Nearly 1 million free-resource-downloads and-counting
Winner, Best Training Resources for Paraplanners 2019
Many Routes to Chartered

Many Routes to Chartered

Are you working towards Chartered Financial Planner status?  Are you wondering where to start? Here, we explore the many options available to a person who has achieved her Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning and wants to gain Chartered status.

This post was first published on Money Marketing.   

In CII-speak, to meet the qualifications requirement you will need 290 credits. A minimum of 120 must be at Advanced Diploma level, 40 at Diploma level or above, with the remaining credits at any level.  But what does that really mean?

Let’s take a look at Katy.  She has achieved the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning by sitting R01-6 which provide 100 credits.  She hasn’t sat any other exams and so will need an additional 190 credits to gain the 290 required.

What are her options?  There are many!

Advanced Diploma Level – 120 Credits

As a minimum of 120 credits must be at Advanced Diploma level (to achieved the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning qualification), Katy must sit at least four AF units.  Her options are:

  • AF1 Personal tax and trust planning – 30 credits
  • AF2 Business financial planning – 30 credits
  • AF4 Investment planning – 30 credits
  • AF5 Financial planning process (this unit is compulsory) – 30 credits
  • AF6 Senior management and supervision- 30 credits
  • AF7 Pension Transfers – 20 credits
  • AF8 Retirement income planning – coursework-based and offering 30 credits

Katy’s main area of interest is Pensions, so she looks at AF7 and AF8.  She is concerned that AF7 only offers 20 credits so if she opted for AF7 she would need to gain an additional AF unit to achieve the minimum 120 credits required.  After much thought she decides that she’ll rule out AF7 for now, and perhaps sit it at a later date.  Although AF8 is coursework-based rather than an exam, she is keen to try it.

After some consideration, she opts for:

  • AF1 Personal tax and trust planning – 30 credits
  • AF4 Investment planning – 30 credits
  • AF5 Financial planning process – 30 credits
  • AF8 Retirement income planning – 30 credits

This will give her the required 120 credits at Advanced Diploma level.

Are you working towards Chartered Financial Planner status? Are you wondering where to start? Here, we take a look at the many options available. Click To Tweet


Diploma Level Credits

Katy has already gained credits for her R0 exams at this level, but she is keen to sit other Diploma Level exams that will be of use to her in her career.  She finds that there are a wide variety of options open to her.  She now has available to her:

  • J02 Trusts – 20 credits
  • J03 The tax and legal aspects of business – 20 credits
  • J05 Pension income options – 20 credits
  • J07 Supervision in a regulated environment – 20 credits
  • J10 Discretionary investment management – 20 credits
  • J11 Wrap and platform services – 20 credits [Edited 15 Aug 19: Note this unit is being withdrawn after the April 2020 exam sitting.]
  • J12 Securities advice and dealing – 20 credits
  • J09 Paraplanning – coursework-based and 30 credits
  • R07 Advanced mortgage advice – 15 credits

Given the number of options available, Katy decides it is wise to sit Diploma level units that best match with the Advanced Diploma AF1, AF4, AF5 and AF8 units she has chosen.  Therefore, she chooses:

  • J02 Trusts which fits in nicely with AF1 Personal tax and trust planning
  • J05 Pension income options which fits in nicely with AF9 Retirement Income Planning and her interest in pensions
  • J10 which fits in nicely with AF4 Investment planning

J02, J05 and J10 provide 60 credits in total. 

Award and Certificate Level

Katy needs to find a remaining 10 credits and decides to take a look at the wide variety of Award and Certificate level units on offer and decides to choose one which best suits her interests and career plans.  She opts for CF8 Long Term Care Insurance as she feels this may be of most use to her in the future.  This provides 15 credits.

‘Easiest’ or ‘Most Relevant’ Route?

You can see from the large number of units available at all levels that there are many different routes that can be taken to achieve Chartered.  This can make it very confusing, but on the other hand it does allow you to tailor the units you take to the areas you are most interested in.

Some individuals opt for the ‘easiest’ route where similar units are taken together focussing on gaining the minimum credits required at each level (such as AF7, AF8, R04 and J05).  Others opt for the most ‘relevant’ route depending on their current specialisms and any future plans.


One factor that may affect your choices is when the exam units can be sat.  AF exam sittings and most J exam sittings are only twice a year in April and October.  This results in a significant delay if a candidate doesn’t pass an exam and has to wait an additional 6 months for a re-sit.  However, there is always the option of sitting a year-round exam in-between (such as CF8 or J12).

Some candidates sit similar units at the same time to keep the length of time taken to get to Chartered to a minimum and to focus on one subject area with the maximum amount of possible credits.  For example, AF1 and J02, or AF4 and J10.

Of course, if you opt for a coursework-based unit such as AF8, then you can fit this around exam-based units.


The route that each individual takes to Chartered is personal to them, but the amount of time required for studying and the overall timescales involved in passing all the units must be considered.  It’s a big undertaking, but is arguably worth it to stay on top of the game.