For RDR purposes, evidence of Continuing Professional Development must be undertaken on an annual basis meeting RDR requirements to obtain an SPS. To obtain an SPS from the CISI, this CPD must be recorded on the CISI RDR CPD Scheme or that of a CISI Accredited Firm CPD scheme.


The CISI has its own CPD Scheme that is free to members and enables advisers to demonstrate they have met the RDR CPD requirements. The CISI will only accept CPD recorded on its CPD scheme or CISI Firm Accredited CPD Scheme

CPD Relevance for members affected by RDR

The main RDR CPD requirements are as follows:

  • A minimum of 35 hours CPD must be logged each year.
  • A minimum of 21 hours CPD must be Structured CPD.
  • All RDR CPD needs to include learning objectives and learning outcomes.
  • CPD has to relate to the Retail Investment Market and to the Retail Investment Adviser role. As such some of the CPD that is submitted as part of CPD entries may not be suitable as RDR CPD if it relates to the wholesale market (for example) or not to the Retail Investment Adviser's role. Please note CPD undertaken in mortgages is not relevant.
  • To apply for an SPS, your CPD year must close within three months of your SPS application.

CISI CPD Activities

All CISI CPD event and online activities undertaken with the CISI are automatically updated to within a members record within the CISI CPD Scheme. This does not mean that every activity will be relevant to each individual adviser as it depends on their role. If a CISI CPD activity has been logged as relevant for RDR, but the adviser does not work in this specialist area, it is therefore not relevant CPD for them and the adviser must amend this entry. Visa Versa, if an activity has not been recorded as being RDR relevant and the activity is relevant to the members retail part of their role, members are able to edit the entry and make it relevant via the CPD Scheme.


During the current pandemic, we expect firms to continue to demonstrate that their advisers remain competent to carry out their work. We expect most advisers will be able to continue to complete CPD whilst on furlough or working from home.

The CISI has increased its range of online activities to assist members in meeting their CPD requirements. Which members can access via their MyCISI portal.

Exceptional Circumstances

The FCA has recently given guidance on exceptional circumstances recognising that they could be exceptional circumstances when advisers may have difficulty completing the required minimum CPD hours. The following circumstances can count as ‘exceptional’:

  • When advisers during the current pandemic:
    • are needed to carry out extra duties to manage risks, and/or to provide support, to consumers and businesses during the current situation
    • have caring responsibilities, such as having to care for a partner, child, parent, grandparent or sibling
    • have difficulties accessing CPD material, for example, due to technical difficulties or unavailable material, and
  • Where it is not realistic to expect the individual also to fulfil the CPD requirements.

We remind firms that they are rules in place for long-term illness implications, as described in TC 2.1.17.

In these exceptional circumstances’ firms can allow an adviser to complete the remainder of their CPD hours for their current CPD year in their next CPD year. For example, if an adviser who is required to complete a minimum of 35 hours of CPD, has completed 25 CPD hours and has two months left of the current CPD year, the firm may allow them to transfer 10 hours to their next CPD year. This means that in the next CPD year the adviser will need to complete 45 CPD hours. This can be structured or unstructured.

Firms experiencing these current circumstances should email the CISI Policy Team at policy@cisi.org. The email request should be submitted by the firm, and should include, the reasons for the request, the hours completed and hours to be deferred, including the customer number(s) of the affected adviser(s). Please note we will also require the firm to confirm, that the adviser(s) is/are competent for the purposes of TC2.1.1R. to undertake their role.

This applies for CPD years ending before 1 April 2021.

CPD exceptions

There are some exceptions to the RDR CPD requirement. Advisers considering the basic format are strongly encouraged to check their firm’s own policy regarding this issue.

Newly qualified advisers who are applying for an SPS before their 30 month deadline will not be required to meet the specific CPD requirements for their first SPS application. Newly qualified advisers who decide not to meet the CPD requirements will receive a basic SPS, rather than a standard SPS.

Firms can suspend the requirement for continuing professional development for the period of time during which the employee is continuously absent from work, if that absence is due to an absence allowed in order for the firm to meet its statutory duties in relation to equality and diversity (which the employee is continuously absent from carrying on or supervising the relevant activity). The CISI will therefore allow advisers to apply for a basic SPS, which does not require the RDR CPD requirement to be met, if the adviser has been absent from work for six months (or longer) during the preceding 12 months of their CPD year and at the adviser’s firm’s discretion.

Please note there are no CPD exceptions for qualified advisers who are either returning to the profession, are on gardening leave or unemployed. The FCA has confirmed that any advisers who fall into these categories, must meet the full RDR CPD requirements before an SPS can be issued.

More information about RDR CPD

A CISI CPD booklet is available and incorporates information about RDR and continuing professional development (CPD). It can be viewed online.

A chart detailing different types of acceptable Structured and Unstructured CPD is available here.