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Personal Finance Society
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Building operational expertise in investments

The level 3 Certificate in Investment Operations provides essential knowledge and skills for those working in a range of administrative and operational investment roles.

The Certificate satisfies the FCA qualification requirements for overseers of administration and operational functions

Read the Certificate in Investment Operations specification »

Who’s it for?

  • Those working in collective investment scheme administration, individual savings account administration, and investment client servicing
  • Anyone moving in to an administrative overseer role needing to comply with FCA appropriate qualification requirements.

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 >

Completion requirements

The Certificate involves completion of 2 units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a minimum of 25 credits on completion

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

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 >

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


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 comprises one core unit and one option unit from across the CII Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a minimum of 25 credits on successful completion.

Candidates are required to take one of the following core units:

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

And one of the following option units:

  • (FA4) collective investment scheme administration
  • (FA5) Individual savings accounts administration
  • (FA6) Investment client servicing

There is no prescribed order in which units must be taken, but it is strongly recommended that you sit the core unit first as these provide foundation knowledge upon which the others build.

For unit syllabuses, return to the Certificate in investment operations landing page, and click on the ‘Syllabuses’ link to the right of the page.

Unit overview:


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**




(CF1) UK financial services, regulation and ethics

·         2-hour exam

·         100 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**




(FA4) Collective investment scheme administration

·         1-hour exam

·         50 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**




(FA5) Individual savings account administration

·         1-hour exam

·         50 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**




(FA6) Investment client servicing

·         1-hour exam

·         50 multiple choice questions

·         70% nominal pass mark**




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.


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.


FA4 Collective investment scheme administration

At the end of this unit, candidates should understand the:
• main features of collective investment schemes;
• regulatory framework applicable to collective investment schemes;
• roles and responsibilities associated with collective investment schemes;
• registration process, dealing and settlement, contract notes/dematerialisation, transfers and

FA5 Individual savings account administration

At the end of this unit, candidates should understand the:
• main features and uses of Individual Savings Accounts;
• ISA investors and applications;
• ISA withdrawals, closure, deaths of investors, transfers;
• HMRC rules concerning ISAs.



FA6 Investment client servicing

At the end of this unit, candidates should understand the:
• investment client servicing cycle from setting up clients to closing customer accounts;
• rules applicable to client money;
• relevant conduct of business and client asset rules;
• processes involved in settlement;
• key features of investing in international markets.