Over 500 personal finance professionals have signed up to the
Chartered Insurance Institute's (CII) pension transfers
qualification in the first week of its launch following the
Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) proposals to tighten the advice
requirements for the transfer of safeguarded benefits.
Candidates have enrolled onto the new Level 4 Certificate in
Pension Transfers Advice which includes a new Level 6 unit (AF7)
Pension transfers, and three existing CII Level 4 units - (R01)
Financial services, regulation and ethics, (R02) Investment
principles and risk and (R04) Pensions and retirement planning.
Some 7,000 CII SPS holders are qualified to provide pension
transfer advice, holding either the withdrawn CII unit (G60)
Pensions or current CII unit (AF3) Pension planning. The new
Certificate provides advisers with the skills and qualifications
required to operate as a pension transfer specialist.
Advisers who hold the CII Diploma in Financial Planning, but not
G60 or AF3, will be able to complete AF7 in order to become
qualified pension transfer specialists. AF7 involves 50 fewer
learning hours than AF3 given its specific focus on pension
Current holders of AF3 or G60 will also benefit from undertaking
AF7, by developing their knowledge in the specialist area of
The CII will also introduce a new Level 6 Advanced Diploma unit
(AF8) Retirement income planning in October 2017, covering aspects
of pension planning not covered in AF7. Together, the two new units
will replace AF3, which will be withdrawn in April 2018.
Keith Richards, CII managing director of engagement and chief
executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: "We are delighted
so many have pursued these qualifications to gain the in depth
enhanced knowledge required to ensure they can help their clients
achieve the best outcomes in seeking financial security in
"It is understandable that the FCA renewed its focus on the
qualifications, experience and continuing professional development
requirements for pension transfer specialists but our members told
us what they wanted ahead of the regulator demonstrating how far
the profession has advanced. Our new dedicated pension transfer
exam unit is client focused and has been developed in the spirit of
the FCA's current consultation."