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The building blocks of a professional career

New − 2014 information for candidates brochure »

The Certificate in Financial Planning is a relevant learning pathway for those employed in support or ancillary (non-advisory) functions in the financial advice market. It provides a solid grounding in the financial services market in general and financial planning advice in particular.

The Certificate develops knowledge and understanding of:

  • regulatory issues;
  • the mechanics and purpose of the main investment products; and
  • the process of giving advice to clients.

Award in Long Term Care Insurance

Candidates who pass (CF8) Long term care insurance will achieve the Award in Long Term Care Insurance. Candidates who also complete the Certificate in Financial Planning, or equivalent, or Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning will meet the regulatory examination requirement for anyone who advises on investments and long term care insurance products.

Why the Certificate in Financial Planning? 

The Certificate delivers many advantages:

  • It develops a broad-based knowledge and understanding of core financial planning topics.
  • The (R05) Financial protection unit is also a unit within the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, shortening the time required to complete this Level 4 qualification for anyone seeking to be an adviser in the future.
  • It develops a broad-based knowledge and understanding of core financial planning topics.
  • It provides online exam sittings that enable you to enter for the exam when you are ready, with provisional results provided instantaneously.
  • Upon completion PFS members are entitled to use the designation 'CertPFS' (Continuing Professional Development requirements apply).

The Certificate in Financial Planning is registered with Ofqual at Level 3 in the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). You can access further information at www.ofqual.gov.uk

Is the Certificate in Financial Planning right for me?

The Certificate is appropriate for a wide range of people, including:

  • Financial services administrative and technical support staff.
  • Staff employed in support functions such as training, compliance, human resources, marketing, IT and finance who wish to improve their understanding of the business.

Your next step

Now that you have read about the Certificate in Financial Planning, 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 the Certificate. You will learn about the units on offer, available learning materials, how to enter and the relevant terms and conditions.

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

Further useful information: 

  • Learning Statement - For details of credits you hold and confirmation for your personalised completion requirements for the Certificate.
  • FAQs - Our frequently asked questions relating to studying towards CII qualifications and examinations.

Key facts

Key facts for the Certificate in Financial Planning

Level of qualification Core
Number of available units 5 Certificate units and 1 Diploma unit
Additional non-compulsory units exist for candidates seeking to develop their knowledge on specialist subjects
Compulsory units 5 units
• (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics; or
• (CF1) UK financial services, regulation and ethics
• (CF2) Investment and risk
• (R05) Financial protection
• (CF4) Retirement planning
• (CF5) Integrated financial planning
Credits required to complete (existing credits carried forward) 70
Credits per unit CF1/CF5 - 15 credits
R01/CF2 - 20 credits
R05/CF4 - 10 credits
Combination of units at any level allowed Yes
At Certificate and Diploma level
(subject to completion requirements)
Exam format R01/CF1/CF2
• Online, 2 hours
• 100 multiple choice questions (MCQs)
R05/CF4
• Online, 1 hour
• 50 multiple choice questions
CF5
• 2 hours
• 2 written case studies
Average study time per unit R01/CF1 - 60 hours
CF2/CF5 - 70 hours
R05 - 50 hours
CF4 - 40 hours
Availability of exam sessions (Details shown apply to the UK. Outside of the UK exams are offered twice-yearly) Year-round (R01/CF1/CF2/R05/CF4)
Availability varies from centre to centre, but typically weekly
Twice a year (CF5)
Entry requirements? None
Credits available for prior learning? Yes
Record of Achievement issued for each exam pass? Yes
CII/PFS membership designation CertPFS
PFS members are entitled to use on completion
Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) approved? Yes
Level 3

 

Completion requirements

Completion requirements

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for the certificate in Financial Planning so it is open to anyone irrespective of experience or educational background.

Whilst there is 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 (in particular unit CF5 tests your ability to analyse a client's financial planning needs and provide holistic solutions by drawing on the four preceding units).

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 five units, these are:

Units Study Hours Exam Format Length of exam Nominal pass mark Exam credits

(R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics or


(CF1) UK financial services, regulations and ethics

60





60

100 multiple choice questions


100 multiple choice questions
2 hours




2 hours
65%




70%
20




15
(CF2) Investment and risk 70 100 multiple choice questions 2 hours 70% 20
(R05) Financial protection 50 50 multiple choice questions 1 hour 70% 10
(CF4) Retirement planning 40 50 multiple choice questions 1 hour 70% 10
(CF5) Integrated financial planning 70 2 written case studies 2 hours 55% 15

Candidates who complete the Certificate in Financial Planning and also pass (CF8) Long term care insurance will achieve the Award in Long Term Care Insurance.

In doing so, they will meet the regulatory examination requirement for anyone who advises on investments and long term care insurance products.

Note: Holders of the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning and the Award in Long Term Care Insurance will also satisfy the regulatory examination requirements.

Units Study Hours Exam Format Length of exam Nominal pass mark Exam credits

(CF8) Long term care insurance

60

50 multiple choice questions 2 hours 70% 15

 

 

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.

Syllabuses

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.

Read about updates that will affect financial services qualification units »

CF2 Investment and risk

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

  • economic and other factors affecting investment returns;
  • key features of the different asset classes and product types and the role of ethical investment in financial advice;
  • risks involved in investment, how risks affect returns and the risk profile of investors;
  • taxation considerations in the investment process;
  • importance of asset allocation in investment decisions;
  • effect of other issues on investment planning.

CF4 Retirement planning

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

  • effect that retirement planning has on clients before, at and after retirement;
  • impact that taxation and legislation have on retirement planning;
  • different types of individual, occupational and State pension schemes;
  • main options for drawing benefits at retirement;
  • use of alternative investments in retirement planning;
  • effect of divorce on retirement planning.

CF5 Integrated financial planning

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

  • their knowledge and understanding of the financial services industry and its regulation;
  • their knowledge and understanding of the products and processes tested in CF1-4.

CF8 Long term care insurance

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

  • definition, purpose and scope of long term care contracts and how they interact with State benefits and State-funded long term care;
  • main features and functions of the different types of contract that can be used to fund long term care and how they can be arranged to meet an individual's needs;
  • principal legal, taxation and regulatory issues that are relevant to advice on long term care insurance;
  • importance of regular reviews to ensure that long term care insurance cover remains appropriate.

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.


Read about updates that will affect financial services qualification units »

R05 Financial protection

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

  • purpose and scope of financial protection products and how they interact with State benefits;
  • main features and functions of the different types of contracts and how they are arranged in order to meet the individual client's protection needs;
  • main protection needs of businesses.

The syllabus for this, and other CII units, will be updated during 2013.
Read about updates that will affect financial services qualification units »