Introduction to AF8

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The CII’s level 6 pension exam, AF3 Pension Planning, from April 2018 was superseded by AF7 Pension Transfers and AF8 Retirement Income Planning.

That shouldn’t really be a surprise: sourcing evidence from FAMR 2018, of all the regulated advice given in the last 12 months, 67% of the advice was related to pensions work. It’s a key advice area.

Expert pensions have been providing comprehensive support for ‘’pensions’’ exams since 2010. Most recently, we supported the CII AF7 since its launch in October 2017 and we’re now doing the same for the CII AF8 coursework, launching in January 2019.

The key thing to know about AF8, is that it is assessed entirely via coursework. There are three assignments you need to complete within 12 months from the date of enrolment (up to 3000 words each).

According to the official syllabus, the singular learning outcome for AF8 is for candidates to be able to advise clients on income planning approaching and during retirement, including later life.

With concepts such as financial objectives, estate planning, taxation, cash flow modelling, risk profiling, asset allocation, vulnerable clients, and investment risk all featuring in the syllabus. It’s fair to conclude that this is (very much like the AF7 exam), not just a technicians’ technical qualification, but is a practical, pragmatic assessment of the ability to provide sound retirement income planning advice. In particular, the coursework structure allows for critical analysis of the subject matter being tested AND requires the ability to give sound recommendations.

We have heard it described as “the coursework version of the AF5 exam”. But, really it’s rather than specifically a “pensions” exam, it’s more of an ‘’at retirement’’ or ‘’later life’’ financial planning exam, assessed by coursework (done within 12 months).

Upon completion, you will be rewarded with 30 Advanced Diploma (level 6) credits.

This would be an excellent way to get 30 credits toward your Chartered status or, indeed by a key part of your CPD requirements for the year?

Our pensions support does not end there. We also have our Drawdown and Retirement Income Proposition Masterclass, aimed at Chartered Financial Planners who want a strong technical and practical refresh of drawdown and retirement investment propositions.

Flexi-Access drawdown, like Flexible drawdown, allows unlimited withdrawals with no GAD restrictions; pensioners have the complete flexibility to start, stop, increase, or decrease their income at will.

Today, drawdown offers a means of taking a variable income, the potential for long-term capital growth, tax-efficiency, and flexible, attractive death benefits.

People are living longer, and retirements could be as long as 40 years or more. Drawdown offers the ability to meet evolving financial needs and objectives over these unprecedented new time horizons.

Over time, there has been a shift from complete inflexibility and the requirement to buy a guaranteed income for life, to complete flexibility and the ability to draw as much or as little as you want, whenever you want, from your pension fund. It’s impossible to know how drawdown will evolve in future, but given its popularity, it would seem that drawdown in some form or other is here for the long-term – and being expert at drawdown will open up a huge opportunity.

The Masterclass comprises video tutorials, PDF downloads, and a quiz to test your understanding, to provide you with 4 hours of high quality online Structured CPD. The practical and technical aspects of capped/flexi-access drawdown, death benefits, and retirement income investment portfolios are all carefully examined – including the use of smoothed funds, ratio analysis, and more.

This is essential viewing for any drawdown-focused adviser and links back very neatly to the AF8 exam. I know there will be a lot of advisers who will want to become chartered and access CPD at the highest level in the ‘’at-retirement’’ space’.

Our CPD masterclasses and AF8 exam support do just that for those who want to develop their expertise at the highest levels.

 

 

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About Author

Dubbed by friends and colleagues “The Pensions Professor”, John Reynolds is widely acknowledged as one of the country’s leading experts in the financial services education sector. He has spent 20 years teaching, consulting, mentoring and writing on the subjects of pensions and investments. John’s unique ability to take his years of experience and technical knowledge and present it in an easy to understand format, has resulted in his talents being very much in demand. His portfolio of corporate clients include CII, Lloyds, Scottish Widows, Santander and Wesleyan; as well as numerous IFA clients whom he provides technical consultancy, mentoring and training on client case studies and staff training.. He has put his extensive expertise (and heart and soul!) into developing the expertpensions (EPL) proposition. EPL is a structured and interactive technical exam training programme for IFAs. It's designed to give financial advisors the required technical knowledge, study strategy and exam technique to confidently sit and pass the AF1, AF3, AF4 and AF5 exams. Its online, it's fully supported, structured and designed to help advisers reach Chartered Financial Planner status quicker. It's ready to help your advisers reach chartered status

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