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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.

The Certificate includes new Level 6 unit (AF7) Pension transfers, which covers the implications of transferring between different types of pensions, the appropriateness of pension transfer advice in a range of client scenarios, and how to apply suitable solutions.

Find out more about enhancements being made to CII Level 6 pensions units »

The Certificate comprises four 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

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

Entry requirements


Completion requirements can be found on the right of this page. 

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 R0 unit is tested by a single multiple-choice on screen exam. Unit AF7 is tested by a short answer written exam, which comprises 2 case study-based questions. Find out more by selecting the completion requirements link to the right of this page.

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.


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 Pension Transfer Advice

Ofqual Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) Level Level 4 (AF7 Level 6)
Number of available units 4 units
Compulsory units • (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics
• (R02) Investment principles and risk
• (R04) Pensions and retirement planning
• (AF7) Pension transfers
CII credits required to complete (existing credits carried forward) 70
CII credits per unit R01/R02/AF7 - 20 credits
R04 - 10 credits
Combination of units at any level allowed Not applicable
Exam format

• Online, 2 hours
• 100 multiple choice questions
• Online, 1 hour
• 50 multiple choice questions
• 2 hour exam
• 3-4 written short answer questions
• 2 case study based questions

Average study time per unit R01/R02 - 60 hours
R04 - 50 hours
AF7 - 100 hours
Availability of exam sessions (Details shown apply to the UK. Outside of the UK exams are offered twice-yearly)

Year-round (R01/R02/R04)
Availability varies from centre to centre, but typically weekly
Twice yearly (AF7)
April/October (first exam October 2017) 

Entry requirements? None, however it is recommended that students complete R04 before undertaking unit AF7
Credits available for prior learning? Yes
Record of Achievement issued for each exam pass? Yes
CII/PFS membership designation Not applicable


Completion requirements

To complete the Certificate you need to obtain 70 CII credits by passing the four compulsory units: R01, R02, R04 and AF7.

AF7 builds on knowledge gain for completing R04, so we recommend you tackle R04 before moving on to AF7.

Units Credits and Level Study hours per unit * Assesment method Exam sessions Nominal pass mark ** Results notification
R01, R02 20 - Level 4 60 2 hour exam comprising 100 multiple choice questions (MCQ) Year-round 65% Immediate notification of results
R04 10 - Level 4 50 1 hour exam comprising 50 MCQs Year-round 65% Immediate notification of results
AF7 20 - Level 6 100 2 hour exam comprising 3-4 compulsory written short answer questions and 2 case study based questions. Apr/Oct 60% 9 weeks

* 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.


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.


R02 Investment principles and risk

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

  • the characteristics, inherent risks, behaviour and correlation of asset classes, and investment products;
  • the macro-economic environment and its impact on asset classes;
  • the merits and limitations of the main investment theories;
  • the nature and impact of the main types of risk on investment performance;
  • the performance of investments.

R04 Pensions and retirement planning

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

  • the main tax and legal frameworks applicable to pension schemes;
  • the features of defined contributions and defined benefit pension schemes;
  • state retirement benefits including risks and suitability of contracting out;
  • the aims and objectives of retirement planning including relevant investment issues.

(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.