Become a Chartered Financial Planner within 2 years

Posted Dec 03, 2014

This article covers the requirements for becoming a Chartered Financial Planner.

It is possible for an adviser who holds the CII’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning to reach Chartered status within 2 years. The CII have a comprehensive exam structure so there are various options available.

If you want to become a Chartered Financial Planner you need 290 credits – with a minimum of 120 of those at AF level and at least 40 credits from Diploma exams.

AF level exams
There are 6 Advanced Diploma units that can be taken:

AF1 Personal tax and trust planning (30 credits)
AF2 Business financial planning (30 credits)
AF3 Pension planning (30 credits)
AF4 Investment planning (30 credits)
AF5 Financial planning process - compulsory (30 credits)
AF6 Senior management and supervision (30 credits)

For the minimum 120 AF credits that means taking four AF exams i.e. 4 x 30 credits = 120 credits. One of these exam passes must be the compulsory AF5 exam.

Any level exams and existing qualifications
The remaining 170 (290 – 120) credits can be made up from exams at any level and can include credits for any prior learning or the transfer of credits from other exam awarding bodies.

This example is based on an adviser specialising in pensions, investments and business financial planning.

This adviser started their advanced studies with 100 existing credits from having previously passed the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning which required passing the 6 exams, R01 to R06.

The adviser passed the following exams:

Specialist area
AF level exams
Any level exams
Existing Diploma qualification
Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning - R01 to R06
100 credits

AF3 - 30 credits
J05 - 20 credits
FA2 - 10 credits
AF4 - 30 credits
J10 - 20 credits
Business financial planning
AF2 - 30 credits
J03 - 20 credits
Financial planning (compulsory)
AF5 - 30 credits
Sub total
120 credits
70 credits
100 credits
Grand total
290 credits (120 + 70 + 100)

The adviser therefore achieved the required total of 290 credits and met the requirement of 120 credits coming from AF level exams.

This adviser chose the pensions, investment and business financial planning exams as they were all relevant to their area of specialism. The FA2 exam was taken to make up the total number of credits needed and complemented their pension studies.

On completion the individual was awarded the Advanced Diploma and as a member of the Personal Finance society was able to use the designation APFS. The individual had the minimum of five years experience in the industry so applied and received the Chartered Financial Planner title, allowing them to promote their high standard of expertise to their clients and reflect that in their fees.

Example timetable for exams

Year 1 - February
Exam sitting available all year
Year 1 - April
AF3 and J05
Both exams complement each other
Year 1 - August
Exam sitting available all year and integrates nicely into your AF4 studies
Year 1 - October
Year 2 - April
AF2 and J03
Both exams complement each other
Year 2 - October

This is a very challenging timetable to becoming a Chartered Financial Planner in a short time frame.

How Wizard Learning can help
The Wizard Learning Training modules listed below are available to support the above example. See here for our full list of training modules available.

The cost of these modules are detailed on our cost and contents page.

Importance of effective CPD
Our accredited CPD system allows you to maintain your core diploma knowledge. For advisers that have taken the specialist J subjects and want to maintain that knowledge we can on request include ongoing access to the training modules that we have available. For more details please contact us quoting your username of you have already registered, if you are not already registered you can do so here.

It is a regulatory requirement for financial advisers to retain their diploma knowledge and our accredited CPD system allows you to do this by identifying diploma knowledge gaps AND providing full diploma level online courses to fill these gaps.

Even if you are not planning on taking further exams right away then maintaining good diploma knowledge is vital to satisfy the regulatory requirements. In addition keeping exam level diploma knowledge makes studying for Chartered so much easier.

The advanced diploma exams are based on the knowledge from the diploma exams so in theory, there should be nothing new in the exam if you have passed the relevant diploma exams and maintained that knowledge through effective CPD. There is therefore no additional study text for the advanced diploma exams, just additional support by way of case studies and practice questions. Our accredited CPD system is designed to enable you to maintain diploma knowledge at a low monthly fee.

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