Financial Planning Process (AF5)

The objective of Financial Planning Process (AF5) is to develop an understanding of the financial planning process when giving advice to clients.

A case study workbook is not offered for this unit as it draws together and tests your knowledge gained through study of the other AF units. You will, however, receive a 'fact-find' two weeks before the exam which you will use to draw up a financial plan in the exam. More information and the fact-find (when released) can be found on our supporting exam documents page.

To help you with your study, we recommend you use the free practice tests available under the Useful Links & Downloads section on this page.

Please note: Candidates are recommended to have taken three units at advanced level before progressing to this unit. Advanced technical knowledge across taxation, trusts, pensions and investments is usually required. Depending upon the client scenario, some business planning knowledge might also be required.


Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit, candidates will be able to research and construct a financial plan that demonstrates:

  1. Understanding of the relationship and responsibilities between adviser and client and the need to establish the scope of the planning brief;
  2. Evaluation of the different remuneration strategies available and how they might suit the different services required by clients;
  3. Understanding and evaluation of the client's personal circumstances and financial status;
  4. Understanding and evaluation of the client's financial objectives, including the importance of prioritising those financial objectives;
  5. Understanding of the assumptions underlying the financial plan;
  6. Understanding of what is meant by risk (including capacity of loss), the various risks faced by the client and the importance of the client risk profile in formulating a financial plan;
  1. Evaluation of the different options available to the client with relevant evidence;
  2. The ability to put forward an appropriate financial plan based upon analysis of client objectives, circumstances and options;
  3. The ability to explain the meaning of any technical terms, the features and benefits of proposed products and the consequences of the proposed course of action;
  4. Understanding of the importance of documenting any changes to the plan required by the client and how to document such changes;
  5. Understanding of the review process and its significance in the overall financial planning process.


  • 3 hour exam
  • Fact-Find based with 8 compulsory questions
  • 55% nominal pass mark
  • The 2023 pass rate for this unit was 78.2%

Units treated as equivalent

Due to the extent of syllabus overlap, certain combinations of current and withdrawn 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

Revision aid available

The revision aid available for this unit is:

  • Post Fact-Find Video Technical Guide

AF5 Post Fact-Find Video Technical Guide

If you would like further support in order to prepare for the AF5 exam, you will be able to purchase a video guide a few weeks before each exam sitting. Available on RevisionMate, this video course covers the main areas of knowledge that might be applicable, based on the fact-find released for each exam, and is only available for that particular exam session. Details, such as pricing, will be available on the video guide shop page when the product goes live.