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Mortgage advice – What skills and qualifications do you need?

There’s more than one recognised qualification for Mortgage Advisers, which means you have a choice!

When we talk to aspiring mortgage advisers, they often believe that the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) course is the only qualification route available to them. However, the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) Certificate in Mortgage Advice offers an equivalent qualification, approved by the FCA.

Both meet the standards required to be able to offer Mortgage Advice.

Let’s take a look at what a mortgage adviser actually does to help us understand a bit more about what skills are required and the different qualification routes available.

Mortgage advice – What skills and qualifications do you need
Mortgage advice – What skills and qualifications do you need?

What is a mortgage adviser?

Mortgage advisers leverage their expertise in the field to identify appropriate mortgage options for their clients. They provide guidance on the advantages and disadvantages of each product, as well as assist in calculating the amount clients can borrow for buying a property.

Various categories of mortgage advisers exist, such as those affiliated with a specific lender (tied), those with a restricted selection of lenders, or those who have access to the entire market (whole of market).

What does it mean to be a “Whole of market” adviser?

Whole of market mortgage advisers, as the name implies, have the ability to access a wider range of options in the market for their clients. This is because they are not restricted to using products from just one mortgage lender.

The main benefit for clients is that they are not confined to a limited selection of mortgage lenders. If you choose to work as a whole of market adviser, you would be able to provide your clients with a greater variety of options compared to what a tied mortgage adviser could offer.

What does it mean to be a “Tied” adviser?

Working as a tied or even multi-tied advisor, you’ll operate quite differently. Tied mortgage advisors are connected directly either to one lender or sometimes a group. In such an arrangement, as a tied broker you’ll have a limit on the mortgage products you can provide – and must only present those offered by the lender(s) – to your clients. Tied mortgage advisers often work within banks and building societies.

While this may seem less attractive, there are multiple benefits for the clients you are advising. Your close working relationship with the lender can often allow you to pass on access to exclusive deals.

Mortgage advice – What skills and qualifications do you need


As a mortgage adviser you would be tasked with a range of responsibilities such as:

  • Conducting meetings with clients in person or via phone
  • Relationship building – getting to know your clients wants and needs and helping them to achieve their goals
  • Understanding your clients’ financial status and evaluating their ability to borrow
  • Assisting clients in filling out mortgage applications and communicating with lenders, real estate agents, and appraisers
  • Staying informed about the latest mortgage offerings
  • Making sure to adhere to FCA regulations

That’s all good, but how do I qualify?

To become a mortgage adviser, you need to have a suitable qualification that is recognised by the FCA.


One popular option for aspiring mortgage advisers is to complete the CeMAP course. This qualification is made up of three modules and you have 12 months to complete each module and sit the exams.

Certificate in Mortgage Advice

As an alternative, the CII offers the Certificate in Mortgage Advice which is also approved by the FCA, and includes the completion of two exams. You must complete the CF6 Mortgage Advice unit, then you can choose to do either the R01 or the CF1 exam.

R01 and CF1 cover a similar syllabus however R01 is a Level 4 exam, with CF1 being a Level 3 unit. Our recommendation to candidates is to bite the bullet and sit R01. The reasoning behind this is that R01 is one of the six diploma exams required to obtain the Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. If you want to become a Financial Adviser in the future, you will already have covered one of the necessary exams.

CF6 is a Level 3 unit, covering Mortgage Advice. Unlike the CeMAP qualification, there are no time constraints with the Certificate in Mortgage Advice, so if you feel you will need longer than 12 months, this qualification is certainly worth considering.

CeMap Certificate in Mortgage Advice
Institute London Institute of Banking and Finance Chartered Insurance Institute
Completion Requirements 3 modules:
• 1 – UK Financial Regulations
• 2 – Mortgages
• 3 – Assessment of Mortgage Advice Knowledge
Completion of two units:
• CF1/R01
• CF6
Time Constraints 12 Months N/A
Average time to complete 230 hours 160 hours

Skills, Skills, Skills

To be successful as a mortgage adviser, you will need a range of different skills including:

  • Exceptional communication and listening abilities, especially the skill to articulate complex information clearly
  • Strong time-management abilities and the skill to manage a busy caseload
  • Good numeracy skills – although you don’t have to be a mathematician
  • Determination and enthusiasm – to achieve goals and to pursue potential leads

Leading on…

As a mortgage adviser, you will often be responsible for lead generation and follow up. There are different avenues available in order to generate leads including referrals, marketing and LinkedIn. You will need to have determination and enthusiasm to pursue potential leads and to keep up momentum.

How can we help?

If you’d like to add Mortgage Advice as another string to your bow, we can help. We support both the R01 and CF6 units which together form the CII Certificate in Mortgage advice.

In addition, mortgages and protection tend to go hand in hand, so we can also support you through the R05 Financial Protection unit. With this qualification, you can ensure that your clients have adequate protection in place in the event of illness or death.

If you want to advance your knowledge even further, we can also support you with the ER1 Equity Release exam, which will allow you to achieve the Certificate in Equity Release. So, lots of options then!

We offer lots of free support through our careers zone including articles and study plans to help you plan your study effectively. And, we have several connections within the industry, so if you are looking to find a trainee role, we can help with that too!

Watch our A Day in the life of a Self-employed Mortgage and Protection Adviser to find out more real life helpful information on the role:

So, if you want to have a chat with one of the team at Bespoke Training Solutions, you know where to find us. We are always more than happy to have a natter:   

  • 01748 822777


For more information on the different paths to becoming a Self-employed Mortgage Adviser, including qualifications, exams and salary information, check out the Mortgage Adviser Role Profile.

Read another two insightful articles on ‘A Day in the life of a Mortgage and Protection Adviser’ and ‘A Day in the Life of a Mortgage Adviser’ to find out more information about the Mortgage Adviser role.  

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