11. Pensions

It is important that you are aware of where the regulated boundaries are and do not go beyond them (please refer to ‘The boundaries of the service and of your role’ and the description of advice). Guidance can provide information and/or options around choice of pension scheme or withdrawal but not make an explicit recommendation.

Tier 1

11.1.1Awareness of the importance of retirement planning
11.1.2Awareness of what a pension is and how to distinguish between different types
11.1.3Awareness of what auto-enrolment is and how it works
11.1.4Awareness of when and how the State Pension can be claimed and that it is based on an individual’s National Insurance contributions
11.1.5Signpost or refer customers to appropriate sources of information on pensions and/or support for retirement planning
11.1.6Awareness of scams and what to do if a customer has been the subject of a scam

Tier 2

11.2.1Knowledge of the features and main differences between types of pension (e.g. State Pension, defined benefit, defined contribution etc.)
11.2.2Knowledge of when and how the State Pension can be claimed and that it is based on an individual’s National Insurance contributions
11.2.3Knowledge of the advantages of retirement planning, including how to obtain a pension forecast
11.2.4Knowledge of how to read a pension statement
11.2.5Knowledge of the potential implications and effects of auto-enrolment on an individual’s circumstances
11.2.6Knowledge of pensions eligibility criteria
11.2.7Knowledge of the effect of deferring retirement pension
11.2.8Knowledge of entitlement to Additional State Pension
11.2.9Understanding of the factors to take into account when considering investing in a pensions scheme
11.2.10Understanding of pensions law
11.2.11Understanding of how the State Pension is calculated, its qualifying period and how to claim
11.2.12Understanding of how to increase a State Pension

Tier 3

11.3.1Knowledge of how to use specialist pensions and retirement calculators
11.3.2Knowledge of how to check on how much has been accrued in an individual’s pension pot
11.3.3Knowledge of how to resolve issues which arise during the claims process
11.3.4Knowledge of access to specialist support (e.g. The Pensions Advisory Service, Money Advice Service, Pensions Ombudsman, etc.)
11.3.5Knowledge of how and when the Annual Allowance (AA) and Lifetime Allowance (LTA) rules apply, including knowledge of how the Tapered Annual Allowance applies, and the protections available to customers with benefits in excess of the LTA
11.3.6Knowledge of the importance of safeguarded benefits within a pension, that customers should seek financial advice before they consider giving up these benefits and of the risks to customers who are considering a transfer of a DB pension to a DC arrangement

Further information

We have put together a directory of further information to help you meet the competencies in the framework that will also support the people you help too.

It includes relevant training and qualifications for each domain (identified by a mapping exercise carried out in 2019).

The links to training and qualifications are provided for your information and should not be interpreted as approval or endorsement of the materials. Before signing up, it is important to check the credentials of the organisation if you are not familiar with them.

Things to think about include:

  • Will you get professional or recognised accreditation?
  • Can you get recommendations from your network?
  • Could you negotiate discounts by grouping together with other practitioners?

There are also links to further information on a range of relevant domain topics. Many of these links go to the MAS website, where you can get up to date information along with links to other organisations and sources of support. You can signpost people to these sources or use them as a basis for direct guidance. This information will be very useful for supporting your skills and knowledge in tiers 1, 2 and 3 technical domains.

Bear in mind this information is intended as a starting point and we plan to add further resources as we become aware of them to create a comprehensive database that will strengthen and grow as the programme develops.

Please do let us know of any training, qualifications or information resources that you use and think would help other practitioners by contacting us.


LIBF Level 6 Diploma in Financial Advice

CII Level 4 Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice

PMI Level 6 Diploma In Regulated Retirement Advice

CISI Level 6 Certificate in Pension Transfers & Planning Advice

The Open University You and Your Money (DB125)


The Money Advice Trust – Wiseradviser – Introduction to money advice (England & Wales)

The Money Advice Trust – Wiseradviser – Introduction to money advice (Northern Ireland)

The Money Advice Trust – Wiseradviser – Introduction to money advice (Scotland)

Advice NI – Preparing for retirement

Information and guidance sources of support

Pension Wise – Free specialist pensions support

MoneyHelper – Free specialist pensions support

MoneyHelper – Pension calculator tool

MoneyHelper – How to spot a pension scam

MoneyHelper – Types of pension and retirement income

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Managing money in uncertain times

Guides to support your employees and customers affected by the pandemic or rising living costs