Keith Richards, managing director of engagement at CII and chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said the new qualification had been developed in the spirit of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) current consultation on pension transfers.
He said: “It is understandable that the FCA renewed its focus on the qualifications, experience and continuing professional development requirements for pension transfer specialists, but our members told us what they wanted ahead of the regulator demonstrating how far the profession has advanced."
Candidates have enrolled onto the new level 4 certificate in pension transfers advice, which includes a new level 6 unit (AF7) pension transfers, and three existing CII level 4 units – financial services, regulation and ethics, investment principles and risk, and pensions and retirement planning.
Some 7,000 statement of professional standing (SPS) CII holders are qualified to provide pension transfer advice, holding either the withdrawn CII unit (G60) pensions or current CII unit (AF3) pension planning.
Advisers who hold the CII diploma in financial planning, but not G60 or AF3, will be able to complete AF7 in order to become qualified pension transfer specialists. AF7 involves 50 fewer learning hours than AF3 given its specific focus on pension transfers.
The PFS has said current holders of AF3 or G60 will also benefit from completing AF7 by developing their knowledge in the area of pension transfers.