We have published this information previously, but having received a number of questions regarding which exam is right for you we thought it was worth highlighting a few points again to help you make the right choice.

Appropriate Qualifications…but which one?

Our business is pensions; technical pension consultancy and competence in pensions – through CPD and/or appropriate qualifications. That’s what we do at expert pensions.

We help people understand what the right pension qualifications for them are and how to go about passing them, as well as helping those qualified to maintain, develop and demonstrate their competence.

John wrote an article awhile back about ‘appropriate qualifications’ for those who wanted to be competent pension transfer specialists. Right now, this is a ‘hot topic’ and we suspect will be a hot topic for a while yet. So, it’s important to understand what is the ‘’right’’ option for you, for your team and for your business.

The FCA has proposed changes concerning the Training & Competence sourcebook list of appropriate qualifications and the new qualifications and amendments to TC Appendix 4 2.4 proposing the adding of more appropriate qualification options, for activity 11 (pension transfers).

There are now several different ways to obtain the appropriate qualification for activity 11 (pension transfers) and each of the main examination bodies (who also provide SPS certificates) have their own route to being ‘appropriately qualified’ – and they are not all equal, or are examined in the same way and it’s worth understanding how each work and the very important subtle differences: they are not all equal in the eyes of the FCA.

Let’s go through each of the three main options for financial advisers

1. CII AF7 Pension Transfers exam

Not a standalone appropriate qualification and cannot be used by any CF30 adviser: this ‘appropriate qualification’ can ONLY be used in conjunction with CII R01, 2 and 4 OR with CII Diploma.

Therefore, that stops all those advisers from a different background from the CII – you cannot mix and match your qualifications. You cannot use an IFS/LIBF diploma with the AF7 exam qualification on its own…


The LIBF PETR (award in Pension Transfers) is now a twice-yearly exam, where 50% of the marks are based on a case study sent out 6 WEEKS BEFORE the exam. It is a 3 hour written exam, focused on a case study and critical evaluation of a pension transfer case study.

This is Not a standalone appropriate qualification and cannot be used by any CF30 adviser: this ‘appropriate qualification’ can ONLY be used in conjunction with LIBF DipFA RDR compliant Diploma.

Our LIBF PETR exam support is in place for purchase on our website. We have 2 options available for the December 2018 exam:

Option 1: Case study analysis

Option 2: Case study analysis and 3-Day workshop


There is also the Pension Transfer and Pension Advice (PTPA) exam from the CISI – which is a 3 hour exam made-up of MCQs, short technical questions and case study questions, offered twice a year.

This is a standalone ‘’appropriate’’ exam qualification. You are appropriately qualified for activity 11, with ANY RDR compliant diploma. That gives you maximum flexibility and portability.

As you can see there are now a number of different options to become appropriately qualified as a Pension Transfer Specialist. They each have their merits and there is a choice for all advisers – depending on your current RDR compliant diploma and/or your preferred learning styles.

Get in touch with us anytime if you would like help with the maze of study options, to work out which one could suit you best and whatever route you choose…good luck.