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Certificate in DC Governance

The aim of this qualification is to provide an understanding of the requirements and standards of governance relating to defined contribution workplace pension schemes. It is suitable for those running, advising on or governing workplace pension schemes including:

  • Members of governance committees
  • Trustees and scheme secretaries
  • Associates or Fellows of the PMI who qualified when the examinations were focussed on the requirements for defined benefit schemes
  • Individuals working in allied professions such as legal, investment and actuarial
  • Consultants advising on pure DC schemes (trust and contract) and those whose defined benefit schemes include for example AVC arrangements
  • Independent Financial Advisers
  • Administrators (including providers and master trusts) of pure DC schemes (trust and contract) and those whose defined benefit schemes include for example AVC arrangements
  • Those who have completed the PMI’s Certificate in Pensions Automatic Enrolment, Retirement Provision Certificate or Certificate in Pensions Essentials.


The syllabus areas are grouped under fourteen main headings.

  1. Distinguish between the different methods of providing and delivering DC pensions and the different benefits and options
  2. Evaluate why an employer might choose either a trust, master trust or contract based arrangement
  3. Understand the roles and functions of the bodies that regulate workplace DC pension schemes and provide assistance or protection to members and employers
  4. Outline recent developments in legislation and forthcoming changes that will impact on DC pension provision
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the automatic enrolment requirements
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the governance structure in DC arrangements
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of risk management
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of decision making and the role of professional advice
  9. Understand the Pensions Regulator’s and DWP’s approach to DC governance and quality standards
  10. Understand the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory approach to DC Quality Standards
  11. Understand the administration requirements for  DC arrangements
  12. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of effective member communications and engagement
  13. Demonstrate an understanding of the National Association of Pension Funds Pensions Quality Mark 'PQM'
  14. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of trustees and employer and provider governance committees in choosing and monitoring investments

Click here to download a detailed copy of the syllabus.

Studying for the examinations

We are delighted to be working with Willis Towers Watson and Mayer Brown as Study Support Partners to produce a comprehensive study manual and online tutorial support.

The study manual and online tutorial support is designed for self study. It is recommended that 40-60 hours should be spent on study before sitting the examination.

Revision courses are available (subject to demand) one month before the examination sitting.


Examiner report 2019:

Click here for the DC Governance Examiner report for September 2019.

Revision Course Dates:

  • Certificate in DC Governance: 10th September (9:45-12:45)

Please submit an Autumn 2019 application form to the qualifications team to enrol on to the above resion courses.

How is the Certificate in DC Governance assessed?

The Certificate in DC Governance is assessed by a 90 minute examination. The examination will be in the form of 60 multiple choice questions including some multiple true false questions designed to test knowledge across the syllabus.

The examination is marked as PASS or FAil (and an indiction willl be given if you were within 5 marks of a PASS).  We, as with other awarding bodies, do not offer a breakdown of marks, or individual feedback on scores.

PMI Membership

It is a compulsory requirement to be a member of the PMI to sit the examination.  Candidates (who are not already PMI Members) will become Affiliate Members of the PMI.  Candidates who successfully complete the qualification will be entitled to apply to become Certificate Members of PMI and use the designation CertPMI after their name.

Please click here for more information about PMI membership.

Customer service

The PMI is committed to providing a customer-focused and professional service to all its approved assessment centres, students and candidates taking any of our qualifications.  Please click on the attached links for details of all of our commitments to you.

Customer Service Statement

Equal Opportunities Statement

Further information

Contact the MCQ Coordinator James Cumine on jcumine@pensions-pmi.org.uk or on 020 7392 7400.



  1. DC Governance Syllabus 2017/18


  2. Qualification Fees 2020

    A summary of qualification fees for 2020.