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Investment Planning

AF4 (30 CII credits – Advanced Diploma level)

The objective of this unit is to develop in depth financial planning skills related to investments and the management of investment portfolios.

Investment Planning builds on existing knowledge enabling advisers to develop specialist planning capabilities and offer a sophisticated and comprehensive approach to financial management.

The qualities that mean you are effective with clients are many and varied. Knowledge, the ability to express yourself clearly and people skills are all equally important.

In the exam it is your technical knowledge of investment planning and its focused application to practical situations that counts. You therefore need excellent technical knowledge, strong analytical skills, the ability to write clearly and concisely, and you must be able to perform within a tight timescale.

You should appreciate the standard of the Advanced Diploma examination: candidates must demonstrate that they are capable of advising clients whose overall levels of income and capital require a more sophisticated range of advice than is normally prepared by a Diploma/Certificate level adviser. Clients who feature in the Advanced Diploma case studies require a critical appraisal of the various financial planning options available to them.

As the application of knowledge is so crucial, it is considered that the case study approach
to learning is highly appropriate in preparing for the Advanced Diploma. For each case study
in this workbook a full model answer with learning points is provided.

Please note: It is assumed that the candidate already has knowledge gained from study of unit Investment Principles and Risk (R02) or equivalent and/or Discretionary Investment Management (J10).

Summary of learning outcomes:

At the end of this unit, candidates will be able to evaluate the complex needs of clients and recommend appropriate solutions based upon detailed understanding and analysis of the:

  1. Economic environment and its impact on investment performance and investment decision making;
  2. Features, risks and returns of direct financial investments;
  3. Features, risks and returns of collective investment products, including alternative investments;
  4. Individual company performance and company accounts;
  5. Types and measurement of risk and returns;
  6. Main principles governing how to construct an investment portfolio, investment styles and the management of risk and return;
  7. Range of portfolio management services.

More information:

Download AF4 April 2019 exam guide (PDF)

Download AF4 October 2019 exam guide (PDF)

Download the 2020/21 syllabus (PDF)


  • 3-hour exam
  • Case study based with 3 compulsory questions
  • The pass rate for those completing the unit is currently 49%
  • 55% nominal pass mark

Recommended study hours: 150 (will vary depending on your experience and ability)

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Enrolment plus (applicable to Apr and Oct exams within a 12-month enrolment period)

Information Case study workbook, exam entry and audio revision

  • Non-members £397.00
  • Members £295.00

Enrolment (applicable to Apr and Oct exams within a 12-month enrolment period)

Information Case study workbook and exam entry

  • Non-members £357.00
  • Members £276.00

Revision aids

Information Audio revision – (12 month enrolment)

  • Non-members £82.00
  • Members £72.00

Case study workbook renewal

Information Extend your case study workbook enrolment for a further 12 months from the end of the previous enrolment (Digital only)

  • Non-members £92.00
  • Members £72.00

Information Extend your case study workbook enrolment for a further 12 months from the end of the previous enrolment (Printed and digital)

  • Non-members £92.00
  • Members £72.00