Open for enrolment in July 2017, the new level 4 Certificate in Pension Transfers has four compulsory units, including a new advanced level 6 unit: (AF7) Pension transfers.
Also included are three existing CII level 4 units: (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics, (R02) Investment principles and risk, and (R04) Pensions and retirement planning.
The new certificate will enable advisers and non-advisers seeking to undertake pension transfer work for the first time to become pension transfer specialists.
While the new qualification will be made available to candidates internationally, the exam is primarily focused around pensions transfers within the UK.
AF7, however, will equip financial advisers with the ability to explain key issues relating to pension transfers both into and out of the UK.
CII development director Steve Jenkins said the new certificate develops the in-depth knowledge and practical skills needed by anyone seeking to advise on the transfer of safeguarded benefits, an increasingly important part of the advice process following the government's pension reforms.
“Greater freedom and choice for retirees and tighter controls around who needs to seek advice mean that pension transfers and related advice are now more relevant than ever. It is against this backdrop that we are stepping up our support, with a dedicated pension transfer qualification and exam unit,” he said.
AF3 unit withdrawal
Some 7,000 CII statement of professional standing (SPS) holders are qualified to provide pension transfer advice, holding either withdrawn CII unit (G60) Pensions or current CII unit (AF3) Pension planning.
Following Financial Conduct Authority approval, expected in February, advisers who hold the CII Diploma in Financial Planning, but not G60 or AF3, will simply need to complete AF7 in order to become qualified pension transfer specialists.
AF7 involves 50 fewer learning hours than AF3 given its specific focus on pension transfers.
The CII will also introduce a new level 6 Advanced Diploma unit (AF8) Retirement income planning in October 2017, covering aspects of pension planning not covered in AF7.
Together, the two new units will replace AF3, which will be withdrawn in April 2018.