Not logged in?
Login / create an account to access free content on the Careers Zone.


The CII Route to Chartered

Achieving Chartered status will be challenging, exciting and rewarding

To complete the Advanced Diploma, candidates must already hold either the CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning or the Diploma in Financial Planning. The Advanced Diploma is made up of a selection of units totalling 290 credits. Candidates must sit one mandatory unit, the AF5 Financial planning process (30 credits). The remaining credits can be made up of a combination of units.

A total of 120 credits must be at level 6, taken from the AF exams (including the AF5), a further 40 credits must be at level 4 or above (the J0 and R0 exams), and the remaining 130 credits can come from any unit except LF1. The CII Qualifications Framework shows the full range of CII units, their level and credit value: personal-finance-qualifications-framework.pdf (

The CII Route to Chartered Status

What do I need for Chartered status?

In order to achieve Chartered Status with the CII you will need to: 

·    Hold the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning

·    Have five years’ relevant industry experience

·    Be a CII or PFS member and adhere to the CII’s Code of Ethics and Conduct

·    Demonstrate three years’ existing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and commit to maintaining this activity

What exams can I choose from?

The current Advanced Diploma units are:

·    AF1 – Personal taxation & trusts planning

·    AF2 – Business financial planning

·    AF4 – Investment planning

·    AF5 – Financial planning process

·    AF6 – Senior management and supervision

·    AF7 – Pension transfers

·    AF8 – Retirement income planning

Let’s assume you have done all your R0 papers as part of that combination and have at least 100 credits under your belt!  Now, this means you have to achieve 190 credit shortfall with 120 of these credits coming from your Level 6 AF exams.

Subject Specialist AF(120) Any(50
Pensions AF8 & AF7 50 J05 (20)
Investments AF4 30 J10(20) or J12 (20)
Tax AF1 30 J02(20)
+AF5(compulsory) 30  
Total 140 60
The CII Route to Chartered
The CII Route to Chartered

What are the challenges I might face?

AF7 is a bit of a tricky beast but with R04 in the bag then J05 (Pension Income Options) could be your next best bet! Unit AF7 forms the Level 6 Award in Regulated Pension Transfer Advice.

This qualification, or unit AF7 taken and passed prior to 1st September 2021, when combined with an FCA approved RDR compliant qualification (such as our Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning), meets the current FCA requirement.

Within AF4 there is cross-over with J10 and R02 and will cover asset classes, investment advice, portfolio construction, investment ratios and analysis, and investment performance and reviews.

J12 is another investment exam so again a good choice to maximise your credits. Note: The dealing, settlement, and clearing chapters are of course only relevant to the J12 module, but much of the rest of the syllabus is covered elsewhere, so if you have already completed R02, J10 and AF1, then J12 would be a great next choice!

With the AF1 syllabus you will find crossover from R03 and J02. The exam tests various aspects of the different taxes and will always include technical knowledge around trusts and/or the taxation of the different trusts.   

Don’t be fooled into thinking the AF8 coursework exam is an ‘easy’ option – it’s not! You have to submit each assignment within a maximum timescale –

Assignment 1 within 3 months of enrolment, Assignment 2 within 6 months and Assignment 3 within 9 months. AF8 is assessed on submission of 3 written coursework assignments, the first two must be 2,500 words and the third 3,000 words. 

AF5 is mandatory and it’s an exam that focusses on the advice process, so is similar to the level 4 R06 exam, but AF5 asks questions relating to one fact find rather than two shorter case studies. To pass AF5, you’ll need to demonstrate detailed analysis and critical evaluation skills.

Each journey is unique

Each journey to Chartered is a path which only you can tailor and adapt to suit your career goals, your time and your ambition. That’s why, we support and guide our students to devise various strategies and to plan ahead so that you are able to conquer the CII exam journey to Chartered and chalk out your journey accordingly. 



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

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.

Chat with other Higher Diploma candidates in the dedicated BTS AF1, AF4, AF5, AF7 and AF8 online forum rooms to help keep up to date , find out any new information and gain help and advise from others.

Read another insightful article on ‘The CII Level 6, Advanced Diploma Exam Pass Rates’ to find out more about information about the Higher Diploma AF Exams.   

To view Careers Zone Content, Please sign in or Register

Sign in to Careers Zone

Register for Careers Zone