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Enhancements to CII Level 6 pensions units


We are enhancing our Level 6 pensions exam offering during 2017 with the introduction of a new pension transfers qualification and two new units.

New Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice

At the heart of these developments is a new qualification - the Level 4 Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice. It provides the in-depth knowledge and practical skills needed by anyone seeking to advise on the transfer of safeguarded benefits, an increasingly important part of the advice process following the Government's pension reforms. The Certificate satisfies the appropriate FCA qualification requirements for those wanting to undertake pension transfer activities.

The Certificate is made up of four compulsory units: new Level 6 unit '(AF7) Pension transfers' and three existing Level 4 units, '(R01) Financial services regulation and ethics', '(R02) Investment principles and risk' and '(R04) Pensions and retirement planning'.

Find out more about the Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice »

New unit - (AF7) Pension transfers

AF7 study material will be available from the start of August 2017 and first exam in October 2017.

Diploma in Financial Planning holders who have completed gap fill should note that passing unit AF7 will satisfy the FCA's appropriate qualification requirements for advising on pension transfers.

(AF7) Pension transfers »

Unit withdrawal - (AF3) Pension planning

In April 2018 we will withdraw Advanced Diploma unit '(AF3) Pension planning', our current FCA appropriate exam for pension transfers. This gives those working towards AF3 three further exam sessions to complete the unit.

Given that pension transfers have become an increasingly important and complex part of the advice process, we are increasing our qualification support by splitting (AF3) Pension planning into two new Level 6 units: (AF7) Pension transfers and (AF8) Retirement income planning. 

No change to the regulatory status of AF3 or G60  
Some 7,000 CII SPS holders are qualified to provide pension transfer advice, holding either (AF3) Pension planning or withdrawn CII unit (G60) Pensions . The introduction of new unit  AF7 and the Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice will not impact the FCA 'appropriate exam' status of these pre-existing units.    

New unit - (AF8) Retirement income planning

This new Level 6 Advanced Diploma unit is being introduced in October 2017, and will focus on aspects of pension planning not covered by AF7.

Study material and assessment available from October 2017.

Frequently asked questions

1. Why is (AF3) pension planning being withdrawn in April 2018? 

AF3 will be superseded by a dedicated pension transfer unit, '(AF7) Pension transfers' and a second new Level 6 unit, '(AF8) Retirement income planning', focusing on broader pension planning issues. 

Withdrawing AF3 in April 2018 gives those working towards it access to three further exam sessions.

2. Is new unit (AF7) Pension transfers equivalent to existing unit (AF3) Pension planning?

No. AF7 focuses on pension transfers, whereas AF3 covers pensions and broader pension planning issues. As a result, those who pass AF3 and AF7 will be awarded CII credits for both units.

3. I hold the Diploma in Financial Planning and have completed gap fill, but don't hold units R01, R02 and R04. Will I complete the Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice if I pass AF7?

No, although you will satisfy the FCA's appropriate qualification requirements for pension transfer specialists.

As with other FCA listed qualifications, e.g. the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, all unit learning outcomes must be matched in order for the qualification to be awarded.

However, the Diploma in Financial Planning (including gap fill) plus AF7 also satisfies the FCA's appropriate qualification requirements for advising on pension transfers.  

4. Will units (AF3) Pension planning and (G60) Pensions continue to be FCA appropriate exams for those advising on pension transfers? 

Yes. The introduction of new unit AF7 and the Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice will not impact the FCA 'appropriate exam' status of these pre-existing units.

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