manager to help you understand your unique requirements
  • A clear overview of desired learning outcomes and qualification criteria
  • Considered methods of assessment that fulfil your qualification objectives, whether that’s formal examinations or evidence gathering


With your objectives at the forefront, the development phase turns your tailored qualification plan into a reality. From the overall structure to the granular details, we will ensure each aspect is of a high quality and set up for success before delivery.

We will develop an industry-specific, effective, and robust assessment method that meets your set criteria and desired level of difficulty, marrying our support and guidance with experienced sector practitioners. Our extensive expertise means we aren’t limited to just one form of assessment and can amend the solution to fit your organisation.

What you can expect from our qualification development service:

  • An optimal structure that clearly defines and effectively measures professional competency within a particular sector
  • A deep understanding of your industry
  • Assurance of quality
  • A rigorous testing process
  • Thorough candidate communication at every stage


We cover all operational aspects, from booking exams to issuing results and certificates, alleviating the administrative burden of delivering your professional qualification.

We can adapt our delivery process to meet your individual requirements. Our test centre and remote invigilation network of partners, including Kaplan Financial, enables us to deliver the assessment aspect both in-person and remotely.

What you can expect from our qualification delivery service:

  • A comprehensive delivery process that takes all users into account
  • Inclusive and accessible delivery
  • A fully supported and seamless candidate journey
  • Tailored, qualification-specific resources, such as websites or online portals

Qualification Validity

When you partner with Kaplan Assessments, you can have confidence knowing your tailored qualification is quality assured and aligned to other regulated provisions.

Through our regulated awarding organisation, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), we ensure the design, development, and delivery aspects all fulfil the necessary regulatory requirements. The certificate awarded to candidates can therefore be deemed a reliable measurement of competency and contribute to the building of trust within the finance industry.

Through Kaplan Professional Awards, we are also able to provide certification and validation of your own qualifications.

If you are interested in partnering with Kaplan Assessments, contact us today to discuss your individual requirements.

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