Liz Booth explores how the efforts of financial advisers and journalists to improve financial resilience during these challenging times have been celebrated
Covid-19 meant this year’s Personal Finance Awards were virtual but the event was as entertaining as always and shone a light on the amazing things being achieved by members of our profession.
Speaking at the virtual awards ceremony, PFS president Sarah Lord urged the profession to unite to increase the strength and sustainability of the financial advice profession, particularly during this tough time.
In choosing ‘building a strong and sustainable future for our profession’ as the theme for her year as president of the professional body, Ms Lord reflected on the impact the pandemic has had on the economy, the jobs market and personal lives and why now, more than ever, clients need support with managing their personal finances.
At the event, hosted by ITV presenter Stephen Mulhern, Ms Lord said: “We need to focus on how we continue to come together as a profession to thrive – not just survive – for many years to come. I am passionate about promoting financial planning as a profession to the younger generation and providing the right environment to train and develop the next generation of financial planners.
“Our Aspire Apprenticeship programme is a great way to attract new talent and at the same time provide opportunity to school leavers who have been hit so hard by the pandemic.”
She stressed: “Sustainability isn’t just about attracting, developing and retaining talent; it is also about sustaining our relationships with our clients. One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is transitioning client relationships from planner to planner. During the course of my year as president, we will start to share more good practice on how to do this with the clients of today.
“We also need to continue to think about developing relationships and providing services to clients of the future. For many of us, the clients we have today were once our clients of the future.”
Celebrating this year’s crop of worthy winners, Ms Lord named Paradigm Norton Financial Planning as the PFS’s Chartered Firm of the Year. One of the key factors in the judges’ choice was Paradigm Norton’s work with local debt charities, delivery of education workshops to schools, and the way it adapted to the challenges created by Covid- 19.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Paradigm Norton, which has offices in London, Torquay and Bristol, contacted all clients to find out what technology they wished to use for virtual advice sessions and delivered webinars that were viewed by hundreds of clients.
Judges were also impressed by Paradigm Norton’s graduation scheme, the approach taken by the business to diversity and inclusion, plus the way feedback is sought from clients on the service they receive.
Barry Horner, chief executive of Paradigm Norton Financial Planning, said: “For us to win this award is fantastic, as it says we are an exemplar of a good financial planning business.
“Culture is key at Paradigm Norton. Our four values are the heartbeat of what we do: people matter, setting the bar high, actions speak louder than words, and building for the future. We want to be a foundation stone in the building of a global financial advice profession.”
Picking up the individual award for Chartered Financial Planner of the Year was Robin Melley of Matrix Capital.
Mr Melley impressed the judges with his specialist knowledge, engagement with pro bono initiatives and drive to deliver excellent outcomes for his clients.
Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, said: “The Personal Finance Awards celebrate excellence in the financial planning profession.
“Financial planning can transform people’s lives for the better and I congratulate the businesses and individuals who won an award for their outstanding achievements and excellent work during these challenging times.”
Watch the Personal Finance Awards by clicking here: pfsawards.org/awards-ceremony
Liz Booth is contributing editor of the PFP
Image Credit: Shutterstock
This year's winners
- Chartered Financial Planner of the Year – Robin Melley, Matrix Capital
- Chartered Financial Planning Firm of the Year – Paradigm Norton Financial Planning
- Paraplanner of the Year – Jenni Currell, Lockhart Capital Management
- Mortgage and Protection Specialist of the Year – Rousseau Khan, PLZ – Finance & Mortgage Management Company
- Investment Specialist of the Year – Simon Watts, Boolers
- Retirement and Later Life Specialist of the Year – Sebastian Elwell, Switchfoot Wealth