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Guide to the Competent Advisor Status

Guide to the Competent Advisor Status

Understanding Competent Adviser Status (CAS): Paving Your Way to Confidence in Mortgage Advisory

Embarking on a career as a mortgage adviser involves not only mastering the intricacies of the CeMAP qualification but also attaining Competent Adviser Status, commonly known as CAS. CAS is a critical milestone, signifying the adviser’s competence to deliver sound advice, handle client interactions, and navigate mortgage applications independently, without the need for constant supervision.

In essence, CAS is a standard practice across the financial industry and various professional sectors. It ensures that advisers possess both regulatory knowledge and practical skills necessary to thrive in their roles. Newly qualified advisers typically undergo a supervised period, guided by a senior adviser, to attain CAS. This phase not only builds their expertise but also instils the confidence needed to tackle the challenges of a typical workday.

Navigating the CAS Journey: Timeframe

Determining the duration it takes to achieve CAS is a difficult question, influenced by numerous variables.

While a general benchmark is around five signed-off cases in both mortgage advice and protection, this figure can vary based on company-specific guidelines and individual circumstances.

Results from a recent LinkedIn poll conducted by a recruitment agency revealed that 83% of respondents took five to eight cases to achieve CAS. However, setting a definitive timeframe is complex, considering factors such as employment status (full-time or part-time), prior industry knowledge, trainee status, background experience with CAS, and the ease of providing advice.

Additionally, the nature of lead generation plays a role—self-generated leads might extend the timeframe compared to those provided by an active company. Understanding the entire mortgage process, from initial meeting to completion, further complicates the timeframe, potentially spanning several months for a single client.

The Pathways and Requirements

So another important question is how do i get CAS. 

Securing CAS is a unique journey, as there is no formal qualification universally recognised across companies. Each organization adheres to its own compliance guidelines and policies.

While some training companies may offer certificates and training, these often don’t significantly impact the CAS process, as companies prefer to follow their own protocols.

Common trends observed in CAS requirements include assessments of grammar, punctuation, spelling, adherence to compliance guidelines, overall knowledge, and analytical skills.

To expedite the CAS attainment process, it is recommended to inquire with your current or prospective employer about their specific requirements. This proactive approach allows you to align your efforts with company expectations, streamlining the path to acquiring CAS status.

Practical Tips for Success

Embarking on the path to Competent Adviser Status (CAS) requires not just diligence but a strategic approach. Here are some invaluable tips to guide you through the process:


Know Your Company’s Processes:

Familiarize yourself with your company’s CAS checklist requirements and compliance guidelines. Differences between companies are common, so whether you’re new or transitioning, understanding and adapting to the specific expectations of your current organization is crucial.


Engage with Your Manager/Mentor:

Initiate a conversation with your manager or mentor. They are your guides in this journey and can provide valuable insights into what they look for in successful CAS submissions. Learning from their experience can help you navigate potential pitfalls more effectively.


Tap into Colleague Wisdom:

Connect with colleagues who have successfully attained CAS within the company. Their first hand experiences and advice can offer practical tips, not only accelerating your CAS journey but also contributing to your overall personal and professional development. Utilize the internal expertise within your reach.


Create Your Own Checklist:

Proactively create your own checklist based on what you anticipate the compliance team or your manager will focus on. Consider elements such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, and adherence to compliance. By checking your cases against this self-made checklist, you can identify and rectify potential issues before official review.


Double and Triple Check Cases:

Develop a habit of thorough scrutiny. While the goal is to attain CAS efficiently, the importance of developing thorough habits cannot be overstated. Double and triple-check your cases for accuracy, compliance, and detail. These habits will serve you well beyond CAS, ensuring a consistent focus on providing compliant advice throughout your advisory career.


Practice Patience:

Recognise that the journey to CAS is a process that demands patience. Avoid the temptation to rush through it. Your goal was to become an advisor, and with or without CAS, you’ve achieved that. Let the process unfold organically, allowing you the time to refine your skills and understanding. Impatience can undermine the essence of your accomplishment.


By incorporating these tips into your approach, you not only enhance your chances of obtaining CAS efficiently but also set the stage for a successful and compliant advisory career. Remember, patience and precision are key elements in this journey.

In conclusion, a competent adviser is more than just a title; it represents a mortgage professional who has undergone rigorous examinations, comprehensive training, and continuous guidance through coaching and regular observation by a senior industry expert.

This individual has successfully demonstrated their competence, receiving confirmation that they can provide independent financial advice to clients autonomously, without the need for constant supervision. The journey to becoming a competent adviser encapsulates a commitment to excellence and a thorough understanding of the responsibilities that come with offering sound financial guidance in the dynamic landscape of mortgage advisory.

If you have any questions or uncertainties regarding CAS, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. We’re here to help, and we’ll get back to you with the information you need.

For more in-depth information on CeMAP, CAS or just industry information or to book your CeMAP training course, visit our CeMAP course pages on our website. If you prefer a chat, don’t hesitate to call our friendly learning and development team on 020 8443 2888. They’re here to discuss any queries you may have or to assist you in booking your course over the phone.

Why CeMAP is Essential

Why CeMAP is Essential

In the UK to provide mortgage advice you must have a qualification recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority also known as the FCA or you will be unable to provide regulated mortgage advice.

Although there are many qualifications, CeMAP, stands out as the benchmark qualification in the financial services industry with over 115,500 of mortgage advisers having achieved this Certificate.


So first of all what does CeMAP stand for.

CeMAP is an acronym of Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice and is awarded by the London Institute of Banking and Finance, commonly known as LIBF.

As the title suggests it covers everything you need to know about the mortgage industry and how to offer informed professional advice.

The content and structure of the CeMAP qualification has been designed to meet the regulatory requirements and demands of a career in financial services. Employers from across the sector have assisted in the development of CeMAP meaning that the content aligns with real-world requirements that employers are looking for.

As discussed, it is a regulatory requirement for all mortgage advisers to hold CeMAP or equivalent qualification and for trainee mortgage advisers, it is a common requirement that you have minimum CeMAP 1 however with the limited roles and tasks you can complete on the single module, the industry has seen an increasing trend towards full CeMAP being required even in trainee mortgage adviser roles.

what does CeMAP stand for

Once you’ve achieved full CeMAP status you are awarded full certification and can add the designation CeMAP after your name confirming your qualification to potential employers and future clients.

On average, it can take 3 to 8 months to obtain CeMAP, obviously you can obtain it quicker through fast track tutor led routes or it can take your time and choose to go at a slower pace spreading out the modules or studying on a self-study basis.


How is CeMAP Structured

So let’s take a look at what goes into earning this benchmark qualification.

CeMAP is a level 3 qualification in mortgage advice and practice accredited by OFQUAL.

CeMAP is broken down into seven units that are spread across three modules.

CeMAP 1: The UK Financial Regulations

This is the first module and consists of 2 Units.

Unit 1: Introduction to Financial Services Environment and Products and

Unit 2: UK Financial Services and Regulations.

This module is to do with the introduction to financial services and focuses on the regulation side of the industry and it will give you a really good foundation knowledge of the industry and also the legal and ethical side of things.

It is a two-hour exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions split evenly over the two units, with a 70% pass mark on each.

CeMAP 2: Mortgages 

This is the second module and consists of 4 Units.

Unit 3: Mortgage Law, Policy, Practise and Markets

Unit 4: Mortgage Applications

Unit 5: Mortgage Related Protection Products

Unit 6: Mortgage Payment Methods and Post-Completion Issues

This module will give you a thorough grounding in the mortgage application process, including the different products available and the issues borrowers may face after completion.

This is also a two-hour exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions split over the 4 units with again a 70% pass mark on each.

CeMAP 3: Assessment of Mortgage Advice

This module consolidates all your prior knowledge gained in Modules 1 and 2 and teaches how to apply it to different scenarios.

This is also two hour exam however this time it is based on six case studies with ten multiple choice questions on each on how your would advice on these client in those various scenarios. 70% pass mark across whole exam


Taking Exams

Exams are registered through the LIBF and taken and moderated with Pearsons VUE Test Centres.

You can take them at one of the many Pearsons VUE exam centres dotted around the world making it nice and easy to access one nearby to you. Exams are also available online making it even more accessible for you to sit. With the online version you will be required to download some software giving your moderator control over your device, preventing any other programmes to be open. You will also be required to have a web cam and microphone so you can be observed throughout the duration of your exam and for the area to be clear of any learning aids that could be considered as assisting you.


Training Options

Choosing the right training is crucial. With so many training companies out there offering different training options, what one should you choose.


Accreditation is key.

Due the popularity of this qualification there a number of training options in the marketplace promoting courses via Google, under larger training networks and daily deal sites that are substandard.

It is important is to make sure they are a LIBF accredited training providers. These companies have gone through a rigorous process to gain the accreditation of an approved Learning Support Provider.

Futuretrend, with over two decades of experience, stands as a leading provider of CeMAP training, accredited by the London Institute of Banking and Finance.

What Course is Best for me

With the different courses available, it is crucial potential learners to find the right balance between their preferred learning style, the time they can commit to studying, and their budget when choosing a training option as your approach to learning can greatly impact your success in the course.

Whether you thrive with a live virtual training offering a more immersive and hands on guided experience with industry tutors giving real life examples, or you prefer the flexibility of self-paced study, there’s likely a method that suits your needs.

Considering the range of costs, it’s wise to weigh the investment against the level of support provided. Sometimes, a higher upfront cost may be justified by the additional resources, tutor support, or interactive elements included in the program.

It’s not just about the price tag but also about the overall value and effectiveness of the training and resources you are provided as part of your package in preparing you for your exams or achieving your learning goals.

Additionally, it’s advisable for individuals to speak to a Learning and careers adviser for the best advice of your next steps and best learning approach for you and to research reviews or testimonials from those who have taken these courses to gauge the effectiveness and satisfaction of past participants.

As you embark on this journey, remember that being a CeMAP Qualified Mortgage Adviser opens doors to a dynamic career where you guide individuals through one of life’s most significant decisions. Whether you prefer live virtual training or the flexibility of distance learning, the path to CeMAP certification awaits.

What is a Mortgage Adviser

What is a Mortgage Adviser

A Mortgage Adviser is a professional who helps individuals navigate the complex world of mortgages.  

They play a vital role in guiding clients through the process of securing a mortgage, building relationships, delve into individual circumstances, ensuring they make informed decisions tailored to their financial situations.

This role involves a mix of client interaction, financial analysis, paperwork, and collaboration with various parties. Let’s delve into the key activities of a mortgage advisor.

Client Meetings:

  • Conduct meetings with clients to understand their needs and preferences.
  • Explain the different mortgage options and assess their suitability.


Affordability Checks:

  • Undertake affordability checks to determine the client’s financial capacity.
  • Collect proof of income and perform credit checks.


Product Research:

  • Research and identify the most appropriate and cost-effective mortgage products for clients.


Client Advice:

  • Provide advice to clients, presenting the most suitable options based on their financial situation.
  • Discuss financial options and repayment plans.


Paperwork and Applications:

  • Complete mortgage applications and associated paperwork.
  • Obtain agreements in principle for clients.


Communication with Third Parties:

  • Interact with third parties such as estate agents, lawyers, and lenders.
  • Facilitate a smooth process and address any issues that may arise.


Team Collaboration:

  • Liaise with internal teams, administration, and support staff if applicable.
  • Ensure effective communication and coordination within the organization.


Cross-Selling Protection:

  • Identify opportunities to cross-sell protection products.
  • Safeguard clients by offering solutions to potential risks.

This role demands a combination of financial expertise, interpersonal skills, and organizational abilities. The adviser plays a crucial role in guiding clients through the complex process of obtaining a mortgage, ensuring that they make informed decisions aligned with their financial goals. Effective communication and collaboration with both clients and other professionals in the real estate and financial industries are essential for success in this role.


Discover a profession that offers more than just a paycheck. With uncapped learning potential, flexible schedules, and the option to become self-employed, the role of a mortgage advisers is both rewarding and cost-effective to enter.

Earnings Structure:

  • Salary vs. Commission: The earnings for mortgage advisors can vary based on whether they are on a salary or a commission-only basis. Those on a commission-only basis may have more variable income based on the number and types of mortgages they facilitate.

Working Hours:

  • Contracted Hours: Many mortgage advisors are contracted to work between 35 and 40 hours a week.
  • Flexibility: Advisors, especially those who are self-employed, often work beyond contracted hours.
  • Evenings and Weekends: It’s common for advisors to be flexible with their working hours, including evenings and at least one day on the weekend. This flexibility is necessary to accommodate the availability of clients who are typically in full-time employment.

Client-Centric Approach:

  • Meeting Client Needs: Given that clients seeking mortgages are often employed during regular business hours, mortgage advisors must adjust their schedules to meet client needs.
  • Flexibility for Availability: Advisors need to be flexible to fit around both client availability and their own, ensuring they can provide timely and convenient service.

This information underscores the dynamic and client-focused nature of the role. Mortgage advisers must be adaptable to varying schedules, and the flexibility to work outside traditional office hours is a common practice in this field. Additionally, for those on commission-only structures, earnings are tied to performance, highlighting the importance of client acquisition and successful mortgage transactions.


Why CeMAP is Essential:

Now, here’s a crucial point to remember. In the UK, providing mortgage advice requires a qualification recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority, commonly known as the FCA. Without this qualification, you won’t be able to offer regulated mortgage advice.

Although there are many qualifications, CeMAP, stands out as the benchmark qualification in the financial services industry with over 115,500 of mortgage advisers having achieved this Certificate.

It’s a level 3 Mortgage Advice qualification and consists of three modules, each covering different aspects of mortgage advice. This qualification holds the coveted FCA approval, is Ofqual accredited, and is awarded by the London Institute of Banking & Finance, also known as the LIBF.


Career Options and Mortgage Roles

Whatever happens with the economy people will always move house or look to remortgage at the end of their terms. As a mortgage advisor there will always be demand for your skills and you’ll always be appreciated as a professional.

Buying your property can be an extremely stressful and confusing time for people, they will turn to you for your expert opinion to help them through one of the most important decisions of their lives.

As a trained mortgage adviser, you can work independently or as part of a company earning either a competitive staffing salary, commission or both.

Various roles within the mortgage advisory field cater to different expertise and interests with opportunities to move from entry-level positions to more specialized or managerial roles.

A trainee mortgage adviser.

You can often start as a training mortgage advisor as the first steps after gaining your qualification whilst you obtain your CAS with all work overseen and checked by an experience advisor while you learn the ropes and the practical elements of an advisor not covered in the qualification such as completing documentation, use of computer systems for finding best mortgage offers and presenting of advice.

Senior mortgage advisors

Conduct the standard duties of a mortgage advisor, plus are the go-to person for unusual and high profile cases.

Mortgage and protection advisor

Again will cover the standard duty of a mortgage, plus required to sell protection.

Mortgage managers

Will usually be responsible for a team of mortgage advisors.

New build mortgage advisors

Provide mortgage advice specifically on new build properties. 

Whole of market mortgage advisors

Can access a significant range of different lenders to source the most appropriate product available to them.


Tied and multi-type mortgage advisors

Are either tied directly to one lender or a group of lenders and therefore are limited to the mortgages that they can recommend.


Any of these different roles can enable Individuals in the mortgage advisory field to choose between being employed by a company or work as a self-employed professional.