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Personal Finance Society
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Supporting professional development and customer service excellence

The level 3 Certificate in Financial Services meets the needs of those working in operational and technical support roles, offering two targeted learning routes.

Read the Certificate in Financial Services specification here »

 

The Life and Pensions route:

This route develops knowledge and understanding of the sector and its activities, key customer needs, solutions and products, and how individuals and organisations work within a regulatory and legislative environment.

Who’s it for?

  • This route is particularly suitable for those working in the life, pensions, and long-term savings sector, including customer operations back-office staff and contact centre team leaders.

Completion requirements

The Life and Pensions route involves completion of three units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing 45 credits on completion.

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

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


The General route:

This route develops knowledge and understanding of the financial services industry in general, including regulation and legislation, and the fundamental aspects of customer service, administration and marketing in financial services, and key retail investment products.

Who’s it for?

  • Ideal for those providing operational support to financial planners, including paraplanners, and technical support staff working in financial services.

Completion requirements

The general route involves completion of two units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a minimum of 35 credits on completion.

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

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


Assessment method

Certificate level 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.

Find out more about assessments, including policies and exam centres >


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 Certificate.

Find out more about recognition of prior learning >


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

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?

The Certificate in Financial Services comprises either two, or three units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, depending on your desired route specialism. Completion of the Life and Pensions route provides 45 credits, completion of the general route provides a minimum of 35 credits.

For the Life and Pensions route, candidates are required to study the following core units:

  • (LP1) Life and pensions customer operations
  • (LP2) Financial services products and solutions
  • (LP3) Life and pensions principles and practices

For the general route, candidates are required to study one of the following core units:

  • (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics, or
  • (CF1) UK financial services regulation and ethics

And unit,

  • (LP2) Financial services products and solutions

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

Life and Pensions route, unit overview:

Unit

Assessment method

Study hours*

Credits awarded

Unit level

 

 

 

 

 

(LP1) Life and pensions customer operations

·         2-hour exam

·         15 multiple choice questions; and

·         35 multiple choice questions related to 7 case studies

·         70% nominal pass mark**

60

15

3

(LP2) Financial services products and solutions

·         2-hour exam

·         75 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

100

20

3

(LP3) Life and pensions principles and practices

·         90-minute exam

·         50 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

50

10

3

 

 General route, unit overview:

Unit

Assessment method

Study hours*

Credits awarded

Unit level

 

 

 

 

 

(R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics

·         2-hour exam

·         100 multiple choice questions

·         65% nominal pass mark**

60

20

4

(CF1) UK financial services, regulation and ethics

·         2-hour exam

·         100 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

60

15

3

(LP2) Financial services products and solutions

·         2-hour exam

·         75 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**

100

20

3

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.

Syllabuses

CF1 UK financial services, regulation and ethics

At the end of this unit, candidates should understand the:

  • purpose and structure of the UK financial services industry;
  • different financial asset classes and product types;
  • process of giving advice and the main areas covered;
  • ethics, regulatory processes, rules and legislation underpinning UK financial services;
  • use of the financial regulators' powers and responsibilities to protect the market's integrity and the impact on individuals and firms of these regulators' powers.

 

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.

 

FA7 Financial services products

Important notice to candidates:  The 2016-17 syllabus, tested from September, will include a number of enhancements. From September the unit title will also change from FA7 to LP2.


Access our FAQs to find out more »

LP1 Life and pensions customer operations

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:

  • the life and pensions customer and the wider consumer environment;
  • customer operations functions and activities;
  • how individuals and teams can ensure effective customer service;

and to apply this appropriately to a range of customer operations scenarios.

 

LP2 Financial services products and solutions

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:

  • key customer needs and the factors that affect these;
  • how customers and financial services professionals identify needs and solutions;
  • the main protection, mortgage repayment and savings and investment products;
  • the main tax wrappers.

(LP3) Life and pensions principles and practices

At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of

  • the role of the life and pensions sector;
  • the sector's operational functions and activities and;
  • the sector's regulatory and legislative environment, including individual professional responsibilities.