2018 Judging Panel
Jenna Brown is an award-winning journalist with more than ten years' pensions and financial services experience. She is deputy editor of Professional Adviser and editor of Retirement Planner.
MD Carr Consulting
CEO Protection Review
Kevin has been in the financial services industry since 1993. Following three years providing mortgage advice on the high street, he progressed through several roles with independent protection specialist LifeSearch including Head of Protection Strategy and Director of Public Relations. In 2008 Kevin joined PruProtect (now VitalityLife) as Director of Protection Development, a role which included all aspects of protection business including sales, marketing, product development and public relations. A previously qualified IFA and mortgage adviser Kevin is a well-known industry figure who speaks regularly to the media and at conferences on all matters related to protection. Kevin is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and has won many industry awards including accolades for protection advice, business strategy, influence and PR. In 2006 Kevin was voted Protection Adviser of the Year and also the UK's Best Financial Services Press Officer.
In 2007 Kevin was voted the 2nd most influential person in the UK protection industry of the last ten years. Kevin is Managing Director of PR and consultancy firm Carr Consulting & Communications, CEO of Protection Review and Co-Chairman of the Income Protection Task Force. A keen Arsenal fan he has also been known to play keyboards in various bands over the years.
Head of Global Distribution
Ian joined Liontrust in February 2017 as Head of Global Distribution, having previously been Sales and Marketing Director at Miton Group. From 2007 to 2013, Ian was Managing Director of PSigma Asset Management, a UK equity income boutique that he co-founded, and before that was Managing Director of Credit Suisse's UK Retail fund management business. Ian was also with Henderson for eight years and has an English degree from Leeds University.
Professional Standards Director
Chartered Insurance Institute
Melissa Collett is Professional Standards Director at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), leading its professional standards, ethics and conduct activity as a united profession across insurance and financial planning. She is also responsible for the professional body's legal affairs, risk management, disciplinary matters and governance. She is keen to raise awareness of best practice and drive ethical behaviour through engagement with the profession and external stakeholders.
Melissa has an extensive background in consumer insurance and legal issues. She spent over a decade at the Financial Ombudsman Service, was a Director at Fairer Finance and sits as a Tribunal Judge. She is also qualified solicitor, and specialised in insurance law at Hogan Lovells. She is a frequent speaker at insurance conference and events, sits on judging panels, and is the author of numerous articles and publications on consumer insurance law subjects.
Head of Communications
Chase de Vere
Patrick Connolly is Head of Communications at Chase de Vere, the Independent Financial Advisers. He has 26 years of experience in the financial advice industry and is qualified as a Chartered Financial Planner through the Personal Finance Society and a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered MSCI through the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. He was named as the Financial Adviser of the Year, Investment Adviser of the Year, At Retirement Adviser of the Year and Value of Advice Ambassador at the Unbiased Media Awards 2017.
Founder & Director
Cathi is the Founder & Director of Para-Sols, an outsourced paraplanning firm and sister company, Apricity, a new compliance firm launched at the end of 2017. She has been in financial services since leaving university and holds both the Chartered and Certified Financial Planner status as well as being a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society.
Cathi splits her time across both companies - supporting her team and clients on a daily basis, managing the strategy and focussing the growth for both Para-Sols and Apricity as well as championing female leadership within, and external to, financial services. Outside of work, she loves nothing more than spending quality time with her young family and is a travel junkie.
Heather Hopkins is founder and MD of NextWealth, a research business that helps financial institutions adapt to what's next in wealth.
Heather has worked in the field of market research, competitive intelligence and industry benchmarking for two decades in North America, Asia and Europe.
She has spent most of her career in financial services helping asset managers, platforms and financial advisers improve their propositions, customer communication and to benchmark success against competitors. She was Head of Platforum until December 2017 and has also worked in digital marketing at Hitwise and Econsultancy.
Pension Technical Manager
Jessica has been with the Curtis Banks Group for seven years, having joined Suffolk Life in 2011. She's worked in various roles, including the SIPP Support team helping customers with general queries and the Product Technical team working on projects to deliver legislative changes and delivering staff training. As the Group's Pension Technical Manager she now focuses on helping advisers, presenting on technical issues and writing for the press. She has been a regular contributor to Retirement Planner since 2016.
Magenta Financial Planning
Julie Lord is a Chartered and Certified Financial Planner at Magenta - a specialist Financial Planning company that helps its clients build plans for future security and happiness.
She was an Institute of Financial Planning Board member for 15 years and is a former President. She has been a member of the FSA Training Advisory Panel; Chairman of the IFP Education Committee and member of the ISO working party and is keen to ensure that all professional advisers are well qualified to deliver the best possible advice to the public.
As well as being a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments, and a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, Julie has won numerous Financial Planning awards and is a regular writer and presenter of financial issues in the trade and public press.
She is very passionate about providing the best quality advice to clients and ensuring that Financial Planning businesses are embracing the best possible practices in order to deliver this effectively and profitably.
Victoria is a reporter, focusing on investment, at Professional Adviser. She joined the publication in August 2016, after studying French and History at the University of Warwick.
Outside of reporting the latest news in financial advice, Victoria enjoys running and going to gigs.
Sally is a specialist financial and professional services communications consultant working for Four Broadgate. With 20 years of experience, she has worked with clients in asset and wealth management, hedge funds, investment services, foreign exchange and trading. Sally holds the investment management certificate and joined Four Broadgate in 2004, having worked in PR, marketing and advertising roles for M&G, Henderson Global Investors and GAM
Helen joined Royal London in May 2017 and creates content and comment across a range of personal finance topics. Before this she was a journalist for 18 years and specialised in retirement issues. She edited trade titles Professional Pensions and Retirement Planner. In 2016 she was voted Pensions Journalist of the Year by the Investment Association and Institutional Journalist of the Year in the Kames Capital Journalism Awards.
Technology & Technical Ltd
Kim has worked in UK financial services for over 35 years. During this time, she provided consultancy to over 100 financial services companies. She's a columnist and an industry judge for many awards. In the early 1990's she created consultancy Pretty Technical Partnership and later founded Pretty Financial a London City based IFA. She has been consultancy head of compliance for 3 major companies and currently works with a Chartered and Certified IFA business and a leading pensions actuarial consultancy.
Chair and Co-founder
Clare is Chair and co-founder of strategic communications consultancy Lansons, set up in 1989. Voted Best City (Financial) Agency by PRCA, Lansons was ranked 15th best Medium Size Workplace by the Great Place to Work Institute, the 14th year in a row to be in the Top 50. Leading the agency's international business, Clare is Global Chair of PROI Worldwide, the first woman in its 48 year history.
Clare is Trustee of HighTide Festival Theatre; a member of the 30% Club championing diversity inclusion; is on the advisory group of The Supper Club and Trustee Recruitment Pathways. Clare was recognised with the Stephen Tallent Award by the CIPR for her contribution to the PR industry, where she was made a Fellow, and she was a Real Business Magazine's Top 100 Women UK Entrepreneurs alumni.