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The essential qualification for the discretionary investment management sector

The RQF Level 4 Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management develops the wealth strategy and portfolio management skills required for effective discretionary investment management, and satisfies the FCA's appropriate qualification requirements for this class of business.

The Certificate involves completion of two compulsory units:

Unit syllabuses setting out the learning outcomes for each unit can be found on the right of this page. 

Who it's for

The Certificate is particularly suitable for:

  • Anyone seeking to become a portfolio manager who needs to comply with the FCA's appropriate qualification requirements
  • Anyone wanting to develop their knowledge of investments, including retail investment advisers and those in investment-related support roles

Entry requirements


Learning support

Unit study materials for this qualification typically include:

  • Study text with updates
  • RevisionMate online study support
  • Blended learning package
  • Key fact booklets
  • Question packs
  • Audio revision

How you're tested

Each unit is assessed by a single multiple-choice on screen exam, tested year-round throughout the UK at a choice of over 40 centres. Find out more by selecting the completion requirements link to the right of this page. 

Member designation

Completion entitles members who are also members to use the designation CertPFS (DM). Continuing Professional Development requirements apply.

Your next step

The links at the top right of this page contain all the information you need to finalise your entry. To order your study text and assessment entry, please use the individual unit links. 

Read the Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management specification »


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).

Key facts

Key facts for the Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management

Ofqual Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) Level Level 4
Number of available units 2 Diploma units
Compulsory units 2 units
• (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics
• (J10) Discretionary investment management
CII credits required to complete (existing credits carried forward) 40
CII credits per unit R01/J10 - 20 credits
Combination of units at any level allowed Not applicable
Exam format R01
• Online, 2 hours
• 100 multiple choice questions
• Online, 2 hours
• 70 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and 4 case studies each comprising 5 MCQs 
Average study time per unit R01/J10 - 60 hours
Availability of exam sessions (Details shown apply to the UK. Outside of the UK exams are offered twice-yearly) Year-round
Availability varies from centre to centre, but typically weekly
Entry requirements? None
Credits available for prior learning? Yes
Record of Achievement issued for each exam pass? Yes
CII/PFS membership designation CertPFS (DM)
PFS members are entitled to use on completion

Completion requirements

To complete the Certificate you need to obtain 40 CII credits by passing compulsory units: R01 and J10.

Unit Credits and level  Study hours per unit * Assesment method Exam sessions Nominal pass mark ** Results notification
R01 20 - Level 4 80 2 hour exam comprising 100 MCQs Year-round 65% Immediate notification of results
J10 2 hour exam comprising 90 MCQs

* The recommended minimum study hours shown below will vary according to your experience and ability. 

** The nominal pass mark is shown, however, the actual pass mark may vary from one session to another to ensure that the pass standard remains constant.

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.


J10 Discretionary investment management

At the end of this unit, candidates will be able to advise clients on a range of discretionary investment management issues, including:

  • establish and meeting client objectives;
  • the behaviour, performance, risk profile and correlation of key investment types;
  • the role of the investment manager;
  • discretionary and non-discretionary portfolio management;
  • investment fund objectives and approaches;
  • the fundamentals of economics applicable to investment management;
  • how investment returns are related to investment risk;
  • the principles of portfolio theory;
  • performance measurement;
  • data regression;
  • indices;
  • the principles of performance measurement;
  • financial analysis;
  • ratio analysis;
  • information sources and disclosure obligations and bias thereof;
  • the principles of performance management and portfolio theory;
  • analysis and interpretation of financial information and ratios.

R01 Financial services, regulation and ethics

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

  • UK financial service industry in its European and Global context;
  • how the retail customer is served by the financial service industry;
  • Regulatory framework, powers and responsibilities to protect the consumer;
  • the legal concepts and considerations relevant to financial advice;
  • the Code of Ethics and its impact on the business behaviours of individuals.