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A Closer Inspection: The April 2015 CII J11 Exam

A Closer Inspection: The April 2015 CII J11 Exam

In this article, we take a closer look at the questions that were asked of candidates in the April 2015 CII J11 exam. If you plan to sit the J11 exam in October, this will help you in your preparation for exam day.

J11 is a relatively new CII exam and it’s been interesting looking at the exam papers since it was launched to see how different they are. At times there seems to be very little difference.

You can find the latest exam – April 2015 – here:

http://www.cii.co.uk/media/5973063/j11_april_2015_qp.pdf

A Straightforward Paper

It seems, on first glance, quite a straightforward paper. The first question offered 10 marks for identifying the main stages in the financial advice process where a wrap-style platform would help an adviser. This was followed by 6 benefits to a provider of launching a D2C platform. Then 9 marks for explaining the difference between bundled, clean and super clean share classes – everyone should have scored 9 for that one.   The last question in Section A tends to be on workplace platforms and in this exam, 8 marks were offered for listing the main platform tools for a workplace pension platform. Section B questions are more case study like questions and involve more detail, but even these should not have posed too many difficulties for the well prepared student; the key functions of a cash account for both client and adviser were required, the income and withdrawal options for different products and their tax treatments and finally due diligence and regulatory and operational risk. All in all it doesn’t seem like a bad paper.

A Comparison to Previous Papers

Comparing this to the previous October paper – which can be found here:

http://www.cii.co.uk/media/5620874/j11_october_2014_qp.pdf

Question 1 asks for an explanation of the actions an advisory only provider is likely to take if an existing client severs the relationship with their current adviser – 8 marks for that. Question 2 involved segmentation and gave another 8 marks. Question 3 asked for the 5 key elements of the money processing requirements and offered 10 marks. The rest of Section A followed a similar pattern and asked for the 6 main stages in the financial planning process which could be supported by platform tools and the last question involved the functions that an employee could carry out on a workplace platform.

Moving on to Section B; there were 18 marks for listing the pros and cons of using a single platform instead of multiple platforms as well as the main administration benefits of using platforms compared with directly held investments and the last question was around regulation and data protection.

We’ve also had a look at the papers from 2013 and the first ever exam paper in October 2012. They all follow a similar pattern and should be an essential part of a student’s revision plan. The October 2012 gave some interesting feedback for future students; the usual remark with any written paper is that not enough technical information is given but the more surprising comment is that candidates repeated their answers ‘often more than twice, in the same question’. It points out that if the question asks for 10 factors it should be assumed that these are ‘10 different factors’!

Examiners’ Comments

The comments in April 2013 said that the answers given showed much improvement as did the October 2013 paper with the comment that whilst the study text is the main source of learning material candidates should also keep up to date with any developments in the platform market. They also gave some useful information for future candidates; that they should be aware of the difference between features and benefits as well as the depth of understanding needed around the subject to answer Section B questions where there are big marks at stake and finally the importance of revising across all syllabus areas, particularly those not directly related to advice-related issues.

The pass rate in 2013 for J11 was 66.53% which dropped in 2014 to 56.19%. It will be interesting to see how the 2015 figures look when they come out.

Grab the resources you need!

If you’re studying for your CII J11 exam, and you’re concerned about the outcome, grab our free taster to try out one of Brand Financial Training’s mock exam papers for yourself.  Click the link to download the J11 mock exam taster now!

Grab our taster mock exam paper for CII J11Click here to download.

Over to You…

Do you plan to sit the J11 exam in October? How do you think you’ll do?