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Chartered Insurance Institute
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Keep at the forefront of pension reforms

The RQF Level 4 Award in Pensions Update is a single unit qualification that develops and tests knowledge of pension reforms and how they impact at-retirement advice.

Since the Government rewrote the rule book on pensions practice, some 8,000 financial advisers, paraplanners and those in related roles have enrolled for the Award, and over 5,000 have already passed the exam. 

The unit syllabus setting out the learning outcomes for the Award can be found on the right of this page. 

Who it's for 

The Award is particularly suitable for:

  • Retail investment advisers wanting to develop and test their knowledge of pension reforms
  • Paraplanners, technical consultants and staff in related support roles with existing knowledge and experience of pensions 

Entry requirements


Learning support

Enrolment includes everything you need for a single fee: 

  • Study text with online updates, 
  • RevisionMate online study support; and 
  • First exam entry.

Additional supporting includes audio revision, online question packs and face-to-face face revision courses.

How you're tested

The Award is assessed by a single multiple-choice on screen exam, tested year-round throughout the UK at a choice of over 40 centres. Find out more by selecting the completion requirements link to the right of this page.

Your next step

The links at the top right of this page contain all the information you need to finalise your entry. To enrol and enter for the exam, please select the R08 link.

Key facts

Key facts for the Pensions Update Programme


Framework of Regulated Qualifications (FRQ) Level Level 4
Number of available units 1 Diploma-level unit
Compulsory unit (R08) Pensions update
CII credits per unit R08 - 10 credits
Exam format • Online, one hour
• 40 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and 1 case study comprising 5 MCQs
Average study time per unit R08 - 50 hours
Availability of exam sessions (details shown apply to the UK. Outside of the UK exams are offered twice-yearly) Year-round
Availability varies from centre to centre, but typically weekly
Entry requirements? None
Record of Achievement issued for each exam pass? Yes
Qualification awarded upon completion Yes - Award in Pensions Update
CII/PFS membership designation n/a

Completion requirements

To complete the Award you need to obtain 10 CII credits by passing one compulsory unit: R08

Unit Credits and level  Study hours per unit * Assesment method Exam sessions Nominal pass mark ** Results notification
R08 10 - Level 4 50 1 hour exam comprising 40 MCQs and 1 case study comprising 5 multiples choice questions  Year-round 65% Immediate notification of results

* The recommended minimum study hours shown below will vary according to your experience and ability. 

** The nominal pass mark is shown, however, the actual pass mark may vary from one session to another to ensure that the pass standard remains constant.

Assessment information

It is important that candidates entering for a CII assessment familiarise themselves with our service, in particular the rules and procedures that are in place.


R08 Pensions update

At the end of this unit, candidates should understand the:

  • changes introduced by the Taxation of Pensions Act 2014;
  • changes to the State pension provision from 06 April 2016;
  • key factors to take into account when advising clients on their retirement income.