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CII Exams – Major Changes and How They Affect YOU

CII Exams – Major Changes and How They Affect YOU

UPDATE : 31 January 2018 : Thank you to everyone who stood up to be counted on this issue.  Latest information:

This news may not have reached your radar yet as no big announcement has been made, but from January this year, the way that the CII charges for exams and training resources has significantly changed.  This will impact individuals and business in our sector and in most cases, will dramatically increase the cost of obtaining CII professional qualifications.

Before the change, CII exam entry was generally available to purchase on its own, with study material as an optional paid extra.  The CII is now packaging its own learning resources with exam registration, dramatically increasing the overall cost.  To be clear, it doesn’t matter if you don’t want or indeed don’t need the packaged resources, you have no option but to purchase the package.  You now cannot simply purchase an exam entry on its own.  (Note: On the exam pages on the CII website you will see an option to ‘Book exam or redeem exam voucher’.  The text below it states ‘Book here if you have not yet booked your exam and have a valid exam voucher. You will not be charged. Prices displayed apply to those with a valid enrolment who wish to re-sit the exam’.  ie. this is not for booking an exam separately. You have to have either purchased the package and therefore have a voucher, or be re-sitting. If you try to book an exam this way without buying the package, you will get the message “We are unable to process your order. This exam can only be purchased as part of the study text and exam package. Please return to the unit shop page and select the study text and exam package.”).

The CII is fundamentally your professional body.  Its Royal Charter requires them “to secure and justify the confidence of the public” in the services that you offer and to support the sector.  Indeed the CII themselves state “The CII works hard to maintain public confidence and trust in the financial services market. We believe this will be achieved by creating a genuine global profession where the best interests of the consumer are to the fore, where ongoing learning and expertise are cherished, and where the highest standards of ethical behaviour are embraced” (see Its role as an examination body is not to force additional payments from applicants for materials that they may not want, or to have a monopoly on the provision of learning resources to CII exam candidates.   We believe that the recent changes are a deviation from its charter and undermine its position as your advocate.

We could all just shrug our shoulders, or we can stand up collectively and voice our views on the changes made by our professional body.  Whether you are an individual exam candidate, a learning provider, an advisory firm or other business in financial services, this affects all of us.  Many exam candidates have already contacted us regarding the recent changes at the CII, and we would like to support individuals and businesses with a voice to express their – and our – concern at these recent developments. Brand Financial Training firmly supports CII exam candidates having freedom of choice.

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How can you have your say?

Do share this post, but if there’s just one thing you can do then please consider emailing the CII CEO, Sian Fisher.  This could be from either your own personal account or from your business email, whichever you feel most comfortable with.  The address is Also cc the complaints department

If you do not have much time spare, please do simply copy and paste (and edit if required) the below email:

Subject : Packaging of Exam Entry with Resources

I am writing with regards the decision of the CII to package exam entry with learning resources, thus also increasing the cost.

As a CII exam candidate, I am concerned about the effect this has on my freedom of choice.  Even if I may not want or even need the packaged resources, I now have no option but to purchase the package.

The CII’s Royal Charter “to secure and justify the confidence of the public” by supporting the sector and the services offered by the sector, and the CII’s role as an examination body, is not to force additional payments from applicants for materials that we may not want.   The recent changes seem to be a deviation from the CII’s Charter and undermines its position as the sector’s advocate.

I trust this matter will be taken very seriously and I ask that it is raised with the Board.

I look forward to your response.

Remember – the CII are YOUR professional body.

Footnote: Here at Brand Financial Training we genuinely care about you, our customer, and will continue to act in your best interests.