HNC/HND Financial Services

Higher National Qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Financial Services (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and vocational skills specific to the financial services industry in relation to product and service knowledge, and an understanding of the role of its providers. The HND in Financial Services (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC. It covers financial services-related subjects specific to a learner's career choice, and prepares them for entry to the industry at management trainee level.

This qualification covers areas such as the financial sector, investment, pension provision, insurance, financial services regulatory framework, income tax, customer care, communication, and information technology.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers, and some universities. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.


Keep up to date and engage with all things Accounting, Administration, Business and Finance related through our new blog.

Accounting, Administration, Business and Financial Services blog

This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ assessment guidance 2023-24.

Higher National Qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities, and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional units which enable centres to offer courses that are tailored to meet local needs.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HNC and HND in Financial Services are suitable for a wide range of learners including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • appropriate groupings of National Units
  • any two National Qualifications at Higher together with three National 5 qualifications
  • an SVQ at Level 2 or 3 in a relevant area
  • relevant work experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications, and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

Learners who achieve an HNC in Financial Services can progress to the HND in Financial Services.

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study.

Higher National Qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications.

Career and Employment Information

Candidates completing the Certificate would normally expect to begin employment within an administrative, clerical, sales or technical support role in the industry. Candidates completing the Diploma may expect the same but it is likely that they would be considered suitable for Management Trainee programmes.

The industry offers employment opportunities in a wide range of areas:

  • Banking
  • Building societies
  • Pension funds
  • Investment companies
  • Insurance Unit trusts
  • Stock market operations

Within each area of the industry there are wide variations in the type of specialisations that candidates may aspire to. In the banking industry this may include:

  • Branch operations
  • Personal or commercial lending
  • Investment advice
  • Product sales
  • Treasury management
  • Mortgage lending

It is anticipated that candidates will be able to progress smoothly to professional qualifications such as the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland Associateship; Financial Planning Certificates and Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice; and occupational Scottish Vocational Qualifications.

Related Links (subject specific)

LOGO: Scottish Further Education Unit logo. LOGO: JISC mail logo.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority are required to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

HNC Financial Services

Group Award code: GP09 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

The HNC in Financial Services at SCQF level 7 consists of seven mandatory units (72 SCQF credit points) and three optional units (24 SCQF credit points).

HND Financial Services

Group Award code: GP0A 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

The HND in Financial Services at SCQF level 8 consists of 14 mandatory units (152 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (88 SCQF points).