• Our R0 audio material is written by

    the authors of six current CII study texts

  • r0-exams

    95% of our users felt our audio material

    helped them to study for their R0 exam

  • pass the CII R0 exam first time

    Join the 66,000 people

    who have used our audio products

  • CII R05 exam

    The original and best

    providing audio material for over 24 years

  • CII exam results

    Over 80% of our users

    passed their R0 exams

    (2017 survey)

R04 – Pensions and Retirement Planning

£45.83 + VAT

Ever though there must be an easier way to prepare for your CII R04 exam?

Our R04 audio study guide has over 5 hours of material and includes the key content from the CII R04 study text. It is suitable for exams between 1 September 2023 and 31 August 2024. It can be downloaded almost instantly and then played through your computer or sync’d with your mobile device. This enables you to study when conventional methods aren’t available, for example when commuting.

Based on a survey of people who purchased our MP3 material, 80.95% passed the exam they bought material for.

Sample of our R04 audio material – click play to listen

What you need to know about the R04 Retirement and Pension Planning exam

R04 is one of the six modules that go to make up the CII's Regulated Diploma in Financial Services.

Here is some of the information you will need to know in order to pass R04 first time.

What does R04 examine?

The R04 pensions and retirement exam tests your knowledge of pensions and retirement planning. There are nine elements to the R04 syllabus but four areas account for the majority of the questions:

  1. HMRC tax regime for pensions
  2. The characteristics of defined benefit schemes and pension planning
  3. The characteristics of the range of defined benefit arrangements and pension planning
  4. The factors to consider when drawing pension benefits

For full details of the syllabus, click here

How difficult is R04?

The pass rates for R04 are consistently one of the harder R0 subjects. In simple terms, just over half of the people who sit it will pass.

2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
57% 57% 61% 58% 57.89% 55.04%

Source: CII website

What's the format and pass mark of the R04 Retirement and Pension Planning exam?

The R04 pensions and retirement exam is based in 50 multiple choice questions. The exam is 1 hour long and you will need to score 65% or more to pass the exam.

The R04 exam uses two types of multiple choice questions; standard format and multiple response format. With standard format questions, you will be given four options and only one will be correct. In R04, 39 of the 50 questions will be of this type.

The second style of question is the multiple response questions which are harder to answer.  To start off with, there will be more than four options - so there is less chance of taking a guess and getting the right answer. Secondly, if there are two correct answers, you will need to get both of these correct in order to get a mark. In R04, there will be 11 multiple-response questions.

With either format, a wrong answer will fail to get a mark. In other words, marks aren't deducted for incorrect answers - you just fail to get a mark. So if you don't know the answer, you might as well guess. You have nothing to loose!

What do I need to do to pass R04 first time?

You will need decent all-round knowledge and you will have practiced answering R04 style questions.

The CII recommend 50 hours of study. If you are new to the profession, you will probably need all of this time and more. You will also probably have to use a range of study options. These include:

  •  Our MP3 audio material. This provides over 5  hours of content that helps you to study while driving, commuting, working out....
  •  CII R04 study text. There are no short cuts. Most people will need to put in some hard yards using this as the primary source of learning.
  • CII Revisionmate. If you purchase the CII study text, you automatically get access to their on-line bank of test questions. This provides an invaluable and 'free' way of both learning (through making mistakes) and testing the knowledge of what you have learned.

To read about 3 tips to pass R04 that everyone should know, click here

To access free R04 practice questions, click here

What people say about us

'Just to let you know your audio files were fab and I passed first time.  Really helped and well worth the money.  Without the audio I don't think I would have got through, as it was so easy to use and make sense of.  Brilliant!'

Michelle Pennington


R04 Pension and Retirement Planning. Size: 13 modules, over 5 hours of material
Download time: approx 2 minutes over high speed broadband

Please note: After purchase you will receive an email that includes the download link within minutes. If you don't receive this in your inbox, please check your spam folder.


Introduction (2 minutes)

Module 1 (11 minutes)
R04: the exam and preparing for it CII Regulated Diploma exam structure | the R04 exam | multiple-choice questions | exam preparation | 7 golden rules for the exam

Module 2 (20 minutes)
Political, economic and social environmental factors Government pension reforms | attitudes towards pensions | the ageing population | corporate responsibilities | pensions incentives / disincentives | the 3 main pension types: state, defined benefits, defined contribution

Module 3 (39 minutes)
HMRC Regime – part 1 Relevant UK individuals | tax relief | relevant excess contribution | normal minimum pension age | PCLS | taxation of death benefits | trivial lump sum and 'small pots' | tax treatment of pension funds | dependants, nominees and successors | four potential tax charges on scheme administrators

Module 4 (42 minutes)
HMRC Regime – part 2 Annual allowance and tapered AA | pension input period (PIP) | carry forward | transitional arrangements | Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA)| BCEs | lifetime allowance | protected pension age

Module 5 (20 minutes)
HMRC Regime – part 3 Primary protection | enhanced protection | protecting a higher TFC entitlement | fixed protection 2012, 2014 and 2016 |individual protection 2014 and 2016

Module 6 (23 minutes)
Pensions law and regulation The Pension Regulator | FOS | FAS and PPF | duties of pension scheme trustees | pensions and divorce: earmarking, off-setting, sharing | stakeholder pensions and auto-enrolment

Module 7 (27 minutes)
Defined benefit schemes Options for early leavers: refund of contributions, preserved benefits, transfer | features of a DB scheme | GMP revaluation - fixed, limited, full | FCA transfer rules, e.g. APTA and TVCs

Module 8 (20 minutes)
Defined contribution schemes Types of defined contribution schemes | contributions and tax relief | statutory money purchase illustrations | pensions dashboards | benefits on retirement, ill-health and death

Module 9 (29 minutes)
Drawing pension benefits – part 1 Secured pensions: scheme pensions, lifetime annuity and flexible lifetime annuity | what affects annuity rates? | with-profit and unit linked annuities | advantages/disadvantages of each type of pension option: secured pensions, UFPLS, capped and flexi-access drawdown | drawdown to drawdown transfer

Module 10 (16 minutes)
Drawing pension benefits – part 2 Phased retirement | advantages/disadvantages of phased retirement | FCA requirements, e.g. risk warnings | vulnerable customers | Consumer Duty | Pension Wise

Module 11 (17 minutes)
State pensions State pension age | pre- 6 April 2016 rules | post- 6 April 2016 rules | foundation amount | triple lock guarantee | state pensions credit |Bereavement Support Payment

Module 12 (24 minutes)
Retirement planning Accumulating pension savings | pension fund investment | client objectives | ESG and sustainable investing|  accessing pension benefits | tax planning | alternatives to pensions, e.g. ISAs and sale of a business

Module 13 (23 minutes)
Crammer module This consists of the summaries of the previous modules.


To read about 3 tips to pass the R04 exam that everyone should know, click here

To access free R04 practice questions, click here