The Society of Financial Advisers (Sofa), the leading body promoting professionalism, has again teamed up with Money Marketing to deliver the industry's premier awards for financial planners and advisers.
The Sofa Awards 2001, the Oscars of the financial services sector, are a true recognition of excellence in fin- ancial planning and advice.
There are eight awards in total. Each of the seven category award winners will take home £163.1,000, while the top prize for the overall Society of Financial Advisers' Financial Adviser of the Year is £163.5000.
The awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the new Millennium Britannia Hotel in London's West End on October 8, 2001.
The awards are based on a series of hypothetical case study scenarios, prepared by Taxbriefs. Each scenario is holistic in approach but focuses on a different life stage in the financial planning cycle.
The categories are:
1: Planning your estate.
2: Planning for employee benefits.
3: Planning for income in retirement.
4: Planning for lump-sum investment.
5: Business planning for retirement.
6: Planning for your home.
7: Planning for health protection.
Entering for the awards
You are required to make recommendations to the imaginary client in the case study as though you were advising one of your own clients.
The case studies test your ability as a financial adviser to give all-embracing advice. They are technically challenging and designed to allow you to demonstrate your financial planning expertise.
Technical accuracy and imagination, clarity of thought and sound presentation are expected.
You can find all seven case studies, an entry form and full entry details on the Sofa website at www.sofa.org.
But each week, in the run-up to the awards, Money Marketing will publish a case study and entry form – this week, the study and form are on page 68.
A unique feature of the Sofa awards is that all entrants will receive feedback from the judges on how their entry matched up to the model solution prepared by Taxbriefs on behalf of Sofa.
The feedback will be sent to entrants after the awards ceremony.
Judging the category awards
Sofa will nominate professional members (MSFA/ ASFA/FSFA) to judge entries in each category in the competition against the model solution. They will select the top three entries in each category, and these will go forward to the next stage.
The judges will be looking for the following:
A clear statement of the rationale behind the recommendations.
Accurate technical detail.
Statistical analysis and data to support recommendations.
Creativity in the financial planning advice offered.
Clarity of thought in the presentation.
A clear, structured and well presented report.
Judging the Sofa Financial Adviser of the Year
The top three shortlisted entries from each category will be considered for the Sofa Financial Adviser of the Year 2001 title by a panel of judges.
The panel will be made up of three judges including Keren Milton, Sofa director (director, Marsh Financial Services) and Danby Bloch, director, Taxbriefs. The finalists will present their case study to the panel on September 24-25, 2001 in London.
The winning entry will be published in Money Marketing, as will the entries from each of the category winners. Details of all finalists will also appear in Money Marketing.
The Sofa Fellowship, Associateship and Member Awards
The awards ceremony provides an opportunity for Sofa to make three other very special awards to its highest-achieving Fellow, Associate and Member.
The awards are made to the individual who has attained the highest average mark in his or her AFPC examinations on their route to Fellowship, Associateship or Membership. Only marks for AFPC examinations are counted-marks for subjects which have led to exemptions or credits from AFPC examinations are not. If you are an FSFA, ASFA or MSFA-it could be you.
The winners of these awards will be invited to join Sofa at its table at the awards ceremony at the Millennium Britannia Hotel.
The Corporate Awards
Sofa is also offering two corporate commitment to professionalism awards-the Sofa IFA Nationals Award and the Sofa IFA Network Award.
These two awards are won, respectively, by the firm and by the network which demonstrate that organisation's corporate commitment to prof- essionalism through the number and quality of its entries.
These awards – based on the individual entries from registered financial advisers within a particular firm – will be judged on:
The highest number of entries as a percentage of the total number of registered financial advisers in that firm/network.
The excellence of the quality of those entries.
IFA Nationals = any firm which employs over 60 registered financial advisers.
IFA Network = any network of firms where the firms are not directly regulated.