AF2 Business financial planning: study requirements and guidance
The CII lists the relevant study texts for the AF2 exam as being the CII study text J03 and their AF2 case study workbook.
Regarding further reading, candidates may need to obtain a wider knowledge beyond the CII study manual and case study workbook, as the general principle is that the CII will set an exam based on the syllabus, not on their manual/workbook. The CII material is written with the syllabus in mind and the examiners will often refer to the CII manuals for technical points as well as to past papers to ensure continuity of style and approach.
What makes an AF paper different from a ‘J’ or ‘R’ paper is that candidates must be able to apply the knowledge they gained during their diploma level studying to relatively complex client situations, which are given in the form of case studies.
Most of the other reference materials listed in the CII syllabus are very expensive and often out-of-date, and go into a level of detail beyond which the examiners will test.
Extremely few people will purchase these reference materials in order to possibly pick up a few additional marks. Although please note that CII/PFS members can borrow most of the additional study materials listed from Knowledge Services.
Most useful resources
Our AF2 study package will also be of great assistance to help you revise by providing the following:
We would suggest that you get started by doing a mixture of revision, going through mock case studies and reviewing past papers. How you are getting on with these will be a good indicator as to how you will perform in the exam and whether you need to revisit a syllabus area. Many people will pass the exam by this method alone and those who get a good pass tend to be those involved in the technical end of financial planning already.
Should you feel the need to read more widely, the books listed on the CII AF2 syllabus are indeed the most likely suspects. The books and reference materials listed are unlikely to be of much practical assistance for the reasons detailed above, and whilst reading relevant journals and magazines can be useful for keeping your knowledge up to date, they may actually cause confusion. The AF2 exam is based on the law at a fixed point in time, and subsequent changes will not be examined until a later point. The general rule is that the new tax year and changes that arise from the Finance Act will be examined from the 1 September each year. Other changes that are not related to the Finance Act will be examined 3 months after they have legal effect. In other words your exam will be based on the legal position 3 months before your exam date. Care therefore needs to be taken in this regard and it is recommended that you check the Learning solutions updates which can be found under ‘Unit updates’ on the AF2 content page of the CII website.