Categories and criteria:

1) Excellence in Business Strategy View criteria

Advisers in every region are faced with the challenges of rising client expectations, tough markets and enhanced regulation. This award is for those firms that have excelled in the transformation required to meet those challenges. The key focus of entries should be:

• How the firm has created a comprehensive three to five year strategy
• Staff engagement in delivering the strategic objectives
• How it has embraced regulation and good corporate governance
• Evidence of consistent profitable growth

2) Excellence in Professional DevelopmentView criteria

Top quality professional staff are a key element in any successful adviser firm. Regulators demand the achievement of certain qualifications but the most successful firms go beyond that and create a professional development strategy for all staff at every level of the business. Entries should demonstrate:

• Alignment of professional development with the firm’s strategic objectives
• Investment in staff training and development
• Benchmarking against external standards
• Proportion of staff achieving relevant professional qualifications


3) Excellence in Client ServiceView criteria

Clients expect advisers to offer advice and solutions perfectly matched to their needs and provide top class service. Expectations in these areas have risen steadily and advisers have developed a more sophisticated understanding of their customer base as a result. This will be demonstrated in entries through:


• Successful segmentation of the firm’s customer base
• Innovation in the areas of client profiling
• Consistent levels of client retention
• Client focused fulfilment, communication and support

4) Excellence in Marketing and Client EngagementView criteria

Reaching potential clients and sustaining effective communication with existing clients is an opportunity for firms to set themselves apart from their competitors. Among the features of a successful entry should address are:


• How a marketing programme has reached new markets/clients
• Use of innovative multi-media techniques
• Development of a content marketing strategy that focuses genuine client engagement
• Evidence that marketing strategies have supported referral programmes and deepened existing client relationships

5) Excellence in Data ManagementView criteria

Collecting and managing data is a key requirement for a modern business. Effective data management delivers enhanced, focused customer service, identifies new markets and improves business efficiency. These elements will be demonstrated by the winning entries, in particular:


• Creation of a central database(s) with the detail to demonstrate true knowledge of clients
• Evidence of how data management has delivered better customer segmentation
• Innovative data management techniques to extract greater value from data sets
• Development of rigorous data management policies to ensure compliance and effective protection of customer data

6) Excellence in Social MediaView criteria

Social media is transforming the way people engage with business and commerce, including their financial advisers. It is an area fraught with regulatory, compliance and ethical issues but firms that want to engage with the modern client need to cut through these. A successful social media strategy will comprise:


• An understanding of the platforms your clients use and engage with you on
• A clear focus on genuine engagement and appropriate measures of success
• Development of an effective social media policy that is responsive and compliant
• Evidence of success

7) Excellence in Investment PlanningView criteria

The best adviser firms have left the era of stock and fund picking behind and adopted new approaches investment planning. These offer a range of solutions to clients backed by coordinated investment strategies and consistent financial planning processes. Among the key features of these will be:


• Fund selection and portfolio building that addresses clearly assessed client objectives
• The use of appropriate tools to assess clients and their attitude to risk
• A thorough approach to due diligence and de-risking portfolios
• Achievement of consistently above average client satisfaction ratings through high levels of service, investment advice and customer support.

8) Best Adviser Firm – by regionView criteria

The leading adviser firms have a comprehensive, business-wide strategy for profitable growth and development. They will have a consistent track-record and can demonstrate sustained success across the business


• Successful development and delivery of a business strategy
• Evidence of profitable growth and development of client base
• Demonstrable customer centricity and best practice
• Excellence in compliance and risk management