The CII is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial planning. We currently have more than 12,000 members around the world who help customers secure their businesses and financial futures. We know just about all there is to know about our sectors – we’ve been around as a chartered body for more than 100 years.

Professional qualifications

We have two professional qualification frameworks – one for insurance and one for financial services. To practise in the insurance profession the pursued qualification is the Advanced Diploma in Insurance. Achievement of the qualification assures employers and the public that insurers are working to professional standards, thereby building public trust, for financial services covering mortgage advice, paraplanning, and financial planning. The brand that we use for financial planning is the Personal Finance Society.

The key licence to practise qualification is the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning – you need this if you want to deliver client-facing financial advice. Other qualifications are optional but look for the companies which offer professional qualifications within their graduate schemes.

Most graduate schemes in insurance have support towards the Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) included in it. It will take you around three years to complete this globally-recognised qualification. There are fewer structured graduate schemes in financial planning companies but these will typically include support towards the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning (Dip PFS) since this is the qualification you need to give client-facing advice.

Designations and CPD

Once you complete our professional qualifications you will be able to use designatory letters – the pinnacle of any profession is Chartered status, and this is open to those with five years’ sector experience who hold the Advanced Diploma-level qualification.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an important part of being a professional in any sector. You must undertake CPD every year in order to use your designatory letters. The CII runs hundreds of CPD events up and down the country, to ensure that our members maintain their knowledge – it’s not just about passing exams.


Networking is one of the most important things you can do while at university. The CII has a free Discover membership scheme to help you build knowledge and networks. You can do this through our website and social media, as well as attending events at our local networks. There are more than 50 ‘local institutes’ for insurance and 25 ‘regions’ for financial planning across the UK, so you won’t be far from sector professionals. Events are a great way to build links and uncover informal work opportunities. Contact us to find out more about membership and a career in insurance or financial planning.

CII and your degree

The CII works with universities across the country to promote our ‘standard award’. This is a set of credits that you can claim if you are graduating in these subject areas:

  • Accounting
  • Actuarial Science
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Law
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics.

Once you (or your employer) claim these credits, it will shorten the time taken to complete our professional qualifications.

You do not need to have a business or finance degree to work in insurance or financial planning. Recruitment is usually based on soft skills, which means that most degree disciplines are represented in the sector.

Find out more about professional qualifications by reading the ‘CII Professional Qualifications’ article here.

About the Author

  • Name: Ian Simons, Content and Capabilities Director, Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

Ian joined the CII in 2015 to lead its marketing function, and more recently evolved the remit to focus on market insight, learning content and future skills.

Ian originally qualified as an underwriter and progressed to work in a number of senior marketing roles at major insurers such as Zurich, RSA and QBE.

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