The 2017 FPA Awards spanned the country from east to west and north to south, with winners from Mackay, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth unveiled at the 2017 FPA Professionals Congress on Thursday.
Perth’s Capital Partners featured in the awards twice, once as FPA Professional Practice of the Year, and in an individual award for Capital financial planner Michael Hayward as 2017 FPA Certified Financial Planner (CFP) of the Year.
Capital was assessed by a judging panel* as “a leader in the promotion of professional advice, and an industry thought-leader, with a focus on educating clients”.
The judges also commended Capital for its investment in people and for a sustained and significant contribution to the community. The firm is led by managing director David Andrew and holds its own Australian Financial Services licence.
The FPA recognised Capital’s Hayward for his individual dedication to excellent client service, innovative ideas around presenting clients with a one-page Statement of Advice (SoA) supplement, and his role as a mentor.
As an adviser, Hayward said, his role is “to help busy families take the worry out of money, to provide greater clarity and confidence in their future plans and, ultimately, to enable the people I help to live a happy and enriched life”.
In a statement, FPA chief executive Dante De Gori said Hayward “knows that trust and respect is earnt through excellent client service. His reputation has been built on the service he has provided over the past 13 years within his practice.”
The 2017 FPA Financial Planner AFP of the Year was Patricia Soares Garcia, an adviser based in the Bowen Hills office of WB Financial, part of the Commonwealth Bank-owned Financial Wisdom group.
The FPA stated that Garcia has “demonstrated that quality advice is more than solutions and strategy – it’s also about coaching clients to feel more confident and empowered”.
Garcia has worked in financial services since 2008 and came to financial planning via a stint as an investment associate for a venture-capital investment firm.
Adriana Brink, From the Mackay, Queensland firm of Alman Partners, was named the 2017 FPA Paraplanner of the Year. The FPA stated that Brink “demonstrates a true client-first ethos to her work; and her technical skills and ability to execute complex strategies was noted by the judges”.
Brink joined Alman Partners in 2015 after moving from Townsville, and is undertaking the CFP program.
Next Level Financial Services director and senior financial adviser Michael Forer achieved the highest performance in the final unit of the CFP certification program in Semester 2 and was the winner of the 2017 Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award, which is named for a pioneer of the financial planning industry in Australia.
Forer already holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Monash University and a graduate diploma in financial planning. He joined Next Level in August last year and previously worked in a senior technical advice role.
Griffith University added to its strong recent history of producing great financial planning graduates, with Azaria Bell being named 2017 FPA University Student of the Year. The FPA stated that Bell’s award recognised her “academic excellence and commitment to becoming a future leader within financial planning”.
Bell is attending Griffith on a scholarship awarded by Stonehouse Group, an advice firm with offices in the Brisbane central business district, Indooroopilly and Sydney.
Reuben Zelwer, from Adapt Wealth Management in Melbourne, was named 2017 Future2 Community Service Award winner, recognising his role in ”educating and empowering those experiencing personal and financial hardship within the community organisation Jewish Care Victoria”.
Zelwer has more than 15 years’ experience as a primary adviser to clients. The FPA stated that over the last 10 years he has “dedicated his time to setting up and growing the financial services support offered to this community, including valuable programs such as a financial counselling service and financial literacy for high schools students”.
The FPA also announced awards for fundraising attached to the Future2 Wheel Classic bike ride and three hiking challenges added to this year’s congress.
The award for individual fundraising went to Tony Sandercock, principal of financial planning firm wetalkmoney. The team fundraising award went to technology vendor IRESS.
Mark Thelwell, formerly of IRESS, won the Perpetual Purple Pedal Award for the Wheel Classic’s most courageous rider.
The fundraising award for participants in the 2017 hiking challenges was shared by the husband and wife team of Anne and David Graham, from Story Wealth Management in Melbourne.
The 2017 version of the Wheel Classic and the hiking challenges have raised $130,000 so far.
* Note: Simon Hoyle was on the judging panel for the FPA Professional Practice of the Year award.