R01 Financial Services, regulation and ethics banner

R01 Financial services, regulation and ethics

Financial services, regulations and ethics is a core unit for the CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. For many candidates, this is the first exam that they attempt in their Diploma journey.

This unit requires candidates to demonstrate a broad understanding of the financial services industry, with a focus on regulation, legislation, and the Code of Ethics.

The R01 exam is two hours long and there are 100 questions to answer. There are 87 standard multiple-choice questions and 13 multi-response questions.

Exam format: 2-hour multiple choice exam

Exam Recommended Study Hours Credits Nominal pass mark
R01 60 hours 20 65%
Exam R01
Recommended Study Hours 60 hours
Credits 20
Nominal pass mark 65%

What are the challenges with the R01 unit?

The R01 paper requires candidates to have a broad understanding of financial services, regulation, and ethics. It is this breadth of understanding that can make it a tricky paper to crack. Whilst not the most exciting title, this exam should not be underestimated. National pass rates in 2020 were 69%. So around one third of candidates that sit the R01 paper don’t pass.

The feedback BTS regularly receive from candidates who have attempted the R01 paper and not achieved a pass (before they come to us) includes:

– The exam was a lot harder than they were expecting.

– The questions they had practised on in the lead-up to their exam were easier and not as wordy, convoluted or confusing as their exam experience.

– Areas were examined that were not covered in the study guide or other materials (and yes, there is a long reading list suggested by the CII as well!).

So how can BTS help candidates?

BTS R01 Study Toolkit

To help you to build your R01 study plan and make it more likely that you will pass first time, we have put together a range of study and training options in our BTS R01 Study Toolkit.Β  Toolkits contain several options, to suit different candidate needs and preferences. These include printed and digital resources, e-Learning modules, workshops, and practice question banks.

R01 to R05 BTS Toolkits all follow the same approach – the STEP model. BTS have found over the years that this leads to the best exam results for candidates. This approach, and the options within our BTS Toolkits, have been tried and tested by thousands of learners over our long history of providing regulated exam support. As a result, BTS have a first-class market reputation for R0 support.

Candidates using the BTS STEP approach to prepare for the R01 exam currently achieve close to a 100% first-time pass rate.

Our mission is clear:


The BTS R01 study guide takes some reading – it’s not a shortened version. It will however equip you with the base knowledge required for the exam. It is a complete replacement for the examining body textbook. One of the main differences with the BTS version is that it brings the subject matter to life as much as is possible! It is packed full of exam-relevant content and questions, with a thread of BTS humour weaved throughout as well.


BTS R01 training is second to none. With a subject as potentially dry as R01, you need all the help going. BTS Associate facilitators are skilled at bringing key subjects to life through examples, visuals and exam-style practice questions. They will paint pictures to try and embed some pretty dull concepts into your grey cells.  All this lovely R01 knowledge must be fully understood as the exam questions will expect you to be able to apply that understanding. 

group of people sat down with a trainer facilitating in the foreground

Click here to access the current schedule of R01 support workshops


BTS e-Learning is ideal for individuals who learn best using visual, online and interactive tools. It allows you to work through your R01 studies at your own pace, with the BTS team behind you all the way. The BTS R01 e-Learning module covers the most heavily-weighted R01 learning outcomes. You can dip in and out of the e-Learning as and when you have some study time. As with all BTS STEP options it brings some dull subjects to life.

  • R01 Financial services, regulation and ethics e-Learning Module


The BTS R0 Study Buddy app replicates the CII exam standard as closely as possible. There are two volumes of R01 questions available for purchase – each giving you 400 questions to practice on. BTS designers sit the R01 exam every year, and train thousands of students. All this experience is packed into our App questions. The exam itself will still feel a bit harder, after all you are in an exam with all those associated nerves. But other than sitting the exam for you we cannot do any more in terms of the quality and standard of our questions.

A photograph of a tablet on a desk with the study buddy app on the screen

Find out more about how the Study Buddy app can help you and how to purchase it on your device

What sort of feedback do BTS receive on our R01 support?

"I found the BTS R01 Workshop very helpful, especially as it made R01 clearer by laying it out in a visual way which helped me to remember key information. The workshop was beneficial to me before taking my exam as the instructor gave important exam tips on how to tackle the hard questions and not be overwhelmed by the exam style. Many thanks again!"

Rebecca Whitehead | Personal Assistant | January 2021

"Thank you for the brilliant workshop BTS. It’s was so useful and I definitely feel I know more than before. I highly recommend the workshop for the R0s and definitely will be using it for the rest of the R0s."

Tasneem Mahmood | Trainee Adviser | March 2021

"I am a financial adviser with Reflect Financial, based in Liverpool. For my R01 exam, I used the BTS study guide, and took part in workshops with Luiza from BTS. The study guide was easy to read, with information presented in a more natural way than I was used to with CII materials. There were illustrations, and examples, that made the information easier to take in. The topics in R01 are very difficult to learn as there are a lot of facts and regulations making up the syllabus. The BTS workshops really helped me know where to focus my learning and what level of detail I needed for each section. Luiza made the workshops entertaining, and much more interesting than you might expect the subject matter to be. We had a good laugh, but also really went through the subjects and made sure that we understood the key points on each. I used the example questions in the study guide and also the BTS study buddy to practise exam style questions. When it came to the exam I felt confident, and I felt that I could cope with the style of question I faced, the workshops and support materials form BTS had prepared me for what to expect. I achieved a pass first time with an excellent mark. I would definitely recommend BTS workshops and support materials for anyone doing R01."

Adam Marsden | Financial Adviser | December 2020

"I first encountered BTS when I was about to sit my R01 exam. I was fresh to financial services and every bit of knowledge I was learning was brand new. I found the BTS study guide easy to understand and digestible. As I worked through the guide, my knowledge increased. BTS hosted my training session and made the learning experience fun and used visual techniques and tons of examples to explain the theory and cement my understanding. I felt so much more confident walking out of the session then when I had walked in, and a week later I passed my R01 exam first time. As I progressed through my R0 exams, I came to rely on the BTS method and got through all of my R0 exams in just a few months. BTS make learning fun, accessible and they have a canny knack of honing in on the most important information you need. Thank you for all your support Team."

Caroline King | December 2020

BTS R01 Learner Journeys

Click on the profiles below to find out how recent BTS candidates achieved their R01 success:

Insights, help and advice for R01

Below, you will find a range of recent articles providing insights, help and advice for this R0, we hope you find these useful. Remember if you have any questions on your journey feel free to get in touch with the BTS support team.

How to pass R01

How to pass the CII R01: Exam Standard Questions

What is the best way to use specimen exam questions in your R0 study plan? Following on from our previous article, How to Pass the …

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How to pass the CII R01: What makes R01 such a tricky exam?

What makes the R01 Financial services, regulation and ethics a tricky exam? For many candidates, this is the first exam that they attempt in the …

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Financial Planner Life Podcast What is the best order to sit the CII Ro exam?

What is the best order to sit the CII R0 exams in?

BTS Director, Luiza joined Sam from the Financial Planner Life Podcast to discuss the popular question – What is the best order to sit the …

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PSI remote exam podcast

What should candidates know about the PSI remote invigilated CII exams? BTS talks to the Financial Planner Life Podcast

BTS are delighted to share that we have been working on an exciting new collaborative project with Financial Planner Life, producers of the popular Financial …

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R01 e-Learning

How BTS e-Learning can help you achieve an R01 pass

There’s no getting away from it, the R01 financial services, regulation and ethics unit isn’t the most exciting! This is one of the reasons some …

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