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Chartered/Fellowship – Let’s cut the confusion!

If you’re just starting out in the industry, you might be curious about the AF exams and whether they should be a cause for concern. On the other hand, if you’ve already obtained your Level 4 diploma and aspire to become a Chartered Financial Planner or achieve Fellowship, things can still be quite perplexing.

Let’s take a moment to unravel what Chartered and Fellowship actually means and explore the path to achieving these titles!

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!

If you’re looking to enter the financial services industry, especially if your goal is to become a Financial Adviser, you’ll typically start by obtaining a QCF Level 4 qualification. One of the most popular choices is the CII’s Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, which requires passing six exams (R01-R06).

Even if your ultimate aim is to become Chartered or achieve Fellowship, it’s common for many individuals to begin by completing this Level 4 Diploma. So, if you’re currently at this stage, there’s no need to worry about the AF exams just yet!

Chartered/Fellowship – Let’s cut the confusion!
CharteredFellowship – Let’s cut the confusion!

What does it mean to be Chartered?

Becoming Chartered signifies that you are surpassing the FCA’s basic criteria and distinguishing yourself from others. Achieving Chartered status requires dedication and effort, placing you among the elite professionals in the financial services sector.

In addition to individual Chartered membership, firms also have the option to apply for Chartered status if at least 50% of their advisors are Chartered.

What does it mean to be a Fellow?

Achieving the status of a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society signifies that you have reached and upheld the highest level of professional excellence.

By using the designatory letters FPFS, Fellows can proudly showcase their accomplishment to both colleagues and clients.

The Advanced Diploma

After obtaining your Level 4 diploma, you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge by pursuing the Advanced Diploma. This will not only enhance your expertise but also enable you to apply for Chartered Financial Planner / Fellowship Status once you have over 5 years industry experience.

To become Chartered, you will need a total of 290 CII Credits. If you aspire to achieve Fellowship, you will need a total of 350 CII Credits.

If you have already completed the Regulated Diploma in Financial Planning, you will have already acquired 100 CII Credits. This means you will need an additional 190 credits for Chartered status and 250 credits for Fellowship.

It is important to note that out of the required credits, 120 must be achieved at Level 6 and AF5 is a mandatory Level 6 requirement.

AF5 Financial Planning Process Level 6 Written Exam 30 CII Credits

After completing AF5, you will require an additional 90 credits at level 6. You have the flexibility to select from the following level 6 exams or coursework options:

AF1 Personal tax and trust planning Level 6 Written Exam 30 CII Credits
AF4 AF4 Investment Planning Level 6 Written Exam 30 CII Credits
AF6 Senior management and supervision Level 6 Coursework – 3 assignments 30 CII Credits
AF7 Pension Transfers Level 6 Written Exam 20 CII Credits
AF8 Retirement Income Planning Level 6 Coursework – 3 assignments 30 CII Credits

Once you have successfully earned 100 credits through your Regulated diploma and an additional 120 credits from your Level 6 exams, you will require 70 more credits to become Chartered and 130 credits to become a fellow. To fulfil these remaining credits, you have the option to select from any of the remaining Level 6 units or from any of the following exams:

Exam Level / Assessment Type: Credits:
J02 – Trusts Exam Level 4 Written Exam 20 CII Credits
J05 – Pension Income Options Level 4 Written Exam 20 CII Credits
J07 – Supervision in a Regulated Environment Level 4 Written Exam 20 CII Credits
J09 – Paraplanning Level 4 Coursework 30 CII Credits
J10 – Discretionary Investment Management Level 4 Multi-Choice 20 CII Credits
J12 – Securities Advice and Dealing Level 4 Multi-Choice 20 CII Credits
R07 – Advanced Mortgage Advice Level 4 Multi-Choice 20 CII Credits
ER1 – Equity Release Level 3 Multi-Choice 15 CII Credits
CF6 – Mortgage Advice Level 3 Multi-Choice 20 CII Credits
CF8 – Long Term Care Level 3 Multi-Choice 15 CII Credits
FA1 – Life Office Administration Level 3 Multi-Choice 10 CII Credits
FA2 – Pensions Administration Level 3 Multi-Choice 10 CII Credits
FA5 – ISAs Administration Level 3 Multi-Choice 10 CII Credits
GR1 – Group Risk Level 3 Multi-Choice 10 CII Credits
LP1 – Life and Pensions Customer Operations Level 3 Multi-Choice 15 CII Credits
LP2 – Financial Services Products and Solutions Level 3 Multi-Choice 20 CII Credits
LP3 – Life and Pensions Principles and Practices Level 3 Multi-Choice 10 CII Credits

Clever Combinations!

Surprisingly, it might actually be beneficial for you to take multiple exams around the same time because of the overlap in their syllabus.

Here are a few combinations that we suggest:

  • AF1 & J02
  • AF4 & J10/J12
  • AF7, AF8 & J05

Let’s go!

Now that you have a clear understanding of the requirements to become Chartered and achieve Fellowship, we suggest creating a well-structured study plan. Take some time to think about which exams align with your interests and would have a positive impact on your daily responsibilities.

You don’t have to sit the exams in any particular order, and this offers a great level of flexibility.

At BTS, we offer support for a wide range of exams from the R0s, J0s, AFs and CFs, so feel free to reach out and find out how we can assist you on your journey towards Chartered/Fellowship!

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

Read our Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning FAQs to find out information such as;

  • How do I enrol for the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning?
  • What are the AF / J0 Exams?
  • What order should you sit the AF / J0 Exams?
  • What is the CII Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning

         and more!

Find out more in depth help and advise to structure your Advanced Diploma AF studies by viewing our AF1, AF4, AF5, AF7 and AF8 Study Plans.

View Our Advanced Diploma AF Exams overview/toolkits to purchase any AF Study support including Study Guides, e-Learning modules, online workshops and study buddy for AF1, AF4, AF5, AF7 and AF8.

Read another insightful article ‘Level 4 to Level 6 – Just how big of a step up are the AF exams’ to find out more about information about the Higher Diploma AF Exams.   

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