What is AF8?

From April 2018 The CII’s level 6 pension exam, AF3 Pension Planning, was superseded by AF7 Pension Transfers and AF8 Retirement Income Planning.  Approximately 67% of advice given is related to pensions work. It’s a key advice area.  Expert pensions have been providing comprehensive support for ‘’pensions’’ exams since 2010 and we’re now doing the same for the CII AF8 coursework – only bigger and better!

According to the official syllabus, the singular learning outcome for AF8 is for candidates to be able to advise clients on income planning approaching and during retirement, including later life.

With concepts such as financial objectives, estate planning, taxation, cash flow modelling, risk profiling, asset allocation, vulnerable clients, and investment risk all featuring in the syllabus. It’s fair to conclude that this (very much like the AF7 exam), is not just a technicians’ technical qualification, but is a practical, pragmatic assessment of the ability to provide sound retirement income planning advice. In particular, the coursework structure allows for critical analysis of the subject matter being tested AND requires the ability to give sound recommendations.

How can we help?

We provide an online resource to assist with the construction of your AF8 assignments.  By reviewing our resources and on the back of our students feedback we have been busy designing additional support specifically structured around assignment 3. We are in the process of recording a series of mini case study videos where we walk through the structure you need, the recommendations to consider and how you document these within a report. We have added our ISA recommendation ‘mini’ series to our structured study plan and we are recording 2 additional series to walk through a Pension recommendation and an Investment Bond recommendation. We cannot guide you on the specific case study but we can give you the tools and recipe you need to be able to create it yourself.

Top Tips

Some very generic points to consider when completing your AF8 exam assignment is that marks tend to be lost predominantly in ‘application and analysis’.  The key to Level 6 exams such as AF8 is ensuring that essays are not descriptive, but rather they critically analyse the clients’ situation and objectives in making recommendations. The table below gives a few pointers on what would be considered descriptive rather than critical writing.


Descriptive Writing Critically analytical Writing
States what happened Identifies the significance
Says how to do something Argues a case according to evidence
Gives the story so far Weighs one piece of information against another
Notes the method used Indicates whether something is appropriate or suitable
Explains how something works Indicates why something will work (best)
Says when something occurred Identifies why the timing is important
Lists in any order Structures information in order (e.g. of importance)
States links between items Shows the relevance of links between pieces of information
Gives information Draws conclusions

Join us to study for success

We collaborate with our customers because their opinions and feedback help us to adjust our resources and shape our courses to deliver the right content.  By reviewing our resources and on the back of our students feedback we have been busy designing additional support specifically structured around assignment 3.

Click here to view our AF8 study resource and free trial