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The essential qualification for the home reversion and lifetime mortgage advice sector

This qualification from the CII is relevant for anyone seeking to advise on equity release products (both home reversion plans and lifetime mortgages), and for those who work in a support role in this sector.

Holders of the Certificate meet the regulatory examination requirements required to advise on this class of business.

Upon completion you will have gained:

  • a general introduction to the UK financial services industry (including common product types, the process of giving advice, ethics, regulation and legislation);
  • an introduction to the mortgage process (including the house-buying process, different types of borrowers and their needs, the various mortgage product and repayment options, and the regulation and legislation applicable to mortgages and the provision of mortgage advice); and
  • an understanding of the principles of equity release, the types of schemes available and the risks associated with these, and the suitability of these products to different customer needs.

The Certificate in Equity Release is available to study as a standalone qualification for individuals entering the industry, with a total of three units requiring completion.

Existing qualified advisers who hold the Certificate in Mortgage Advice need only complete one additional unit.

Why the Certificate in Equity Release?

The Certificate delivers many advantages:

  • Satisfies the FCA examination requirements to advise on equity release.
  • Improves your long-term career prospects by improving knowledge and understanding, and by demonstrating commitment to self-improvement.
  • Provides online exam sittings that enable you to enter for the exam when you are ready, with provisional results provided instantaneously.
  • Upon completion you can apply to use the designation 'Certs CII (MP & ER)' providing a means of demonstrating your achievement to the public and to peers (membership and Continuing Professional Development requirements apply).
  • Holders are eligible to become 'Certificate' level members of the Society of Mortgage Professionals.

The Certificate in Equity Release is registered with Ofqual at Level 3 in the Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF). You can access further information at

Is the Certificate in Equity Release right for me?

The Certificate is a practical solution that develops understanding of equity release regulation, products, market practice and customer needs. It is appropriate for:

  • all advisers who need to comply with the regulatory examination requirements; and
  • individuals working in the mortgage/equity release market in non-advisory roles, such as in administration or in support functions including, for example, marketing, sales support, human resources and IT.

Your next step

Now that you have read about the Certificate in Equity Release, gained an understanding of what it offers and decided that it meets your career development plans, it is time to finalise your entry.

The links above contain all the information you require to study for and complete this qualification. As you read through these, you will learn about the units on offer, the available learning materials, terms and conditions relating to entry, and the different ways you can enter.

Please take the time to read this, as it will help you choose the study programme that best fits your needs.

You can also access FAQs here


CII qualifications involve the completion of one or more units, each covering an individually assessed topic. Assessment methods vary and depend on a unit's level and subject matter.

Assessment methods include:

  • Multiple-choice exams - the assessment method for Award, Certificate, and Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning units R01-R05 assessed in the UK. Exams are delivered on-screen at a network of over 40 public centres across the UK. Sittings are available year-round, often on a weekly basis.
  • Written exams - the assessment method for some Diploma and Advanced Diploma units and all units examined outside the UK. Sittings are typically available twice-yearly in April and October at over 50 public centres throughout the UK and over 120 public centres outside the UK.
  • Coursework assessment - available for a select number of Advanced Diploma in Insurance units, Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning unit (AF6) Senior management and supervision and financial services unit (J09) Paraplanning, coursework assessment involves the completion of three written assignments during a 12 month period.
  • Mixed assessment - available for a number of Diploma in Insurance units and all Diploma in Insurance units by April 2018 (unit codes begin with the letter M). This involves the successful completion of both a coursework assignment and a multiple-choice exam. This has an 18 month enrolment period.
  • Dissertation assessment - available for the Advanced Diploma unit (991) London market insurance specialisation and being introduced in October 2016 for (994) Insurance market specialisation. This involves the submission of a dissertation proposal and an 11,000 word dissertation. This has an 18 month enrolment period. This unit should only be taken by those who have access to the necessary information and people in the London Market.

Find out more

It is essential that candidates familiarise themselves with the guidelines and instructions which are shown on the CII website under the relevant units. In addition candidates should familiarise themselves with the coursework and dissertation policies as well as exam policies (before the assessment) and notes to results (after the assessment).

Key facts

Key facts for the Certificate in Equity release

Ofqual Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) Level Level 3
Number of available units 3 Certificate units and 1 Diploma unit
Compulsory units 3 units
• (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics; or
• (CF1) UK financial services, regulation and ethics
• (CF6) Mortgage advice
• (ER1) Equity release
CII credits required to complete (existing credits carried forward) 50
CII credits per unit CF1/ER1 - 15 credits
R01/CF6 - 20 credits
Combination of units at any level allowed Yes
At Certificate and Diploma level
(subject to completion requirements)
Exam format R01/CF1
• Online, 2 hours
• 100 multiple choice questions (MCQs)
• Online, 3 hours
• 100 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and five case studies, each comprising five MCQs
• Online, 2 hours
• 50 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and five case studies, each comprising five MCQs
Average study time per unit R01/CF1 - 60 hours
ER1 - 60 hours
CF6 - 70 hours
Availability of exam sessions (Details shown apply to the UK. Outside of the UK exams are offered twice-yearly) Year-round
Availability varies from centre to centre, but typically weekly
Entry requirements? None
Credits available for prior learning? Yes
Record of Achievement issued for each exam pass? Yes
CII/PFS membership designation Cert CII (MP & ER)
CII members are entitled to use on completion

Completion requirements

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for the Certificate in Equity Release so it is open to anyone irrespective of experience or educational background.
Whilst there is also no prescribed order in which the units must be taken, it is strongly recommended that you complete them in the order listed. This reflects the fact that each unit builds to a certain degree on the preceding unit.

Studying for the certificate

The recommended minimum study hours are shown in the tables below (these will vary according to your experience and ability). The nominal pass marks are also shown, however, the actual pass marks may vary slightly over time to ensure that the pass standard remains constant.

Completion requirements

To complete the Certificate you are required to pass three units, these are:

Units Study hours Exam format Length of exam Nominal pass mark Credits and level
(R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics or 60 100 multiple choice questions (MCQs) 2 hours 65% 20 - Diploma
(CF1) UK financial services, regulation and ethics 60 100 MCQs 2 hours 70% 15 - Certificate
(CF6) Mortgage advice 70 100 MCQs and 5 case studies, each comprising 5 MCQs. 3 hours 70% 20 - Certificate  
(ER1) Equity release 60 50 MCQs and 5 case studies, each comprising 5 MCQs 2 hours 70% 15 - Certificate  


Assessment information

It is important that candidates entering for a CII assessment familiarise themselves with our service, in particular the rules and procedures that are in place.


CF1 UK financial services, regulation and ethics

At the end of this unit, candidates should understand the:

  • purpose and structure of the UK financial services industry;
  • different financial asset classes and product types;
  • process of giving advice and the main areas covered;
  • ethics, regulatory processes, rules and legislation underpinning UK financial services;
  • use of the financial regulators' powers and responsibilities to protect the market's integrity and the impact on individuals and firms of these regulators' powers.


CF6 Mortgage advice

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to understand the:

  • house buying process, from making an offer to completion and the key parties involved;
  • different types of borrowers and how to meet their individual mortgage needs;
  • different types of mortgage product and repayment options and their suitability for the client;
  • legislative and regulatory position of mortgages and the requirements of a mortgage adviser.


ER1 Equity release

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to understand the:

  • principles of equity release and the types of schemes available;
  • suitability and affordability of the different types of equity release products;
  • risks to the consumer associated with equity release;
  • application of suitable equity solutions according to the circumstances of different customers.


R01 Financial services, regulation and ethics

At the end of this unit candidates will be able to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skill in applying the following topic areas:

  • UK financial service industry in its European and Global context;
  • how the retail customer is served by the financial service industry;
  • Regulatory framework, powers and responsibilities to protect the consumer;
  • the legal concepts and considerations relevant to financial advice;
  • the Code of Ethics and its impact on the business behaviours of individuals.