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Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning

Your pathway to Chartered Financial Planner status

The RQF Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning builds on existing knowledge enabling advisers to develop specialist planning capabilities and offer a sophisticated and comprehensive approach to financial management.

Members with over five years’ sector experience can apply for Chartered Financial Planner status on completion of the Advanced Diploma.

  • Retail investment advisers qualified at level 4
  • Paraplanners, technical consultants and staff in related support roles qualified at level 4

To complete the Advanced Diploma, you must already hold one of the following CII qualifications: Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, Diploma in Financial Planning.

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 Advanced Diploma.

Find out more about recognition of prior learning

Specific study time guidelines are provided for each unit on its webpage and in the CII qualifications brochure.

The notional Ofqual ‘Total Qualification Time’ for this qualification is 600 hours. This represents the time a student might typically take to upgrade their CII Level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning or Regulated Financial Planning to the CII Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning by the shortest combination of units from the core and optional units available. The number of hours may increase dependent on the units chosen. Further study time will be needed for any units required to meet the additional completion requirements (for students who have not already completed these as part of their prior study).

Diploma and Advanced Diploma level units are assessed by written exam or coursework assignment.

Written exam results are normally released 6-8 weeks following exam sitting. Coursework assessment results are normally released 63 calendar days following submission.

Find out more about assessments, including policies and exam centres

Qualification units are delivered through purchasing an Enrolment, equipping you with the essential materials to support core learning. For a single fee, an Enrolment typically includes: study text, assessment and access to RevisionMate, our online study tool. 

We also offer additional revision aids through purchasing Enrolment plus for most key units. These range from Key fact booklets and Question packs, to Learn online tutorials.

As a holder of the Advanced Diploma you can apply for Chartered status (subject to having five years' experience within the profession - experience gained prior to qualification counts towards this requirement).

Chartered status cements your professional standing and gives you parity with other professionals such as accountants and solicitors. The CII also offers corporate Chartered status to qualifying firms, further enhancing visible professionalism. 

If after completing the Advanced Diploma you wish to continue with formal professional development, you could study for Fellowship of the PFS.

Fellowship, held by more than 5,000 working practitioners is our highest level of qualification. Attainment is globally recognised as an indicator of expertise and experience.

Due to the extent of syllabus overlap, certain combinations of current and withdrawn 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

Completion requirements

Core units

The Advanced Diploma comprises one core unit and a number of option units from the CII Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a total of 290 credits on successful completion. There is no definitive order in which you should study your chosen units, however unit AF5 tests skills developed through completion of other Advanced Diploma units so must be completed last.

Financial planning process
Credits : 30
Level : 6
Option units

120 credits must be at level 6 and include the core unit AF5. A further 40 credits must be at level 4 or above, and the remaining credits may come from any unit with the exception of unit LF1.

Any credits already achieved from these units will continue to count towards the completion requirements of the Diploma in Financial Planning and the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning after the unit’s withdrawal.

Personal tax and trust planning
Credits : 30
Level : 6
Investment Planning
Credits : 30
Level : 6
Senior management and supervision
Credits : 30
Level : 6
Pensions transfers
Credits : 20
Level : 6
Retirement income planning
Credits : 30
Level : 6