Judging Panel

Sarah Ackland

Head of UK Funds


Sarah has been at Architas since 2014 and was promoted from head of UK proposition to head of Architas UK funds in September 2017. Sarah has responsibility for all commercial aspects of the UK business including distribution, proposition and business development.

Before joining Architas Sarah spent the previous seven years as a sales director at Thomas River Capital and then F&C after its acquisition. Sarah previously worked in an offshore role for Friends Provident International as manager of the funds marketing and research team with responsibility for its international funds range. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Liverpool Hope University and holds the Investment Management Certificate.

Ray Adams


Niche IFA

Ray Adams is a practising Chartered Financial Planner, Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, Chairman of Niche IFA and Director of both AdviserBook and CashCalc - the UK's leading provider of cashflow planning software. Ray is a strong advocate of training the next generation of financial advisers and believes technology can play a vital role in the financial planning process.



Martin Bamford


Bamford Media

Martin Bamford is a Chartered Financial Planner and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society. As managing director of Informed Choice, he is responsible for leading a team of 15, with offices in Surrey and Hampshire. Martin is also CEO of Bamford Media, a newly formed creative agency working with financial services professionals to drive engagement and retain ideal clients.

Leanne Barnham

Head of Global Distribution Marketing


Leanne joined Architas in 2011 and is currently Head of Global Distribution Marketing. Within her role, Leanne is responsible for the marketing and communications activity for Architas across Europe and Asia. Leanne has 19 years' experience within marketing, 13 years within asset management.



Julie Best

Qualitative Researcher


Julie Best is qualitative researcher at NextWealth and has 12 years' experience in retail financial services. Julie was formerly head of research at business-to-business publishers Incisive Media and Centaur Media, specialising in the financial advice market. At NextWealth, Julie focuses on broadening and deepening the firm's knowledge of financial advice and planning businesses through structured interviewing and gathering of market intelligence.



Remko Bijtjes

Commercial Director


Remko Bijtjes joined Defaqto Group as Head of Sales in March 2007. Remko became Business Development Director, and was appointed to Defaqto's Board, in June 2007. He is now Commercial Director and is responsible for all sales, marketing and training activity within Defaqto.

Lisa Conway-Hughes

Chartered Financial Adviser

Westminster Wealth Management

Lisa Conway-Hughes is a Chartered Financial Adviser and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society. Lisa is also the author of Money Lessons and is a regular media contributor, blogger (via and has a podcast called "She's On The Money".



Jason Flood

Academy Director

St. James Place Wealth Management

Jason Flood, Academy Director, St. James Place Wealth Management

Hannah Godfrey

Senior Reporter

Professional Adviser

Hannah is deputy editor of Retirement Planner and senior reporter at its sister title Professional Adviser, websites built to bring UK financial advisers the latest news, analysis and opinion from industry-leading experts and journalists, both owned by Incisive Media.

Hannah joined the company in 2016 on the graduate scheme and was told she would be reporting on pensions - a 23 year-old at the time, it was not a subject she knew well. She has since reported extensively on all things retirement, including issues surrounding the British Steel Pension Scheme, defined benefit transfers and the self-invested personal pension market.
Before embarking on a career as a journalist, she spent four years at the University of Sussex, first studying International Relations for her

undergraduate degree, followed by a masters in International Management.



Ben Goss


Dynamic Planner

Ben Goss BSc MA is CEO of Dynamic Planner and heads the Executive Management Team. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, with more than 20 years’ experience at the forefront of financial services. Ben co-founded Distribution Technology (DT) in 2003 to apply the lessons he has learned about how FinTech can be used to support the provision of high quality, suitable investments and advice to all through advice firms. Dynamic Planner has grown to become the leading provider of risk and asset allocation-based investment process to IFAs.

Previously, in 1998, he co-founded Sort, the UK’s first online investment adviser. Sort took off, delivering regulated advice to more than 1,000 people a day before being sold to the largest online adviser in the US in 2000. In setting up Sort, Ben qualified as a financial adviser. Previously, Ben was a strategy consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He studied at the University of Bradford in the UK and Indiana University in the US where he was a MacArthur Foundation Scholar. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.

Ben is a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and winner of the Deloitte UK Fast 50, which recognises the 50 fastest-growing UK tech companies. He has been widely quoted in the trade and national press including The Times, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph, and he has blogged for The Huffington Post. He is the author of Catching the FinTech Wave, published in 2017, a guide to adopting FinTech and transforming financial planning firms. He is a regular speaker at industry events, including the Treasury’s International FinTech Conference on his passion for helping advice firms deliver suitable investments and advice using Dynamic Planner.

Cathi Harrison

Founder & Director


Cathi is the Founder & Director of Para-Sols, an outsourced paraplanning firm and sister company, Apricity, a 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.

In 2019, Cathi launched The Verve Group, incorporating Para-Sols and Apricity, as well as new business The Art of Finance, which provides training courses in financial services.

Adam Higgs

Head of Research

Finance & Technology Research Centre

Adam is Head of Research at the Finance & Technology Research Centre. He currently leads F&TRCs protection research and benchmarking which aims to help advisers better understand and compare the quality of protection products via their Quality Analyser software. Adam also oversees FTRCs adviser software insights study that provides an overview of the technology used by advisers and key players in the market and writes regularly for the trade press on both protection and technology related subjects.

Dawn Hyams

Senior Consultant

The Wisdom Council

Dawn Hyams is a senior consultant to The Wisdom Council, working with clients across the wealth and asset management sectors to embed customer engagement into business strategy and the product life cycle. Prior to her consulting work, Dawn amassed over 20 years' experience in financial services and now specialises in product governance and investor insight. Dawn talks to retail investors and intermediaries on a regular basis about all things pensions, investing and financial planning. Dawn sat on the FCA's Fund Objectives Working Group representing the voice of the consumer and leads TWC's work with the Investment Association.

Sophie King


Professional Adviser

Sophie is the latest recruit on Professional Adviser's team. She has been a reporter since September 2018 and has reported on several events and conferences already, including PA's inaugural conference PA360. Prior to PA, Sophie completed a masters in Magazine Journalism at Cardiff University. She has since reported on all things pensions, regulation and diversity.





Jacqueline Lockie

Head of Financial Planning

Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI)

Jacqueline is the Head of Financial Planning at the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI).

She has worked in the financial services sector since 1988 in technical and training roles and also as a paraplanner and financial planner.
She is a Fellow of the CISI and holder of the internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner Licence, for which she was one of the first examiners in the UK.

Jacqueline was previously Head of Training at the Association of Investment Companies where she designed and delivered technical training to wealth managers, investment managers and financial advisers. Prior to that she was the Director of Training and Education for the Institute of Financial Planning, where she designed, wrote and delivered new courses for financial advisers wishing to enhance their investment and financial planning skills and paraplanners to learn the methodology of financial planning.

As Head of Financial Planning at CISI, her responsibilities include care of the financial planning community at CISI, various conference content, running of the financial planning team at CISI to ensure delivery of our Financial Planning Corporate Supporter sponsorship and exhibitor benefits and grow the profession of financial planning in the UK. She also liaises internationally with other CFP affiliate bodies in 25 countries to progress the profession on a global scale. Jacqueline also has a press presence and regularly writes articles and comments on financial planning related news and events in the UK.


Keith Richards

CEO and Managing Director

Personal Finance Society and Chartered Insurance Institute

A recognised leader within the financial services sector, Keith has over 30 years experience operating at executive level across manufacturing, distribution and regulation for Insurance and Financial Planning. He has an established media profile and is a visible figurehead within the financial services sector, regularly called upon for comment both home and abroad by various organisations, including Trade and National media.

John Somerville

Relationship Director

The London Institute of Banking and Finance

John has worked in Regulated Financial Services for the last 25 years and has worked as a Financial Adviser, Regional Manager and Account Manager for leading financial services companies such as Aviva, Legal & General and AXA. John was previously the Regulated Learning and Development Manager at Nationwide Building Society and prior to this was a Regulated Learning and Development Consultant at Intrinsic Financial Services.

Laura Thursfield

Independent Financial Adviser

Mazars LLP

Laura is an FCA-authorised Independent Financial Adviser at Mazars LLP. Laura is responsible for Midlands-based clients worth £53 million in assets under management, and has experience advising a wide range of private clients, from senior partners, directors and business owners through to independently wealthy individuals. As BYPY 2018, Laura has acted as an ambassador for Birmingham and is committed to improving the financial literacy of the city, in particular working alongside our inner city schools to develop key skills and self-development opportunities. Alongside studying her Executive MBA at Aston Business School, in the past year Laura has been named ‘Rising Star' at the Women in Financial Advice Awards, named in Citywire's Top 35 Next Generation Advisers 2018 and named #6 in Accountancy Age '35 Under 35'.

Sarah Waring

Client and Proposition Director

Quilter Private Client Advisers

Sarah has worked in financial services for the last 10 years, following the achievement of her First Class Honours degree in Mathematics. She started her career as a graduate trainee in 2005, and became a qualified adviser a year later. In 2008, she was awarded with the Financial Times' ‘Newly Qualified Adviser of the Year' award. Sarah joined Quilter Private Client Advisers in July 2015 as a Regional Director, with the responsibility of growing the Chester Team.



Kate Webber

Managing Director, Head of Product Development


Kate joined Calastone in 2014 and is responsible for the global product set of the organisation. Kate and her team manage both Calastone’s existing product and future product set from idea inception through development and the creation of sales collateral. Kate is also responsible for many of our industry relationships particularly across the UK and Europe.

Kate has over 25 years of experience in Asset Servicing roles, including asset manager, management consultancy and Transfer Agency firms before joining Calastone. Kate enjoys working on solutions to reduce the frictional cost of trading which is so important to the end customer and the future of the industry.