Posted by The Team at Brand Financial Training on August 10, 2021 in Newsletter
10 August 2021
If you are planning to take any CII exams over the next couple of months, please be aware that the CII are currently testing Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rates based on the temporary rates applicable from 1 July to 30 September 2021. If your exam covers SDLT please ensure you are aware of the following:
The temporary increase to the nil rate band for SDLT has been extended.
Rather than ending on 31 March 2021 as originally stated, a temporary nil rate band of £500,000 was in place until 30 June 2021.
Then from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021, the nil rate band is £250,000.
The nil rate band will return to the standard amount of £125,000 on 1 October 2021.
The temporary increase to LTT in Wales has now ended, with the nil rate band having reverted to £180,000.
We are currently working hard to update our resources for the 2021/22 examinable tax year starting on 1st September, and this temporary change, as well as the rates effective from 1 October 2021, will be included as part of the updates.
The Team at Brand Financial Training
We all need a little diversity
A fund manager needs to know how to reduce the overall risk of their portfolio, even if they are purchasing risky assets. There are two main ways to do this – hedging and diversification. In this article, we will focus on the latter, diversification. You’ll find this information useful if you are studying for any of the CII investment exams R02, AF4, J10, and J12.
If you were to ask your grandmother, she would no doubt advise you not to put all of your eggs in one basket. It’s obvious that it’s going to be less risky holding a number of shareholdings rather than just one. Diversification reduces risk because combining different asset classes or securities reduces the overall risk to less than the average risk of the individual securities – the downside risk of one investment could be offset by the upside risk of another. However, if all the investments held were to move in the same direction at the same time this would not work – for diversification to be effective, you need investments that move in opposite directions to each other.
The degree of diversification depends on a statistical concept called correlation.
Two shares are positively correlated when they broadly move up and down together. They will be affected by similar factors, such as interest rates or consumer demand, and may well be in the same sector.
Two shares are negatively correlated when they tend to move in opposite directions from each other – an umbrella retailer and a suntan lotion manufacturer perhaps?
The returns of some companies or asset classes are not connected in any way to each other.
How would you have fared in Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game?
Written by Lysette Offley
You do remember the Generation Game, don’t you? Started in the early ‘70s… and as kids we loved it, especially the last game where the two families tried to copy an expert in a skill, needing the ability to pay close attention and copy accurately.
One week, there’d be an origami napkin folder; another, a pizza dough spinner; another time, a glass-blower; next a plasterer etc etc.
They were all activities that look easy enough – until you try doing them yourself!!!
I guess that’s why it made such good entertainment. There’s something funny about utter chaos and incompetence in close proximity to the effortless actions of an expert!
But do you remember a time when watching and copying were the only way we learnt anything?
Of course! We were expert copiers in our formative years. Watch any toddler with a toy ‘phone or a teddy bear. How did you learn to tie your shoelaces? By watching and copying and trying over and over again, until you got the hang of it.
In some circumstances, we still use this innate skill. Ever been to the golfing range with a golf coach? Watching, copying and trying time and time again…
So why is it that oftentimes, instead of using our natural ability to physically move as we learn, we metaphorically sit on our hands and still expect to retain what we’re learning?
We offer a range of resources that will help you to feel fully prepared on exam day:
Mock Exam Papers - 3 full sets of 3 multi-part questions and answers including cross references to the relevant CII study text.
Calculation Workbook – Focusing on the calculations within the exam syllabus, the calculation workbook provides calculation questions with full step-by-step answers, detailed explanations and cross-references to the relevant CII study text.
Study Notes – Consider our study notes your condensed and more focussed take on the CII’s exam syllabus and learning outcomes. They put the exam syllabus into a sensible order and come with self-test questions.
Workbook – Looking at key points, this takes you through the legal aspects and taxation of Trusts, as well as looking at life assurance and trusts, this workbook helps aid knowledge retention and understanding with a variety of short exercises.
MP3 Audio Masterclasses – Learn by listening with our MP3 masterclasses. They allow you to absorb and understand the material in digestible chunks. You can listen at home, in the car, at the gym or wherever you may be.
The above resources can be bought as part of a study kit, so you can save 10% off the cost of buying them individually.
Still not sure? Why not try before you buy? Free tasters are available for all of the resources listed above. Just click here to access all our AF1 resource tasters.
R06 and AF5 Exams
Want to get ahead of the game?
If you are planning to take the R06 or AF5 exams in the autumn, you may not get the case study or fact-find until a couple of weeks before the exam, but there is plenty to be getting on with.
Exam technique is so important for these exams, and there is lots you can do to start preparing. We advise you study past CII exam guides and, where available, the CII practice papers. These are all available on the R06 and AF5 homepages on the CII website.
Also, if you pre-order our analysis you will be sent the analysis from the previous exam so you can familiarise yourself with the content and see how we approach the preparation for the exam and how our team of experts analyse the case studies and fact-find.
If that’s not enough, you can also order past analyses from earlier exam sittings to hone your technique!
Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice Discontinued
The CII are discontinuing their certificate in pension transfer advice qualification from 1 September in response to the FCA announcements for pension transfers qualification requirements.
From 1 September, a new level 6 qualification, the Award in Regulated Pension Transfer Advice, will be available.
AF7, the CII pension transfers exam, will now form part of this new qualification. Full details are available on the CII website.
Updates to CII Study Texts
Here’s a reminder that the CII update their study texts throughout the examinable year to either incorporate new legislations, correct errors or clarify information. Many candidates aren’t aware of this, which can result in candidates studying out-of-date information.
To find out if you have the most up-to-date information, visit the CII website, navigate to your chosen exam and click on ‘learning solutions update’ in the ‘Unit updates’ section in the sidebar.
Note that we keep our resources up-to-date with any updates from the CII.
Did You Miss These Posts on Our Blog?
Articles and Help for All Your Exams
You’ll find that there’s something for everyone when you check out our blog:
specific topics and how-to articles;
reviews of recent CII exam papers;
our Friday Five – a weekly quiz to give you a fun break from reading the study text;
study techniques that help you to retain your revision and keep your brain working for you, when you need it
Here are the blog posts you might have missed since our last newsletter:
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