Nearly 1 million free-resource-downloads and-counting
R04 Exam: Pensions and Retirement Planning

R04 Exam: Pensions and Retirement Planning

What to expect from the R04 exam

The Chartered Insurance Institute R04 exam  covers pensions and retirement planning at level 4 and is a compulsory step towards achieving the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. Upon successful completion of the unit, candidates are expected to demonstrate sound knowledge of a wide range of pension and retirement planning issues, and to be able to analyse those issues within the context of specific case studies. For example, candidates may be asked to answer questions relating to withdrawing benefits from a personal pension scheme, annual allowance charges and lifestyle investment techniques.

The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions inclusive of 11 multi-response questions. Most of the questions are worded in the style of a typical client scenario this can be more time consuming to read and digest and can often make the question appear harder than it actually is.

Top Tips

Practise the pension calculations and practise using the mock papers to test your knowledge and familiarise yourself with the style of the questions.


  • Pension planning in relation to political, economic and social environment factors
  • Pension planning in relation to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tax regime
  • Applicable pensions law and regulations
  • How an individual’s pension planning is affected by state schemes and benefits
  • Defined contribution and defined benefit pension schemes
  • When to draw pension benefits and relevant considerations
  • Investment issues relevant to retirement planning

Exam Components

The R04 Exam is worth 10 CII credits towards the Diploma of Regulated Financial Planning. It is an online exam and must be completed within 1 hour . The nominal pass mark is 65%. Upon completion candidates receive an immediate notification of the result. A formal letter confirming the result is then sent within seven working days.


Brand Financial Training can help you prepare for and pass your R04 Exam. Our Mock Exam Papers include 3 complete sets of 50 questions in the style of the CII’s questions (but not duplicates of the CII mock papers). Another useful training aid for this exam is the Calculation Workbook, which includes over 85 pages of calculation questions and answers which cross-reference the CII study text. Brand Financial Training’s R04 Exam Study Notes are a condensed, focused version of the CII study text. For your convenience, all learning resources are provided electronically in PDF format, allowing you to print them out and complete them at your leisure. They also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Information in this article is correct as at November 2020