This year's award saw a list of diverse yet high-calibre financial planning professionals emerge into the finals. Money Management congratulates all the finalists for their excellence and commitment to the industry.
Sarah Riegelhuth, managing director, Wealth Enhancers
Sarah Riegelhuth was born into financial planning. She ran the family financial planning business alongside her father, Paul Riegelhuth, before opening her own practice in 2009.
Although she has a diverse client base, Sarah specialises in servicing young, high income-earning professionals. She is particularly passionate about helping young women to realise their potential and achieve financial independence.
In 2011, she became the youngest board member in history of the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and helped launch the AFA Female Excellence in Advice Award.
She also co-founded the League of Extraordinary Women, an organisation which connects young female entrepreneurs and creates a forum for learning and support.
The support quickly spread nation-wide, with interest also coming from New Zealand and the US.
Sarah founded her business Wealth Enhancers with her now fiancé, Finn Kelly, who won the Money Management Young Achiever of the Year 2012 award earlier this year.
Her book Get Rich Slow is due to be published early next year.
James Kenny, authorised representative, Tupicoffs
James Kenny started his career at one of the big four banks when he was only 17 years old.
After gaining experience in a number of different areas he decided that financial planning was where he wanted to steer his career path.
He left the corporate financial planning world in 2006 to pursue a role which would allow him to provide a more personalised service and a holistic approach to financial planning.
Although he mostly services wealthy professionals, James has been providing pro-bono services to clients in need for the last six years.
Over the last two years he devoted a lot of his personal time to the Financial Planning Association (FPA) as the deputy chair and treasurer of the Brisbane Chapter.
He is on the FPA universities and sponsorship subcommittees, and has actively supported the Griffith University Professional Degree for Financial Planning.
In 2011 he was awarded the FPA Certified Financial Planner Best Practice Award for Brisbane and was also the runner-up to the national winner.
Claire Mackay, senior wealth adviser and partner, Quantum Financial Services
Claire Mackay and her brother Tim were introduced to financial planning at a very young age.
She was helping her father with the family practice while studying accounting and learning the trade on the job.
In a bid to better understand the industry, she made a strategic move into investment banking before finally joining Quantum.
She now holds a triple degree and is qualified to work in financial planning, accounting and law.
Claire is deeply involved in running a non-bank-aligned financial planning business and is actively encouraging professionalism in the industry through various committees.
She also spends part of her time providing pro-bono services to those receiving welfare payments, women and defence force personnel.
Claire graduated from the Royal Military College holding the rank of Lieutenant (now inactive) in the Australian Army.
She also volunteers on the Sydney Chapter Committee, and the technical working and marketing committees within the FPA.