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Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice

Become a pension transfers specialist

The level 4 Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice develops 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.

  • Retail investment advisers and non-advisers alike seeking to undertake pension transfer work and become pension transfer specialists
  • Retail investment advisers, paraplanners, technical consultants and those in financial planning support roles wanting to update their knowledge in this area

Activity 11: Undertaking the activity of a pension transfer specialist (PTS) is an activity regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and as such, you are required to hold the appropriate qualification for this activity.
The FCA are increasing the qualification requirements for undertaking the activity of a pension transfer specialist (Activity 11) effective 1 October 2021.

Current Qualification Requirement

  • Unit AF7 Pensions transfers plus RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6
  • Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice (units R01, R02, R04, and AF7)
  • Unit G60 Pensions*
  • Unit AF3 Pension planning*
  • Fellow or Associate including 3 pensions related subjects as confirmed by the CII*

Qualification Requirement as of 1 October 2021 

  • Unit AF7 Pensions transfers plus RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6
  • Unit G60 Pensions* plus RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6
  • Unit AF3 Pension planning* plus RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6
  • Fellow or Associate including 3 pensions related subjects as confirmed by the CII* plus RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6

*these unit/qualification routes have been withdrawn from the CII framework and are not available to new entrants
(For the full list of appropriate qualifications please refer to the FCA’s Appropriate Qualification tables).

What about the Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice?
To complete the Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice you must hold CII units R01, R02, R04, and AF7. Because you hold unit AF7, this in combination with an RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6 will meet the Qualification Requirement as of 1 October 2021. 
(R01, R02 and R04 are three of the six units that comprise the CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning which is an RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6.)

Are my old pensions units listed above still valid?
Yes, but from 1 October 2021 they must be combined with an RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6 as per the table above.

Which CII qualifications are RDR Compliant qualifications for Activities 4 and 6?

  • Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning
  • Diploma in Financial Planning (with appropriate gapfill)
  • Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning (with appropriate gapfill)
  • Advanced Financial Planning Certificate (with appropriate gapfill)*
  • Fellow (FCII) or Associate (ACII) where the candidate holds appropriate life and pensions modules (with appropriate gapfill)*
  • Fellow  (FLIA Dip) or Associate (ALIA Dip) (with appropriate gapfill)*

*these unit/qualification routes have been withdrawn from the CII framework and are not available to new entrants

Do I need to sit a separate investment exam?
The investment requirements are met through holding an RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6. If you do not already hold an RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6 you will need to satisfy this requirement by 1 October 2021.

Can I combine appropriate qualifications from two different awarding bodies?
Yes, you can combine a CII pension transfer qualification (e.g. unit AF7 Pension transfers) with any RDR Compliant qualification for activities 4 and 6.
You may be able to combine a pension transfer qualification from another awarding body with a CII RDR Compliant qualification for Activities 4 and 6. Please refer to the FCA’s Appropriate Qualification tables for more information on pension transfer qualifications from other awarding bodies.

Do I need an SPS to undertake the activity of a pension transfer specialist?
No, Activity 11: Undertaking the activity of a pension transfer specialist is a non-RDR Activity and you are not required to hold an SPS for this activity.

The FCA announced in October 2018 that, from 2020, the requirements to be a pension transfer specialist would increase so that all pension transfer specialists will have to have a full qualification for retail investment advice alongside a pension transfer specialist qualification.

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the FCA have delayed the change in the qualification requirements to be a pension transfer specialist until 01 October 2021.

If you already hold an RDR compliant qualification (e.g. CII’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning or Diploma in Financial Planning plus gapfill) alongside a unit/qualification that meets the FCA requirement to be a pension transfer specialist (e.g. CII's unit G60 or AF3 or AF7) you will not need to take any action to meet the new qualification requirement.

If you currently hold only the CII Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice (CII units R01, R02, R04 and AF7) you will need to undertake further qualification study to meet the rules that are now being introduced on 01 October 2021.

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

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 270 hours. This represents the time a student might typically take to complete the qualification.

R0 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. Unit AF7 is assessed by written short answer and case study based exam questions.

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.

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 Certificate comprises four core units, providing a total of 70 credits on successful completion. There is no prescribed order in which units must be taken, however as AF7 builds on knowledge gained from R04, we recommend you complete R04 before moving on to AF7.

Unit
Credits
Level
 
R01
Financial services, regulation & ethics
Credits : 20
Level : 4
R02
Investment principles and risk
Credits : 20
Level : 4
R04
Pensions and retirement planning
Credits : 10
Level : 4
AF7
Pensions transfers
Credits : 20
Level : 6

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