Retail Distribution Review (RDR)

The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) came into effect at the start of 2013. A key tenet of the review was an increase in the level of professionalism within the retail financial advice sector, through both minimum entry level qualification standards and ongoing professional training (CPD or Continuing Professional Development). BPP can help advisers and firms meet these requirements through the most comprehensive suite of training options. From the largest Wealth Management Company to self-employed IFAs, we can provide training for the right qualification and a wide range of CPD to meet your RDR compliance needs. With our unrivalled experience in preparing candidates for the RDR qualifications and subsequent CPD, we are confident we can offer the best training package for your needs.

We appreciate that the variety of routes to RDR compliance can be challenging to understand, so if you need advice please contact us.

To act as a retail adviser you must have a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). Find out if you have met the educational and other requirements for an SPS from the CISI.

Key Information

  • A choice of training towards a variety of RDR compliant qualifications and CPD
  • Excellent first time exam pass rates
  • Classroom, distance learning and online options available

Important information

Under the FSA's RDR requirements, financial advisers, wealth managers and private bankers will be required, from 2013 on, to undertake 35 hours of CPD per year. Of these 35 hours, 21 hours must be structured CPD.

BPP has flexible CPD solutions to help you achieve the required number of CPD hours.

Online CPD

We have put together a package with 18 hours worth of structured CPD, covering a range of relevant topics. This solution is convenient, allowing you to complete CPD in your own time, and offers great value for money.

A short knowledge check at the end of each one-hour course underpins your learning and once you have passed the quiz, a certificate is provided for your CPD records.

We also have a range of individual online courses to make up those last few CPD points in a hurry, if need be.

Professional Development Courses

BPP has an established programme of accredited professional development courses covering all areas of the financial services industry. As well as up-to-date technical courses, we also offer a range of leadership and management courses to enhance your wider skill set.

Financial Services courses Leadership & Personal Development courses

Dates and prices

Details of our classroom course dates and prices and our Distance Learning options can be found within our booking form:


BPP brings you more financial services training experience than other providers. For over 18 years BPP has helped finance professionals pass their exams, and succeed in their careers. With BPP’s experience comes unparalleled tutor support along with study materials that are focused on helping you achieve exam success. We offer help with qualifications awarded by:

  • Chartered Institute of Securities of Investment (CISI)
  • The Chartered Financial Institute of the UK (CFA UK)

CISI Diploma – PCIAM

As part of the CISI Diploma at BPP, you'll have the opportunity to study for the sought-after Level Six PCIAM certificate. This prestigious qualification covers all aspects of private client advice in the areas of securities, investment, compliance, derivatives and operations. The latest FSA legislation means those who pass the PCIAM paper (who are already Level Three Qualified) will only need to take the CPD top up to become RDR compliant.

CISI Investment Advice Diploma (IAD)

Following changes in the RDR qualification standards, if you're advising on, or working in, securities or derivatives and associated packaged products, you must have passed the Level Four qualifications.

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Investment Management Certificate (IMC)

The IMC has recently upgraded to an Ofqual Level Four qualification in response to the FSA's Retail Distribution Review (RDR). With more content and a higher level of difficulty, it now better prepares you for a career in investment management.

The change also means you now need to pass both units of the IMC under one version of this qualification. Retail advisors can complete the Level Four IMC and either CFA Level One – or selected modules from the CISI Level Four Certificates – to become RDR compliant. Visit the RDR website to find out more.

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Transitional Arrangements

The FSA's 'no regrets' provision

In order to allow retail advisers to make progress towards achieving the new Level Four standard the FSA have created a 'no regrets' provision. This means advisers can achieve a current transitional Level Four (or above)

qualification and upgrade to the new Level Four standard via an additional CPD top-up. The below information should help you determine whether this provision applies to you and your qualification level.

IMC & Chartered Financial Analyst (Level One)

The FSA has approved the Level Four IMC exam plus CFA Level One as RDR compliant. The combination of these two exams has been listed by the FSA as fully meeting Requirements of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Note that this works in combination; IMC or CFA alone are not RDR compliant.

Retail practitioners who have taken both CFA Level One and the 'old' (Level Three) IMC will need to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) activities in order to 'fill the gaps' and be RDR compliant.

Advisers who passed all three levels of the CFA are only required to attain Unit One (The Investment Environment) of the IMC to achieve RDR compliance.

CISI Private Client Investment Advice and Management (PCIAM)

The FSA have confirmed that the CISI Level six Certificate in Private Client and Investment Management meets and surpasses the step-change requirement of a benchmark qualification at Ofqual Level Four. Therefore, under the 'no regrets' provision, advisers who pass the PCIAM exam who are already Level Three qualified, will only need to undertake the CPD top-up to become RDR compliant.

The FSA and FSSC have confirmed that the PCIAM will be acceptable for this purpose up to the end of the transitional period at the end of 2012. However, the last sitting at which existing advisers can take advantage of PCIAM and be certain of receiving their Statement of Professional Standing (on successful completion of PCIAM) will be June 2012.

BPP offer PCIAM training courses and distance learning products towards the examinations that are currently held on a quarterly basis by the CISI. For further details please refer to our CISI Diploma section.

Work towards RDR Compliance

As a level seven qualification, the CISI Masters (Wealth Management) meets the RDR requirements in full and can be taken by new advisers.


There are no gaps between the level seven CISI Masters (Wealth Management) syllabus and the new exam standards, therefore you won't need a qualification gap-fill.


You can choose from classroom courses or distance learning. We also provide an in-house service. View detailed information about the CISI Masters in Wealth Management.

Important information

Level 4 benchmark qualifications for retail advisers

The FCA (previously the FSA) RDR makes clear that by the end of 2012 all retail advisers are required to obtain the minimum standard of an Ofqual approved Level Four qualification.

New Level Four qualifications have been developed by the examining bodies and be approved by Ofqual. These newly approved qualifications for retail advisors are published as a list of appropriate examinations by the FCA (see appendix of CP10/14 and recently finalised list

The new Level Four qualification standard will apply to both new and existing advisers, the FCA make clear that there will be no ‘grandfathering’ arrangements.

To meet RDR requirements will require attaining qualifications which require a minimum nominal 370 study hours and cover both core (Regulations, Ethics, Tax, Investment and Risk) and specialised topics relevant to the nature of the advisor. The majority of routes to RDR compliance will require undertaking more than a single examination.

The CFA Society of the UK’s Investment Management Certificate (IMC)

The IMC became a Level Four qualification on 1st September 2010. The FCA has approved the Level Four IMC exam plus CFA Level I as RDR compliant. The combination of these two exams has been listed by the FCA as fully meeting requirements of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Note that this works in combination; IMC or CFA alone are not RDR compliant.

Retail practitioners who have taken both CFA Level I and the 'old' (Level Three) IMC will need to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) activities in order to 'fill the gaps' and be RDR compliant.

CISI Investment Advice Diploma (IAD)

CISI has now gained approval for its new Level Four IAD qualifications. In February 2010 the institute published their CISI Factbook on FCA consultation paper CP 09/31 Delivering the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). This is designed to assist firms and exam candidates to plan ahead. The main FCA proposals are shown, followed by CISI commentary on the new exam structure and the services they intend to provide.

CISI Master in Wealth Management

An updated syllabus for this qualification makes it a complete route to RDR compliance, with no additional gapfill required.