The Financial Planning Association of Australia The Financial Planning Association of Australia

Young planner wins first Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award

The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) has today announced Erin Shields of Dixon Advisory as the winner of the inaugural Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award.

Gwen Fletcher Award winner Erin Shields and FPA CEO Mark Rantall

Gwen Fletcher Award winner Erin Shields and FPA CEO Mark Rantall

Mark Rantall, CEO of the FPA, congratulated Ms Shields on taking out the award, which was handed to her for being the highest achieving student in last semester’s CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Certification Program. He said he hopes her commitment to pursuing the CFP accreditation sets a precedent for other aspirational and driven financial planners.

“On behalf of the FPA I want to formally congratulate Erin and acknowledge her commitment to raising the overall standards of the financial planning profession.

“Now, more than ever, it is important that we continue to forge ahead along the path to professionalism, which we first embarked on some twenty years ago. CFP accreditation is one of the key tools to prove indefinitely, to peers and clients alike, that our commitment to professionalism, excellence and expertise is unfaltering.

“While this is a journey that the FPA continues to lead the wider financial services industry on, it was Gwen who really started us on this path – it was Gwen who brought the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation to Australia back in 1990,” Mr Rantall said.

As the first winner of the award, Ms Shields said she was honoured and grateful to be recognised in the memory of “such an incredible woman” – the late ‘First Lady of Financial Planning’.

Speaking about the personal meaning of this award and the importance of CFP accreditation, Ms Shields said: “ CFP certification is a magnificent achievement because it is one of the few programs that truly sets you aside from others in the field.

“It not only illustrates that you have the necessary practical experience and technical expertise, but it also highlights that you have a moral backbone and commitment to professionalism. It is one thing to practice all those things in your day to day working life but to be formally recognised for it is extremely motivating. It also helps to be able to tell clients that you hold the highest professional designation available globally.

“Being named as the first winner of the Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award is a huge achievement for me. Not only does it acknowledge the hard work I have put into the course, it also reminds us all of one of the most important woman in financial planning, not just in Australia but across the globe. I applaud the FPA for driving the recognition of Gwen and her work, and I see my job now as continuing along the path that Gwen forged.

Mr Rantall concluded by noting that the next round of enrolments in the CFP Certification Program are now open and he encouraged those considering the qualification to commit to their own professional development.

“The benefits of CFP accreditation are indisputable. We know that the CFP designation is the most commonly cited credential by consumers when looking for a financial planner1. Our research also shows that 67% of financial planners surveyed believe that the CFP designation would have a positive impact on their reputation2; and that on average CFP professionals earn $35,000 per annum more than other financial planners3.”

The next Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award will be announced on 14 November 2014. Each award is valued at $1,000, and is funded by the FPA. The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Certification student who achieves the highest mark in all three required assessments each semester will receive the award.

Enrolments in next semester’s CFP® program are now open. Find out more.

1 Investment Trends August 2012 Advice and Limited Advice Report
2 Investment Trends April 2012 Planner Business Model Report
3 Investment Trends FPA Professional Dividend Report September 2012