Outstanding financial planners recognised at 2019 FPA Congress

The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) announced the winners of the 2019 FPA Awards, Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award, and FPEC Research Grant Award at the Future2 Celebration held during the FPA Professionals Congress in Melbourne this evening.

Now in its seventh year, the FPA Awards recognise the achievements of outstanding financial planners, paraplanners, students and practices, and celebrate the individuals and businesses who go above and beyond to support their local community through pro bono and volunteer work.

The winner of the coveted FPA CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Professional of the Year Award is Andrew Dunbar CFP® of Apt Wealth Partners in Melbourne, VIC. The award acknowledges Andrew’s commitment to making a positive and meaningful difference to clients by living the ‘client-first’ principle.

FPA CEO Dante De Gori CFP® said, “Andrew is passionate about helping clients who are going through challenging times and are at their most vulnerable, such as when they have complex family needs. He is an active participant in the FPA’s Cancer Council Pro Bono Advice program and a range of other charities.

“Andrew also contributes regularly to thought leadership programs by writing financial education guides, presenting at educational events, and mentoring less experienced financial planners in his firm. He is a strong advocate for the value of financial planning, and is a wonderful ambassador in leading our profession through change,” said Mr De Gori.

The winner of the FPA Professional Practice of the Year Award is Capital Partners Private Wealth Advisers of Perth, WA. With an advice process structured around client understanding and delivering on service promises, Capital Partners brings a clear set of guiding principles which focus on the financial capacity and empowerment of its clients.

Winning the FPA Financial Planner AFP® of the Year Award for 2019 is Crystal Bobir AFP® of Tupicoffs in Brisbane, QLD. The judges commented that Crystal has clearly excelled in her client relationship skills and critically, was able to demonstrate how her advice was in the best interests of her client. Crystal has the skills that new financial planners aspire to have, and has a natural ability to simplify complex matters for her clients.

The FPA Paraplanner of the Year Award was given to Lachlan Haigh of Tupicoffs in Brisbane, QLD. The judges commented that Lachlan’s Statement of Advice (SOA) submission clearly shows excellence in paraplanning, including demonstration of how his work and research made significant improvements to the client’s situation. Lachlan’s supporting documents showed that his research was thorough and well documented, and that he put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that he went above and beyond to achieve a great outcome for the client.

The FPA University Student of the Year Award was given to Graeme Morris of Griffith University, QLD. Graeme was commended for his strong University Grade Point Average (GPA), being a University Financial Planning scholarship recipient and his involvement in extra-curricular activities. These include his membership of the Griffith University Association of Commerce Society, his internship and part-time work in the profession, relationship with his local FPA Chapter and being an active member of the FPA Emerging Professionals Network.

The Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award recognises the highest performing student in the final unit of the CFP® Certification Program. Nicky Dwyer CFP® from UniSuper Management in Adelaide, SA, is the 2019 Semester Two winner of the honorary award named after the late “first lady of financial planning”, Gwen Fletcher.

Mr De Gori said, “To receive the Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award is a significant achievement because the rigorous CFP® Certification Assessment requires students to be at their absolute best. Nicky’s results reflect her commitment and dedication, and I congratulate her on her outstanding efforts.”

The winner of the FPA Community Service Award supported by the Future2 Foundation is Zacary Leeson CFP® of HPH Solutions in Perth, WA. Zacary wins this Award for the second year as he has taken on the role of President with Future2 Grant Recipient Leading Youth Forward (LYF). Zacary has demonstrated a long-term commitment to LYF, dedicating time and effort to working with the children and their families.

New to 2019, the Future2 Foundation Grants Committee presented an additional FPA Community Service Award which went to Louise Wegner-Parker AFP® of Morgans Financial in Brisbane, QLD. Louise endorsed a winning 2019 Future2 Grant for Micah Projects, a charity dedicated to providing services and opportunities for communities in need, specifically winning for their Young Mothers for Young Women project. Louise has worked with Micah Projects for six years.

The Financial Planning Education Council (FPEC) announced two Research Grant Award winners, sponsored by NAB. Research team Associate Professor Tina Cockburn TEP, Dr Kelly Purser TEP and Dr Sherrena Buckby of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) won for their research titled ‘The role of financial planners in preventing, recognising and responding to elder financial abuse’.

The second (equal) winner of the FPEC Award is research team Dr Tracey West, Mr Richard Olley and Dr Tom Verhelst of Griffith University, QLD for their research titled ‘Quantifying the dynamics of elder abuse’. Each grant winning team was awarded $5,000.

Mr De Gori said, “High quality academic research into financial planning is very important to the profession as it raises the profile and standing of the industry, both in the community and at a policy level. Both of this year’s winning research projects will add significantly to the body of work on the important issue of elder financial abuse.

“FPEC recognises the valuable support of NAB in sponsoring this year’s program and is calling for more sponsors to join NAB and FPEC to support and expand the 2020 academic research program.”