AFA and Asteron Life Announce AFA Excellence in Education Award Finalists


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SYDNEY: 23 August 2017 – The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and Asteron Life (Asteron) have announced the 2017 Finalists for the AFA Excellence in Education Award (the Award).

The finalists are:






Jonathan Chong             

Goodwin Financial Services

Financial Adviser


Justin O’Donoghue

Vintage Wealth



Bradley Smith

Smith Wealth Partners

Director & Adviser


Helen Russo

Encompass Wealth – Financial Life Planning

Financial Planner


Michael Ward

Maxim Private Wealth


Nick Hakes, General Manager Member Services, Partnerships & Campus AFA, said this year’s finalists are investing heavily in their own academic and technical education but they are also investing in new frontiers of knowledge such as psychology, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.

“Through our research, we have discovered that communication and interpersonal skills are the skills that time and again, consumers have indicated they value more highly in advisers than any other quality,” he said. “It is pleasing to see that our finalists for this year are investing in knowledge that they can apply directly to their client conversations to help the client better understand the strategy that is being recommended to them.”

Mr Hakes said the financial advice profession is currently at an inflection point and now has the opportunity to redefine and rethink financial adviser education.

“To date, the industry has favoured an education pathway that is not reflective of what actually happens in an advice practice,” he said. “We now have the opportunity to start a revolution in financial adviser education, to build an education pathway that is reflective of what happens. Along with building academic knowledge and technical expertise, this pathway will help advisers develop the interpersonal skills they need in order to deliver what clients want most. We congratulate all our finalists on being at the forefront of that movement.”

The 2017 Excellence in Education Award Winner will be announced at this year’s AFA National Adviser Conference on the Gold Coast 11–13 October, and will receive a $25,000 education scholarship from Kaplan Professional.

Asteron Life Executive Manager Daniel Waller said, “Congratulations to the five finalists who have shown an outstanding commitment to ongoing education. Further education enables advisers to raise their professional standards and therefore the quality of their advice which in turn has positive impacts on their clients, their peers and the overall profession.”

Finalists of the Award are chosen for their commitment to professional development through continuing education and making a difference within the marketplace and their local community through the practical application of their knowledge and expertise.

Candidates are judged on the quality of their written nomination. Judges then conduct phone interviews with shortlisted candidates. Candidates are also given a weighting across four award criteria, including:

•         50% on formal education

•         30% on practical application of education

•         10% on contribution to one’s industry through education

•         10% on contribution to one’s community through education


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About the AFA

The Association of Financial Advisers Limited (AFA) has been the authentic voice on the value of financial advice for over 70 years. Today, the AFA is a vibrant, innovative association, where the underlying driver of policy is the belief that great advice transforms lives. To this end the AFA is striving to achieve the vision of Great Advice for More Australians. The AFA’s ongoing relevance as a professional association is derived from its success in engaging with the major stakeholders in financial advice including advisers, consumers, licensees, product and service providers, and the regulator and government. Culturally the AFA believes in the value of collaboration to create powerful outcomes and this drives how we achieve influence and work towards our vision.