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An essential qualification for the discretionary investment management sector

The RQF level 4 Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management develops the wealth strategy and portfolio management skills required for effective discretionary investment management. The qualification satisfies the FCA appropriate qualification requirements for this class of business.

Read the Certificate in Discretionary Investment Management specification »

Who’s it for?

  • Those seeking to become portfolio managers who need to comply with FCA appropriate qualification requirements
  • Anyone wishing to develop their knowledge of investments, including retail investment advisers and those in investment-related support roles.  

Recognition of prior learning

Before studying, check to see whether any of your previous academic qualifications or credits from other professional bodies and institutes can be carried towards completion of the Certificate.

Find out more about recognition of prior learning >

Completion requirements

The Certificate involves completion of 2 core units from the Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a total of 40 credits on completion.

See our key information link to the right of this page for details

Members are entitled to use the designation CertPFS (DM), subject to membership and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Assessment method

Both units are assessed by multiple-choice question exam (MCQ). For online MCQ exams, result notification is immediate on completion. For paper-based MCQ exams, results are released five weeks’ following the exam sitting.

Find out more about assessments, including policies and exam centres >

Learning support

Each qualification unit comes with the essential tools to support core learning. For a single fee, study packages typically include: study text, assessment entry and access to RevisionMate, our online study tool.

We also offer additional study materials to support individual learning. These range from key fact booklets and next-edition study texts, to question packs and Learn interactive tutorials.

For full unit availability, click the unit links to the right of this page

This qualification in detail

Key information

What does the qualification involve?

The Certificate comprises two core units from across the CII Personal Finance qualifications framework, providing a total of 40 credits on successful completion.

Candidates are required to take the following units:

  • (R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics
  • (J10) Discretionary investment management

For unit syllabuses, return to the Certificate in Insurance landing page, and click on the ‘Syllabuses’ link to the right of the page.

Unit overview:


Assessment method

Study hours*

Credits awarded

Unit level






(R01) Financial services, regulation and ethics

·         2-hour exam

·         100 multiple choice questions

·         65% nominal pass mark**




(J10) Discretionary investment management

·         2-hour exam

·         90 multiple choice questions

·         65% nominal pass mark**




Find out more about assessment methods, including exam policies and centres »

Units treated as equivalent

Due to the extent of syllabus overlap, certain combinations of current and withdrawn CII units will result in only one award of credits.

If a withdrawn equivalent is held you may not need to complete a current unit in order to satisfy a qualification's completion rules. Clarification should always be sought from CII Customer Service.

Find out more about credit awards for equivalent units »


*The recommended minimum study hours will vary depending on your experience and ability.

** The actual pass mark may vary from one session to another to ensure consistency in pass standards.

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.


J10 Discretionary investment management

At the end of this unit, candidates will be able to advise clients on a range of discretionary investment management issues, including:

  • establish and meeting client objectives;
  • the behaviour, performance, risk profile and correlation of key investment types;
  • the role of the investment manager;
  • discretionary and non-discretionary portfolio management;
  • investment fund objectives and approaches;
  • the fundamentals of economics applicable to investment management;
  • how investment returns are related to investment risk;
  • the principles of portfolio theory;
  • performance measurement;
  • data regression;
  • indices;
  • the principles of performance measurement;
  • financial analysis;
  • ratio analysis;
  • information sources and disclosure obligations and bias thereof;
  • the principles of performance management and portfolio theory;
  • analysis and interpretation of financial information and ratios.

R01 Financial services, regulation and ethics

At the end of this unit candidates will be able to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skill in applying the following topic areas:

  • UK financial service industry in its European and Global context;
  • how the retail customer is served by the financial service industry;
  • Regulatory framework, powers and responsibilities to protect the consumer;
  • the legal concepts and considerations relevant to financial advice;
  • the Code of Ethics and its impact on the business behaviours of individuals.