It was all going so well…

I’d finished my banana loaf (yes – the bit I’d had in the cafe and at my desk – yum, yum); question one was fine (slow thinking required to get all the ducks in order and calculations all set out, no catching me with straddling tax bands, even though the straddling PIP wasn’t there); question 2 was good – a nice place to start, I thought. Then question 3.

Where the hell did that come from.
I’ve said this often and I’ll repeat it here:
There is nothing conceptually or intellectually difficult about AE. It’s a process and a procedure. It’s payroll pensions. It works and is designed for those who don’t need or want specialist pension advice.

But, that one caught me off guard. In a year of the greatest changes in pension legislation since 1590 and they hit us with more than double the marks on AE, than on the biggest changes ever in pensions history. That was disappointing, to say the least.

I know the CII have to test the syllabus and AE is a big part of pensions in the UK. Got that.
Not all students of the AF3 exam work on AE, but I suppose a lot of candidates will never transfer a DB pension either? Maybe.
Lesson learnt for me: note to self, cover Module 8 (at least for an hour).

Was it disproportionate in marks?

37 marks:
The first 8 were for factors to take into account in recommending a solution; was that a ‘factors’ question? Generic pensions knowledge on how/why/when/where/who to choose a pension?
The question on the benefits of postponement; did you pick up some whaffley bits from the case study on more time to consider options, work out the right decision, save on contibutions, pick the right scheme?
Benefits of salary sacrifice to the company? Saving costs on NIC? Basing contributions on post-salary sacrificed earnings?

Did we scrape 10 marks? Maybe 15?
I’m no AE expert, but it looks like I’ll be brushing up on this for next April’s AF3 exam.

In reckon the other 20 (ish) relied on knowledge of AE (about 10-15% of 160)? Maybe not as bad as I thought when I turned over the page?? I hope so. I hope so, not for me. I hope that you were able to scrape a few precious marks to pull you across the line.

If you’ve done well on Q1 and well on Q2 then, hopefully, Q3 isn’t going to be the ‘killer’. I dearly hope so, after me telling you to burn module 8. That wasn’t my best ever webinar.

But, here’s the thing, if everyone else was as unprepared for the AE Q3 AND weren’t as well prepared for Q1 and Q2 as us, the pass mark is likely to be lower than 88? Maybe?
And remember the UFPLS calculation is marked on method, not on the final answer.
As long as some method is there we’ll be all picking up points from the big question?

I’m positive. I’ve seen the bright side (I think).
I’m sure we’re as prepared as anybody sitting that exam and I’m sure we’re all still in with a shout.

What have you scored if the pass mark (from the 160 marks in the exam) was 80?
Who knows. But, I hope your exam gods are with you right through to the 11 December.

Anybody going for a beer tonight – then stick one on the tab from me.
It is a privilege and a pleasure. I feel personally responsible for every result and only wish the best for you.

Enjoy that beer and all the best for now.