Viv Belcher from Hornbuckle Mitchell Group in Cheshire was the winner of the first annual IFA Woman ...
Viv Belcher from Hornbuckle Mitchell Group in Cheshire was the winner of the first annual IFA Woman of the Year Awards, at a glittering award ceremony in Canary Wharf last night.
Hosted by the Women's IFA Group and organized by Fiona Price of Fiona Price and Partners, the 250-guest event was designed to highlight and promote the talents of women IFAs in a male-dominated financial services industry.
Around 60 women IFAs entered the competition, before the short list was reduced from 10 to five finalists.
After a rigorous three-round final judging process, all five candidates were praised for their professionalism and knowledge in what has been described as "possibly the toughest IFA competition in the UK".
Among other criteria assessed, candidates all showed advanced technical knowledge, a holistic approach, integrity, a strong professional image in the eyes of clients , strong self-esteem as well as the ability to "balance life with work".
Finalists, between them, hold the highest financial planning qualifications. Two are Fellows of the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), one is a Fellow of the Society of Financial Advisers (SOFA) and two are Certified Financial Planners.
Saran Allot-Davies from Heron House Financial Management in Cardiff was runner-up while remaining finalists were Elaine Birch from Grosvenor Birch Financial of Southampton, Julie Lord from Cavendish Financial Management in Cardiff (also former IFP president) and Marlene Shalton of Chamber Morgan James in Cardiff.
A highlight of the judging process, according to short-list candidates, was the second of three final round judging sessions which required each contestant to complete a case study assessing the financial position and needs of "Peter Williams playing the part of a 54-year old woman who had just been dumped by her husband".
Since the judging process and final grilling in front of the seven judges, all five candidates say they since refined business processes and the environment at their own companies because the tough stance of questions asked allowed them to take an alternative view of the way a firm is run.
Judges for the event were:
Fiona Price, WIG Chairperson
Rory Percival, T&C Director, Fiona Price & Partners
Jeff Prestridge, Financial Mail on Sunday
Peter Williams, Head of Industry Development, Aegon UK
Fay Goddard, Director of Policy & Technical Services, AIFA
Ashelye Sharpe, Head of Money Research, WHICH?
Amanda Davidson, IFA / Director, Holden Meehan.
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