By Editorial Team | 3 March 2017

The CII recently announced a new qualification aimed at advisers wishing to become qualified in the pensions transfers market. This new level 4 qualification will be called the Certificate in Pension Transfers and aims to develop the in-depth knowledge and practical skills of anyone wishing to advise on the transfer of 'safeguarded benefits'.

So, what are safeguarded benefits?

These are defined benefit (DB) pension rights that a member is considering transferring, usually because they have left service. As members of these schemes cannot access the pension freedoms introduced from 2015, the industry has seen a rise in demand for CETVs and possible transfers. The government has introduced new safeguards to protect members considering this option. There is also a need for advisers to attain greater knowledge and skills in this market area to be able to guide clients with such decisions.

What does the new Certificate entail?

It is made up of one new level 6 qualification: AF7 Pension Transfers and three existing level 4 qualifications: R01 Financial Services, Regulation & Ethics, R02 Investment & Risk and R04 Pensions and Retirement Planning. Anyone that has experienced the three level 4 qualifications will know already that these present quite a challenge before a student even gets to the level 6 paper! Pass-rates for the three R0 papers in 2016 were 57.01%, 57.92% and 54.07% respectively.

How do BTS plan to support the Certificate in Pension Transfers?

BTS have designed their own versions of the CII study guides for R01, 2 and 4. BTS guides are designed in a learner-centric way that start from the bottom knowledge wise and gradually move the learner up stage by stage. All the guides include lots of visuals, exercises and exam style questions to give students the best chance of obtaining a first time exam pass.

In terms of the new level 6 paper BTS plan to develop support material as we have done with all the R0 papers. We also plan to sit this new exam ourselves so we can experience first-hand the level of knowledge required for an exam pass. We can then pass our expertise onto you...

You can find all the R0 study guide options on our website at You will also be able to access lots of feedback on the BTS guides and see what existing students that have already used them think. Please get in touch if you need any further information or guidance.