Pensions and Retirement Planning (R04)

Pensions and Retirement Planning (R04) develops your knowledge and understanding of pension and retirement planning issues.

The default Enrolment option for this unit includes:

  • Latest version of the core learning content, in digital format only, delivered  on RevisionMate.
  • Revision aids: Key Facts Booklet, Audio Revision, Knowledge Checker, E-learn (delivered on RevisionMate).

  • Assessment entry.

A pension is simply a method of saving for retirement. What makes it different from other methods of saving is the tax advantages offered by the Government to encourage individuals and companies to make provision for retirement. The concept of a pension as a means of providing an income in retirement and benefits on death is hardly new and the issue of pensions and pension security is one of the most urgent political issues in Britain today.

The unit provides an understanding of the political, economic and social environment factors which provide the context for pensions planning. It includes how the HM revenue & Customs (HMRC) tax regime applies to pensions planning and the relevant aspects of pensions law and regulations.

It then looks the range of Defined Contribution (DC) scheme options as they apply to an individual's pension planning and the options and factors to consider for drawing pension benefits.

Finally, the study text will help candidates to explain the structure, relevance and application of State Schemes to an individual's pension planning and evaluate the aims and objectives of retirement planning, including the relevant investment issues.

Building a successful career in personal finance

Pensions and Retirement Planning (R04) is a core unit for the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning which meets the FCA's qualification requirements for retail investment advisers. This unit is relevant for paraplanners, technical consultants and those in financial planning support roles. It is also relevant for those seeking additional CII credits towards completion of the Diploma in Financial Planning. those who do not hold additional CII credits counting towards completion of the Diploma in Financial Planning.


At the end of this unit, candidates should be able to demonstrate an understanding of and ability to analyse:

  • the main tax and legal frameworks that govern retirement benefits under registered pension schemes;
  • the features of defined contribution and defined benefit pensions;
  • State retirement benefits available, including the risks and suitability of contracting out of the State Second Pension.


  • 1 hour exam
  • 50 multiple choice questions
  • The nominal pass mark is 65%
  • The 2023 pass rate for this unit was 65.9%

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

Course delivery

Instructions on accessing your course on RevisionMate will be sent to your registered email address. This is typically within two working days of your order being placed, but may be longer, particularly if payment is made by bank transfer or the unit is available as a pre-order.

Revision aids available 

The revision aids available for this unit are listed below. Find out more details.

  • Key Facts Booklet
  • Audio Revision
  • Knowledge Checker
  • E-learn

Note for purchasing revision aids: please make sure you do not already have the revision aid(s) as part of any Enrolment plus purchase.   

Study material - editions available

2023-24 edition (applicable to exams sat 01 Sep 2023 to 31 Aug 2024)