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IFAs say new pension transfer qualification is too expensive

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IFAs say new pension transfer qualification is too expensive

IFAs have claimed the cost of a new pension transfer qualification means they will not be able to train as many staff as planned. 

Although more than 500 people registered for the AF7 course offered by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) when it was launched last week, many advisers have been put off by the £271 cost of the course.

In particular, the requirement to purchase all associated workbooks alongside the exam has annoyed advisers who have recently taken similar qualifications. 

The new CII qualification, the Level 4 Certificate in Pension Transfers Advice, includes a new Level 6 unit (AF7) on pension transfers and three current CII Level 4 units, including financial services, regulation and ethics, investment principles and risk, and pensions and retirement planning.

Alasdair Walker, director at Leicester-based Hunter, Aitkenhead & Walker, said it was frustrating to pay for books again when many of his staff have recently taken the CII's corporate pension AF3 exam, which covered many of the same topics.  

'Our three chartered financial planners intend to take this exam in the same sitting in October. As two of us have recently taken AF3 we didn't feel we needed the workbooks, and were disappointed to find out that we are required to buy them as part of a package,' he said.

Six members of staff at Oxfordshire-based The Paraplanners planned to sit the new qualification, but were put off by the need to buy textbooks at the same time. 

Richard Allum, managing director of The Paraplanners, said the cost of taking the new qualification was too much for someone who already held the CII's G60 pension transfer qualification.

'AF7 is a really good idea and looks like a great paper, but six of us sitting it at £271 a head is not feasible. I have done G60 and am already a pension transfer specialist, and I do lots of CPD, so I could do it without looking at the book,' he said.

'They are obviously doing it because they don't want people sharing exam books, but the fact that as a paying member, I can't just do the exam without being forced to buy something from them grates a little.'

A CII spokesman said: 'We are delighted with the initial demand which continues to exceed expectations and can assure members that any surplus over the cost to develop and operate will be reinvested in raising the profile of the profession and supporting key consumer initiatives as a profession.'

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