The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) has temporarily knocked 40% off the cost of its new pension transfer exam, bringing it in at £4 cheaper than the equivalent qualification from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
Both professional bodies have recently launched exams that allow advisers to gain qualifications in pension transfers.
The CII’s new Level 6 unit (AF7) on pension transfers which carries 20 advanced diploma credits will set advisers back £271. This covers the cost of the exam itself and the workbooks you must purchase in order to do the exam.
The CISI’s Level 6 Certificate in Pension Transfers & Planning Advice, launched in June, was originally coming in at £443. It works out as £278 for the exam and £165 for the workbook.
However, following last month’s announcement of the introductory 40% discount, set to last until May 2018, CISI has undercut the CII by £4.
The CISI would not comment on whether the reduced price was launched to better compete with the CII exam.
Helen Anderson, CISI assistant director of marketing and communications, said the offer was put in place to incentivise advisers signing up to the pension exam.
‘As this is a new qualification we were keen to offer the introductory price as an incentive to book.
‘Lead times were also a key factor in the pricing of this exam, as the first sitting is December, so we needed to generate interest in this new narrative qualification,’ she said.
So far the professional body said it has garnered a couple of hundred registrations of interest and five signed up candidates.
The price-reduction has been labelled a ‘land grab’ for advisers by Richard Allum, managing director of outsourcing firm The Paraplanners.
‘The CISI was a lot more expensive. They are making a land grab to try and get people to do exams through them.’
He commented there has been no let-up in defined benefit (DB) pension transfer business being undertaken by advisers.
‘We are doing loads of work on DB transfers at the moment, as I think everyone is.
‘We are at capacity for client work now and are not taking on any new business but we are still getting lots of enquiries from advisers that work in this area. Demand is still there and is still going up.’