Jan 30

Route to Chartered : The FOUR Key Investment Exams

AF4 is the CII’s level 6 investment planning exam. It is a three-hour, case study-based written paper. It builds on the technical knowledge gained from the R02 and J10 diploma exams, and requires a much more in-depth understanding of private client investment planning considerations, and an advanced knowledge of the technical aspects which underpin it. It is a pillar of the CII’s Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning, providing 30 level 6 credits towards Chartered status upon successful completion of the unit. AF4 is examined twice a year; in April and October.

We firmly believe in double-bubbling your credits, so if you’re going to sit AF4, we also recommend you sit R02, J10, and the CISI’s PCIAM exam alongside it. Obviously, this only applies where the qualifications have not already been attained!

I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of R02 and J10 – they’re both diploma-level CII exams, providing 20 level 4 credits apiece towards your Advanced Diploma and Chartered status. What you might not be as familiar with is PCIAM.

The Level 6 Certificate in Private Client Investment Advice and Management (PCIAM, pronounced “P-cam”) is a single-unit qualification offered by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI). Upon successful completion, candidates can apply to the CII for 30 non-specific Level 6 credits. Similar to AF4, PCIAM is a three-hour, investment-focused, level 6 written exam.

At Expert Pensions, we strongly advocate taking AF4 in April/October, followed by the CISI PCIAM exam in June/December. If you have AF4, R02, J10, and PCIAM, this is a total 100 credits towards your qualification goals, including 60 of the 120 you require at Level 6 for your Advanced Diploma and Chartered status.

Exam Provider CII CII CII CISI
Title Investment Principles and Risk Discretionary Investment Management Investment Planning Private Client Investment Advice and Management
RQF Level 4 4 6 6
Subject matter 100% Investment 100% Investment 100% Investment 80% Investment, 20% other financial planning areas
Recommended study hours 60 60 150 200
Pass mark 65% 65% 55% 50%
Exam Length 2 hours 2 hours 3 hours 3 hours
Structure Online multiple choice Online multiple choice Written Written
Availability Year-round Year-round April/October June/December
CII credits awarded 20 (level 4) 20 (level 4) 30 (level 6) 30 (non-specific level 6)
Recent pass rate 62.79% (2017) 86.24% (2017) 48.96% (2017) 57% (June 2018)
Designation N/A CertPFS(DM) N/A MCSI/Chartered MCSI