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Strength lies in service, says ifa award winner

Chris Smith, this year's ifa Excellence Award winner, said he credits much of his success to his team at VISIS Private Wealth.

The adviser, who also won the Best Client Servicing (Individual) award, said providing good customer service in every aspect of the business is what has kept the company alive.

"I think anybody here that's an adviser would realise that client service is what keeps us here. We can't do it without our team that starts at reception and goes all the way through to support staff, para-planners, advisers and general managers," Mr Smith said at the ifa Excellence Awards event last week.

"So this is for everybody that works at VISIS and the support they give me every day. Thank you to ifa for continuing to carry the torch. I think anyone that puts a submission in every year for this is only going to increase the spotlight on independence. I think that's good for all of us."

The ifa Excellence Awards celebrate best practice advice provision and business acumen in the independently-owned sector of the financial planning market. Mr Smith was chosen from among the winners of the individual adviser awards.

Over 350 of the nation's top advisers and industry executives gathered at Doltone House on Jones Bay Wharf for the second annual ifa awards, created to recognise professional excellence and highlight the sector's top individuals and businesses.

Russell Stephenson, head of wealth at Sterling Publishing (publisher of ifa), said the awards are a strong endorsement of the important work being conducted by independent and non-aligned advice professionals across the country, helping people to achieve their financial goals.


"The calibre of the entries this year is testament to the strength of the IFA market and I would like to congratulate all the finalists and the winners," he said.

Other winners announced are:

• Industry Thought Leader: Santi Burridge, Implemented Portfolios

• Practice Principal of the Year: Ravi Agarwal, MEDIQ Financial Services

• Boutique Firm of the Year: VISIS Private Wealth

• Dealer Group of the Year: GPS Wealth Ltd

ifa Editor's Choice Award: Charles Badenach, Main Street Financial Solutions

• Best New Licensee: Astute Financial Services

• Best Client Servicing (Company): Modoras Financial Performance Solutions

• Best Client Servicing (Individual): Chris Smith, VISIS Private Wealth

• Innovator of the Year (Company): Infocus Wealth Management

• Innovator of the Year (Individual): Philippa Sheehan, MyPlanner Australia

• SMSF Adviser of the Year: Chris Morcom, Hewison Private Wealth

• Multi-service Practitioner of the Year: Ravi Agarwal, MEDIQ Financial Services

• Risk Adviser of the Year: Aaron Zelman, MediBroker

• Investment Adviser of the Year: Cameron Howlett, Moran Howlett Financial Planning