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Personal Finance Society
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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.

Read the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning specification »


Who it's for

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


Entry requirements

You must also already hold either the Diploma in Financial Planning or Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning to study for the Advanced Diploma.


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 Advanced Diploma.

Find out more about recognition of prior learning

At least one CII level six unit (AF1 – AF8), (or withdrawn AFPC unit) must be obtained in order to be awarded the Diploma.


Completion requirements

A total of 290 credits must be achieved in order to be awarded the Advanced Diploma.

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

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


Assessment method

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 40 days following submission.


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


Chartered Status and Fellowship

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 CII.

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

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.


Assessment methods include:

  • Multiple-choice exams - the assessment method for Award, Certificate, and financial services 'R0' Diploma units assessed in the UK. Exams are delivered on-screen at a network of over 40 public centres across the UK. Sittings are available year-round, often on a weekly basis.
  • Written exams - the assessment method for some Diploma and Advanced Diploma units and all units examined outside the UK. Sittings are typically available twice-yearly in April and October at over 50 public centres throughout the UK and over 100 public centres outside the UK.
  • Coursework assessment - available for a select number of Advanced Diploma in Insurance units and the financial services unit (J09) Paraplanning, coursework assessment involves the completion of three written assignments during a 12 month period.
  • Mixed assessment - Initially introduced for unit (P92) Insurance business and finance, this has been extended to units (P05) Insurance law, (P80) Underwriting practice, (P81) Insurance broking practice and (P85) Claims practice from April 2015 and and will be extended to all Diploma in Insurance units by April 2018 (unit codes begin with the letter M). This involves the successful completion of both a coursework assignment and a multiple-choice exam. This has an 18 month enrolment period.
  • Dissertation assessment - available for the Advanced Diploma unit 991 London market insurance specialisation. This involves the submission of a dissertation proposal and an 11,000 word dissertation. This has an 18 month enrolment period. This unit should only be taken by those who have access to the necessary information and people in the London Market.

Find out more

It is essential that candidates familiarise themselves with the guidelines and instructions which are shown on the CII website under the relevant units. In addition candidates should familiarise themselves with the coursework and dissertation policies as well as exam policies (before the assessment) and notes to results (after the assessment).

This qualification in detail

Key information

What does the qualification involve?

To complete the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning, you must obtain 290 credits.

120 credits must come from Advanced Diploma units (AF1 – AF8), AF5 being a compulsory unit. 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.

A further 40 credits must be at level four or above, and the remaining credits can come from any units within the Personal Finance qualification framework, with the exception of LF1.

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

 

Unit overview:

Unit

Assessment method

Study hours*

Credits awarded

Unit level

 

 

 

 

 

(AF1) Personal tax and trust planning

·         3-hour exam

·         Case study based with 3 compulsory questions

·         55% nominal pass mark**

150

30

6

(AF2) Business financial planning

·         3-hour exam

·         Case study based with 3 compulsory questions

·         55% nominal pass mark**

150

30

6

(AF3) Pension planning

·         3-hour exam

·         Case study based with 3 compulsory questions

·         55% nominal pass mark**

150

30

6

(AF4) Investment planning

·         3-hour exam

·         Case study based with 3 compulsory questions

·         55% nominal pass mark**

150

30

6

(AF5) Financial planning process

·         3-hour exam

·         Case study based with 3 compulsory questions

·         55% nominal pass mark**

150

30

6

(AF6) Senior management and supervision

·         3 written coursework assignments, each typically 2,000 to 3,000 words

150

30

6

(AF7) Pension transfer

·         2-hour exam

·         3-4 compulsory written short answer questions, and 2 case study based questions

100

20

6

(AF8) Retirement income planning

·         3 written coursework assignments, each typically 2,000 to 3,000 words

150

30

6

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.

Your completion requirements

For your personalised Advanced Diploma completion requirements, based on the CII exams you already hold, request your learning statement online now.

Syllabuses

AF1 Personal tax and trust planning.

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to:

Evaluate the needs of complex clients and recommend appropriate solutions based upon detailed understanding and analysis of the:

  • Basic structure of the tax system and self assessment;
  • Main personal taxes on income and capital that may be charged on individuals during life and on death, the self assessment system and how tax liabilities are computed;
  • Tax treatment of main social security benefits and interaction with other sources of income;
  • National Insurance, how it is calculated and applied;
  • Tax treatment of different kinds of investments;
  • Impact of residence and domicile on an individual's liability to UK tax;
  • Legal principles associated with the creation and management of a trust;
  • Main types and uses of trusts that are common in the UK and duties, powers and responsibilities of trustees;
  • Powers of Attorney including different types of power of attorney, the procedures for establishing a Power of Attorney and the implications of doing so;
  • Consequences of making a Will and dying intestate;
  • Bankruptcy; rules and the role of the trustee in bankruptcy;
  • Taxation considerations relevant to trusts.

AF2 Business financial planning

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to:

Evaluate the needs of complex clients and recommend appropriate solutions based upon detailed understanding and analysis of the:the main legal forms of business;

  • Main legal forms of business and how they are set up and managed;
  • Consequences of bankruptcy or insolvency;
  • Business accounts and financial controls;
  • Taxation of business entities, its owners and employees;
  • Main legal responsibilities businesses have to employees, suppliers and customers;
  • Main principles of business protection insurance, including key person insurance, share protection insurance and partnership protection insurance;
  • Main uses of pensions for business planning.

AF3 Pension planning

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to:

Evaluate the needs of complex clients and recommend appropriate solutions based upon detailed understanding and analysis of the:

  • HM Revenue & Customs tax regime for pensions;
  • Legal framework of pensions;
  • Features and risks of defined contributions and defined benefit pension schemes;
  • State retirement benefits;
  • Choices facing early leavers, transfer value analysis and transfer advice;
  • Various options for drawing income - their features, risks and tax treatment;
  • Different needs and solutions available to personal and corporate customers.

AF4 Investment planning

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to:

Evaluate the needs of complex clients and recommend appropriate solutions based upon detailed understanding and analysis of the:

  • Economic environment and its impact on investment performance and investment decision making;
  • Main features, risks and returns of direct financial investments, collective investments and other investments;
  • Individual company performance and company accounts;
  • Measurement and management of risk and returns;
  • Main principles governing how to construct an investment portfolio;
  • Range of investment management services, how their performance is evaluated, and their regulatory environment.

AF5 Financial planning process

At the end of this unit, candidates will be able to apply the financial plan that demonstrates:

  • Understanding of the relationship and responsibilities between adviser and client and the need to establish the scope of the planning brief;
  • Evaluation of the different remuneration strategies available and how they might suit the different services required by clients;
  • Understanding and evaluation of the client's financial objectives, including the importance of prioritising those financial objectives;
  • Understanding of the assumptions underlying the financial plan;
  • Understanding of the client's financial status;
  • Understanding of what is meant by risk, the various risks faced by the client and the importance of the client risk profile in formulating a financial plan;
  • Evaluation of the different options available to the client with relevant evidence;
  • The ability to put forward an appropriate financial plan based upon analysis of client objectives, circumstances and options;
  • The ability to explain the meaning of any technical terms, the features of proposed products and the consequences of the proposed course of action;
  • Understanding of the importance of documenting any changes to the plan required by the client and how to document such changes;
  • Understanding of the review process and the different frequencies and methods available to review the plan.

AF6 Senior management and supervision

At the end of this unit, candidates will be able to:

  • Apply supervision principles and practice in a retail financial services business;
  • Evaluate supervision principles and practice;
  • Evaluate the competency requirements for senior executives and the governance of competence arrangements;
  • Evaluate the impact of leadership and culture in a regulated environment.

 

 

(AF7) Pension transfers

At the end of this unit candidates will be able to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skill in applying the following topic areas:

  • explain fundamental aspects of the pension transfer process;
  • explain the implications of transferring between different types of pensions; and

advise on pension transfers in a range of client specific circumstances and scenarios.

(AF8) Retirement income planning

At the end of this unit candidates will be able to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skill in applying the following topic areas: