Two key themes this year in the world of learning at EP:
1. Think exam smart for chartered status
2. Critical thinking

1. How to get 70 credits for the price of 30?
Right now, today, 3 January 2017, it appears (pending the CII having a good look at this in due course once the AF7 gets the ‘go-ahead’ from the FCA), that you can have 30 AF3 credits and add another 40 from AF7 & AF8 credits to your tally for Chartered status?

Is it possible to have 30 from AF3 and then 20 from AF7 and another 20 from AF8?
Is that really possible? To have 100 credits in pensions, from 120 required?

I wonder? Maybe it will be? it certainly looks like it right now, based on conversations with the CII.
Watch this space.

Then when you add in the possibilities of ‘’double-bubble’’ with J05 and the R08 exam (for another 30 credits), being a pension specialist begins to make sense and pay Chartered dividends.

One thing is for sure: it won’t do any harm to have had AF3 and add the AF7 to your portfolio.

The rules for firms applying for Chartered status also change in 2017 and I quote from the CII brochure:
‘’New fixed criteria relating to qualified staff: minimum of 25% of advisers to personally hold Chartered Financial Planner status by 1 July 2017….Increasing to 50% from 1 January 2020 (or at next renewal after these dates in the case of existing Chartered firms): Applies only to Chartered Financial Planners status

This is going to be a challenge for some firms – so think smart about your people are going to get there. And it’s worth having. I don’t think the FCA will ever say you need to be Chartered, but your clients might?

See more here

BTW – just finishing on the subject of smart exams, add in the ‘double-bubble’ combo of AF4 and PCIAM and you can become a pension and investment expert and get 130 credits for studying two subjects and we haven’t even counted AF5?

Want to get to chartered?
Want to help keep or get your firm Chartered?
Think smart about the exams you are doing in 2017.

2. Critical thinking.
Why do you think the CII is going to give you 20 credits for AF7 AND 30 credits for AF3?
I’ll tell you why: the exam is going to be different. The success criteria is going to be different.

It might be the same pension transfer syllabus, but the expectations of good, will be different.

It’s going to be about the skills and knowledge needed to critically evaluate a pension transfer scenario within a client case study.
It is NOT going to be is easy.

I think it’s going to be a tricky wee exam requiring you to be good at critical thinking and communicating the full analysis in writing, in an exam situation, within the 2hrs time allowed.

That is not going to be easy – just ask those who thought the iFS AwPETR exam was an easy option?

We’re going to be talking a LOT about critical thinking and critical evaluation over the coming weeks and months throughout 2017.
Critical thinking is a key theme for pension transfer specialists in 2017.

Think smart about how you are going to achieve your goals in 2017.

Think smart, study smart and play to your strengths.

Happy New Year and all the very best for 2017.
The EP team.