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Supporting professional development and customer service excellence

The level 3 Certificate in Financial Services meets the needs of those working in operational and technical support roles, offering two targeted learning routes.

Read the Certificate in Financial Services specification here »

 

The Life and Pensions route:

This route develops knowledge and understanding of the sector and its activities, key customer needs, solutions and products, and how individuals and organisations work within a regulatory and legislative environment.

Who’s it for?

  • This route is particularly suitable for those working in the life, pensions, and long-term savings sector, including customer operations back-office staff and contact centre team leaders.

Completion requirements

The Life and Pensions route involves completion of three units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing 45 credits on completion.

See our key information link to the right of this page for details.

Members are entitled to use the designation CertCII (Life and Pensions), subject to membership and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.


The General route:

This route develops knowledge and understanding of the financial services industry in general, including regulation and legislation, and the fundamental aspects of customer service, administration and marketing in financial services, and key retail investment products.

Who’s it for?

  • Ideal for those providing operational support to financial planners, including paraplanners, and technical support staff working in financial services.

Completion requirements

The general route involves completion of two units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a minimum of 35 credits on completion.

See our key information link to the right of this page for details.

Members are entitled to use the designation CertCII (FS), subject to membership and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.


Assessment method

Certificate level units are assessed by multiple-choice question exam (MCQ). For online MCQ exams, result notification is immediate on completion. For paper-based MCQ exams, results are released five weeks’ following the exam sitting.

Find out more about assessments, including policies and exam centres >


Recognition of prior learning

Before studying, check to see whether any of your previous academic qualifications or credits from other professional bodies and institutes can be carried towards completion of the Certificate.

Find out more about recognition of prior learning >


Learning support

Each qualification unit comes with the essential tools to support core learning. For a single fee, study packages typically include: study text, assessment entry and access to RevisionMate, our online study tool.

We also offer additional study materials to support individual learning. These range from key fact booklets and next-edition study texts, to question packs and Learn interactive tutorials.

For full unit availability, click the unit links to the right of this page

Introduction

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.


Study and assessment methods include:

  • Multiple-choice question (MCQ) exam - Study is based on a specified enrolment period, from 01 January – 31 December. MCQ exams are available weekly at UK and select non-UK online exam centres, or twice-yearly in April and October at non-UK paper-based exam centres.
  • Written exams - Study is based on a 12 month enrolment period from the date of purchase. Written exams are held twice-yearly in April and October, with the exception of unit R06 which is tested four times-yearly, at UK and non-UK exam centres.
  • Coursework assessment - Study is based on a 12 month enrolment period from the date of purchase. Three written assignments, each typically between 2,000 - 3,000 words, need to be passed.
    Download Insurance Coursework assessment guidelines and instructions »
    Download Personal Finance Coursework assessment guidelines and instructions >>
    Download Personal Finance Coursework assignment guidelines and instructions »
  • Mixed assessment - Study is based on a 18 month enrolment period from the date of purchase. A combination of a single coursework assignment must be passed within the first six months and a MCQ exam passed within 18 months.
    Download Mixed Assessment guidelines and instructions »
  • Dissertation assessment - Study is based on a 18 month enrolment period from the date of purchase. A dissertation, typically between 10,000 - 11,000 words, on an agreed subject must be submitted.
    Download Dissertation guidelines and instructions »

It is essential that candidates familiarise themselves with the guidelines and instructions. Candidates should also familiarise themselves with the coursework and dissertation policies as well as exam policies before the assessment, and notes to results post-assessment.

This qualification in detail

Key information

What does the qualification involve?

The Certificate in Financial Services comprises either two, or three units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, depending on your desired route specialism. Completion of the Life and Pensions route provides 45 credits, completion of the general route provides a minimum of 35 credits.

For the Life and Pensions route, candidates are required to study the following core units:

  • (LP1) Life and pensions customer operations
  • (LP2) Financial services products and solutions
  • (LP3) Life and pensions principles and practices

For the general route, candidates are required to study one of the following core units:

  • (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics, or
  • (CF1) UK financial services regulation and ethics

And unit,

  • (LP2) Financial services products and solutions

 
For the unit syllabuses, return to the Certificate in Financial Services landing page where you will find the syllabus link at the top right of the page.

Life and Pensions route, unit overview:

Unit

Assessment method

Study hours*

Credits awarded

Unit level

 

 

 

 

 

(LP1) Life and pensions customer operations

·         2-hour exam

·         15 multiple choice questions; and

·         35 multiple choice questions related to 7 case studies

·         70% nominal pass mark**

60

15

3

(LP2) Financial services products and solutions

·         2-hour exam

·         75 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

100

20

3

(LP3) Life and pensions principles and practices

·         90-minute exam

·         50 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

50

10

3

 

 General route, unit overview:

Unit

Assessment method

Study hours*

Credits awarded

Unit level

 

 

 

 

 

(R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics

·         2-hour exam

·         100 multiple choice questions

·         65% nominal pass mark**

60

20

4

(CF1) UK financial services, regulation and ethics

·         2-hour exam

·         100 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

60

15

3

(LP2) Financial services products and solutions

·         2-hour exam

·         75 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

100

20

3

Find out more about assessment methods, including exam policies and centres »


Units treated as equivalent

Due to the extent of syllabus overlap, certain combinations of current and withdrawn CII units will result in only one award of credits.

If a withdrawn equivalent is held you may not need to complete a current unit in order to satisfy a qualification's completion rules. Clarification should always be sought from CII Customer Service.

Find out more about credit awards for equivalent units »

 

*The recommended minimum study hours will vary depending on your experience and ability.

** The actual pass mark may vary from one session to another to ensure consistency in pass standards.

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.

 

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.

 

LP1 Life and pensions customer operations

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:

  • the life and pensions customer and the wider consumer environment;
  • customer operations functions and activities;
  • how individuals and teams can ensure effective customer service;

and to apply this appropriately to a range of customer operations scenarios.

 

LP2 Financial services products and solutions

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:

  • key customer needs and the factors that affect these;
  • how customers and financial services professionals identify needs and solutions;
  • the main protection, mortgage repayment and savings and investment products;
  • the main tax wrappers.

(LP3) Life and pensions principles and practices

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of

  • the role of the life and pensions sector;
  • the sector's operational functions and activities and;
  • the sector's regulatory and legislative environment, including individual professional responsibilities.