Qualifications - What next?

Hi all,

I'm at a bit of a loose end as far as next steps go for qualifications and was hopeful for some input/suggestions! As it stands, I have my Regulated Diploma with the PFS and have just done the Financial Planning & Advice exam with the CISI to get their Certificate in Paraplanning.

As a company we are members of the CISI rather than the PFS, but (despite some chatter about an advanced pensions exam at the end of last year) the only other CISI offering of any relevance to me at the moment is the CFP. My main questions are:

- Has anyone here completed the CFP, and did you find it of benefit? (in a practical paraplanning sense, as well as something to add to the CV!)
- Has anyone completed any other qualifications that you feel really helped you develop as a paraplanner?

All input much appreciated. Thanks!



  • Hi Becca, 

    I completed the CFP a few years ago and although the process was incredibly frustrating, it was easily the most useful exam I have taken. Whilst the CII exams are good at testing your technical knowledge the CFP requires you to be able to apply this in practice to a case study, this is a lot closer to what we do on a day to day basis.

    To be honest i totally underestimated the amount of work involved (from memory it took about 8 months to complete after redrafts) and I didn't feel that there was a huge amount of support available, i'm not sure whether this has improved recently. 

    Best of luck whichever route you decide to take. 


  • Having done the CFP (more years ago than I care to remember) as well as spending a number of years being one the assessors I would wholeheartedly support undertaking the CFP. AS a more real life test of not only your knowledge but also your ability to impart this clearly it is an assessment (it isNOT an exam) of your ability and I have no doubt yo will learn a lot from it.

    Matt's comment about underestimating the work is key. This is not to be taken lightly - there is a reason you are given 3 months to complete a submission! In my experience many candidates clearly fail to understand the level of work involved; have demonstrated a lack of tax knowledge (even very basic tax) and also have not understood the nature of a true financial plan - many submissions were little more than glorified product sales documents.

    The use of some sort of cash flow system whilst not a requirement will make life so much easier.

    When it comes to the protection part of the case study do not forget you need to ensure your plan works if one party dies or either party suffers serious ill health - it si of little use protecting their current situation which si what many candidates seem to do.

    Study the marking schedule and make sure you have actually covered off each area.

    Also, understand that you may not be able to 'solve' the client's wishes - which is what happens in real life - so you may need to consider compromises.

    When you finish your case study do not submit it. Wait a week, then carefully re-read it again and cross reference to the marking schedule.
  • richallumrichallum Administrator
    I've done CFP as have some of my colleagues. In recent years the marking process has been 'frustrating' to say the least and hopefully CISI are addressing that.  It is a very useful process to go through as Matt says as it tests application of knowledge. It also takes a lot of work with, historically, very little support from the examining body.

    We've had people do STEP and are now looking at IMC and PMI exams as alternatives to CII and CISI. 

    Paraplanner. F1, Apple, Nutella, ice cream. No trite motivational quotes. Turning a bit northern. Republican.

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