CISI launches new UK pathway for global Certified Financial Planner licence

By Lora Benson | Mar 04, 2019


A new and improved study pathway has been announced by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) for UK candidates for the world’s leading global financial planning credential, the Certified Financial Planner certification.

The CFPTM certification, considered the standard of excellence in financial planning, is an internationally recognised licence overseen by the Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB) in Denver, USA.  It demonstrates to the consumer that the CFP professional is committed to professionalism and that she or he has met rigorous competence, ethics and professional practice standards to provide comprehensive financial planning services.  At the end of 2018, there were 181,360 CFP professionals worldwide, with organisations delivering or preparing to deliver CFP certification in 26 countries and territories.

The CISI study pathway to CFP certification has been restructured to raise CISI’s Diploma in Financial Planning from Level 6 to Level 7 on the National Qualifications Framework, reflecting the inclusion of specialist knowledge.  These changes will make CISI’s Level 7 Diploma in Advanced Financial Planning the highest level financial planning professional qualification in the UK.

Candidates for CFP certification who have achieved the Level 7 Diploma, along with having completed three years’ relevant experience, take the CISI Integrity Test, are CISI members and log annual CPD are eligible to become a CFPTM certificant.  The CFP™ is an annually renewable licence with CISI in the UK.

Candidates looking to complete the new study pathway to CFP certification will need to meet entry requirements for the new CISI Level 6 Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning examination, which will be followed by a financial plan assessment at Level 7.

The new CISI Level 6 Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning will require 200 study hours, a recommended reading list and a narrative exam with sittings twice a year in March and September.  Entry requirements for this new CISI Level 6 Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning require that the candidate must hold an RDR-compliant qualification for FCA Activities 4 and 6 (retail/packaged products).

The syllabus for the new CISI Level 6 Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning will be available in early March, with the workbook due in May.  A sample exam paper will be available in July 2019.  The first exam sitting will be in September 2019 and then in March and September annually.  Anyone interested in receiving further details about this first September 2019 sitting will first need to check that they meet the eligibility requirements by emailing

The Level 6 exam* will be a three-hour written examination in three sections.

Combined, the new CISI Level 6 Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning and Level 7 assessment require candidates to demonstrate achievements and application of FPSB’s global financial planning standards and body of knowledge, localised for the UK.  The CISI is offering an increased number of new courses to help individuals understand and apply global best practices when creating financial plans for clients –

The CISI is already running a five-day financial plan assessment preparation course offering guidance and support on the critical components of the plan for those on the current pathway to CFP certification.  In addition, a new two-day course, the Principles and Practice of Financial Planning, will be starting in March 2019.  This new course will help those who already hold a Level 6 or 7 qualification, such as Chartered Financial Planner or Chartered Wealth Manager, to understand and apply best practices for building a financial plan without necessarily continuing on to study for the CFP™ licence.

Candidates currently studying within the existing study pathway for CFP certification will be unaffected by these changes.

Jacqueline Lockie CFPTM Chartered FCSI, CISI Head of Financial Planning said:

“We have worked hard, with the support of FPSB Ltd, the CISI Financial Planning Forum Committee, other CFP professionals and specialists, to restructure the UK study pathway to CFP certification to equip financial planners with the skills, abilities and knowledge to build robust financial plans to help clients meet their financial and lifestyle objectives.  Our CFP professionals will make a real difference helping the public understand how financial planning can improve their financial lives.”

Noel Maye, CEO of Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. added:

“FPSB welcomes CISI’s new study pathway for CFP certification in the UK, which emphasizes the technical knowledge and professional skills and training needed to be able to construct and deliver effective financial plans to clients.”  Maye went on to say, “CISI has made great progress putting in place the training and development components of a world-class financial planning certification program in the UK.  FPSB looks forward to continuing to work with CISI to grow substantially the number of CFP professionals so that consumers in the UK will have increased access to competent, ethical financial planners, who put their clients’ interests first.”

Five Accredited Training Providers (ATP) around the UK will be available in time for the first sitting to candidates wishing to sit the examination.

A Q&A on the new CFPTM pathway, including all transitional information, can be found at


Notes to Editors

*Level 6 exam

  • Section A – 40% of marks, 10 four-mark questions
  • Section B – 20% of marks, essay question (choose 1 out of 3)
  • Section C – 40% of marks, Case Study

The pass mark is variable but will not be less than 50%, with resits available approximately nine weeks after the exam.

After the September 2019 exam sitting candidates can obtain their case study to embark on the creation of the financial plan for assessment.

The syllabus for the new Level 7 financial plan case study will be available in April 2019, with the financial plan case study available to candidates from 1 November 2019.