The quickest way to get Level 6 QUALIFIED!

I am new into financial services, currently working in life insurance sales.

I want to be a qualified IFA.

I have come across 3 bodies, please can anyone advise me the best route.

Level 4 - 1 multiple choice exam and one 3 hour written exam
Level 6 - 4 exams and 4 assignments

Level 4 - 5 multi choice exams and one 3 hour written paper
Level 6: 4 to 6 three hour papers.

Level 4: 3 multiple choice exams
Level 6: 1 multiple choice exam and 1 case study analysis.

I can see the CISI is the quickest route.

I would like to go self-employed to do protection and investments.

Please can anyone advise me the best route?


  • NathNath Member

    I think you are asking the wrong question really. Why would you want the quickest route, rather than the most suitable/best route for you? I personally would recommend the CII route though obtaining Chartered status and then compliment this with the CFP route. Just be aware if you go a perceived 'easier' route, you can't have your cake and it eat by getting all the credits to become Diploma or Chartered under CII and would need to take more exams under the CII to top up any gaps. Do you have a plan for going self-employed as it is also very difficult to start from scratch with no clients etc. I would also do some reading outside of product/technical study in relation to Financial Planning in general, rather than focus on protection and investments. I wish you luck!

  • Why is CISI seemingly such a shorter route after Level 4?

  • Hi Abbas,

    I am actually level 4 qualified with the CISI and I think the answer to your question really relates to what you are going to do.

    Financial Advisory Firms

    • Being a Paraplanner and having numerous interviews with financial planning firms the gold and expected standard is the CII, the route to chartered is a pain in the backside even getting the Diploma is shocking because the questions are not particulary clear and to be honest alot more info needs to be given to ask the questions correctly....also....their answers for the questions in the exams are really in the CII world not the real world. I have done the R04 twice both 1 mark off a pass, but many of those questions really need clarification!

    Considered a benchmark really but financial planning firms will want you to study CII.

    This covers a good amount of ground of financial planning (especially now), you can even get your pension transfer specialist qualification. I have the level 4 - rdr compliant qualification and I found from painful experience I now need to get my level CII diploma, one good thing about the CII you will learn a hell of a lot more in terms of technicalities with CII than you will with CISI or LIBF.


    Generally speaking all of the above are excepted, some specialist contracts would prefer level 6 (AF Exams) passed especially for pension reviews.

    Hope this helps.

  • Hi Abbas, I chose to use the CII for the level 6 qualification and would suggest if you are prepared to do so, you can get from level four to six within a calendar year... it just involves losing your social life!

    RE the comments above, i wouldn't be put off, if you are failing R04 by one mark you most likely are just not prepared enough. Yes, the exams are not always "real world" but I have quite often found the CII textbooks a good reference to look back on for certain technical queries and have definitely found the additional education from level 4-6 has helped in my day to day role.

  • Hi Yonkers,

    I managed to pass the R04 in the end! Appreciate the comments and I should have been more clear to I also refer to the book for certain technical queries and it is a good reference point. Also the info in the book completely agree helps in the day to day role immensely.

  • Abbas78600Abbas78600 Member
    edited September 2018

    GUYS ?

    CII have put another exam on the diploma in regulated financial planning.

    I know someone has mentioned that companies prefer CII.


    Once you are level 4 diploma qualified, I am sure they are not bothered.

    I rather do 2 exams than 7 NOW - to get diploma qualified.

    I am very STUCK - I need MOTIVATION.

    Also the CISI DIPLOMA is that only for INVESTMENT?

  • Hi Abbas,

    Honestly, I would strongly suggest you do the Diploma of Regulated Financial Planning via CII. Firms are bothered and if you do the LIBF, I wouldnt be surprised a firm you work with now or in the future will ask you to do the CII diploma. I met Paraplanners at the Professional Paraplanning conference this year who did what you did and then were asked to do the level 4 diploma via CII.

    In regard to CISI, have a look at the IAD, they now offer financial planning modules. Just a different route.

  • Hi Abbas,

    Just to clarify it is still 6 exams to qualify, the 7th isn't compulsory and is for advisers who wish to demonstrate continuing knowledge or if the FCA tells them they have to take it.

  • Also Abbas, in the long run having more exams and likely more knowledge is only going to help your career/ability to deliver good advice, there are no shortcuts, especially in the knowledge business.

Sign In or Register to comment.