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The planning profession’s qualification of choice

The RQF Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning meets the FCA's qualification requirements for retail investment advisers, and develops core technical knowledge and financial planning capabilities across six compulsory units:

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

Holders R01 are authorised to advise under supervision while they work towards the full Diploma.  

Who it's for 

The Diploma in particularly suitable for: 

  • Anyone seeking to give retail investment advice, in particular those who don't hold additional CII credits counting towards completion of the Diploma in Financial Planning
  • Paraplanners, technical consultants and those in financial planning 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
  • Learn interactive tutorial
  • Revision courses. 

How you're tested

Units R01-R05, covering technical knowledge, are tested by multiple-choice on screen exams. Unit R06, which covers the practical application of technical knowledge and planning skills, is tested by a written case study-based exam. Find out more by selecting the completion requirements link to the right of this page.

Member designation  

Completion entitles PFS members to use the designation Dip PFS. 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 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning 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 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning

Ofqual Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) Level Level 4
Number of available units 6 Diploma 'R0' units
Compulsory units 6 units:
• (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics
• (R02) Investment principles and risk
• (R03) Personal taxation
• (R04) Pensions and retirement planning
• (R05) Financial protection
• (R06) Financial planning practice
CII credits required to complete (existing credits carried forward) 100
CII credits per unit R01/R02 - 20 credits
R03-R05 - 10 credits
R06 - 30 credits
Combination of units at any level allowed Not applicable
Exam format R01/R02
• Online, 2 hours
• 100 multiple choice questions
• Online, 1 hour
• 50 multiple choice questions
• 3 hours
• 2 written case studies
Average study time per unit R01/R02 - 60 hours
R03-R05 - 50 hours
R06 - 100 hours
Availability of exam sessions (Details shown apply to the UK. Outside of the UK exams are offered twice-yearly)

Year-round (R01-R05)
Availability varies from centre to centre, but typically weekly
4 times a year (R06)

Entry requirements? None
Credits available for prior learning? Yes
Record of Achievement issued for each exam pass? Yes
CII/PFS membership designation DipPFS
PFS members are entitled to use on completion


Completion requirements

To complete the Diploma you need to obtain 100 CII credits by passing six compulsory units: R01-R06.

We recommend R06 is completed last as this tests the application of technical knowledge developed through completion of the other R0 units.  

Units CII 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
R03, R04 10 - Level 4 50 1 hour exam comprising 50 MCQs Year-round 65% Immediate notification of results
R05 10 - Level 3 50 1 hour exam comprising 50 MCQs Year-round 70% Immediate notification of results
R06 30 - Level 4 100 3 hour exam comprising 2 written case studies on financial planning practice. Candidates receive the 2 written case studies two weeks before the exam. Jan/Apr/Jul/Oct 55% 6 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.

R06 exam dates and deadlines

The following information applies to R06 exams sat during 2017.

To enter for units R01-R05, which are sat year-round, visit our online exams page.

    Jan 2017 exams Apr 2017 exams Jul 2017
Oct 2017 exams
Exam entry

The following entry
deadlines apply (after
which changes to entries
won't be accepted)
At normal fee 16 Dec 16 22 Feb 17 02 Jun 17 30 Aug 17
At late fee 03 Jan 17 17 Mar 17 16 Jun 17 22 Sep 17
Exam entry confirmation* Dispatched within seven working days from receipt of application
Receive your exam admission permit* Dispatched ten days before exams begin or six weeks for non-UK applicants
Exam sittings Exams are scheduled on the following dates 16 Jan 17 03 Apr 17 03 Jul 17 09 Oct 17
Exam results

Results are released online at will need to log in using your CII PIN and password) and sent by 1st class post on the following dates
UK exam centre 24 Feb 17 12 May 17 11 Aug 17 17 Nov 17
Non-UK exam centre N/A 12 May 17 N/A
17 Nov 17

* Please contact Customer Service if you do not receive these, either by emailing or calling 020 8989 8464. When you receive your admission permit you MUST read it in full and check whether any change has been made in the date or times of the units for which you have entered and that the units shown on your permit are those that you intend to sit. If there is any discrepancy you should contact Customer Service immediately.

** To access your results online you will need to be logged in to the CII website using your CII Permanent Identity Number (PIN) and password.

Important note: By taking a CII exam you are agreeing to the regulations stated on the exam permit as well as those detailed on our exam policies page.

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.

R03 Personal taxation

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

  • the basic structure of the UK tax system;
  • the main taxes on income and capital that may be charged on individuals and trusts, the self assessment system and how tax liabilities are computed;
  • the taxation of investments as relevant to the needs and circumstances of individuals and trusts.

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.

R05 Financial protection

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

  • purpose and scope of financial protection products and how they interact with State benefits;
  • main features and functions of the different types of contracts and how they are arranged in order to meet the individual client's protection needs;
  • main protection needs of businesses


R06 Financial planning practice

This unit enables candidates to demonstrate their expertise in the application of the financial planning process through combining and applying learning content from all the other units in the CII QCF level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning:

  • Financial services, regulation and ethics;
  • Investment principles and risk;
  • Personal taxation;
  • Pensions and retirement planning;
  • Financial protection.