SOLLA News and Views

05 February 2019

Congratulations to SOLLA member Vanessa Townshend. Awarded the title of Retirement and Later Life Specialist of the Year 2018 at the Personal Finance Society awards


Vanessa Townshend, director of Preston-based financial advisers Springfield Financial Services, has been awarded the title of Retirement and Later Life Specialist of the Year 2018 at the Personal Finance Society awards, held at the O2 Intercontinental Hotel, at a black-tie dinner, on Thursday 22nd November.  The awards were hosted by broadcaster and presenter Clive Anderson.

Having come second at the awards for the past two years, Vanessa has said “I am delighted and honoured to be recognised as Retirement and Later Life Specialist of the Year 2018.  Winning this award, against such tough competition from all over the country, is the highlight of my career.”

SOLLA caught up with Vanessa and wanted to ask her why she entered the awards year on year and what benefits she has seen from doing this sort of marketing activity?

1. Why did you enter the PFS awards? 

To me, the PFS awards are one of the most prestigious industry awards for financial advisers.  Specialist Adviser awards were introduced three years ago and I have entered the Retirement and Later Life Specialist award each year since.  For the past two years I have been second, third time lucky! 

2. Was it a difficult process to go through?

The process definitely requires some commitment.  Initially, there is a 500 word summary to explain why you believe you are a specialist in the area entered.  This includes information about your qualifications, CPD and anything else that makes you a specialist.  Once through the initial stage a case study is sent through to shortlisted entrants.   You have 3 weeks to submit a response.  This year’s case study had two parts 1) later life and 2) retirement.  Each case study had 5 questions/tasks.  The Later Life case study focused on estate planning and the rules for gifting as an attorney.  The retirement case study focused on death benefits and spousal bypass trust within a pension.  My response totalled 7,500 words (22 pages).  A significant amount of time was spent researching and writing my response (several days).

3. What was the most challenging question you answered?

In relation to death benefits and the use of a spousal bypass: Q state any tax implications she should bear in mind.  This question is massive!  Pre 75/Post 75, discretionary trust taxation depending on the underlying investment, exit and periodic charges, reclaim of trust tax by the beneficiary if they pay at a lower rate… with no word limit the consideration is how much detail should you include. 

4. What benefits have you seen from the award win?

I am delighted to have won and want to ensure that as many people know as possible – clients, prospects, providers.  Anyone that will listen!  We get enquires through the internet so trying to ensure it is visible on the net is important.  Winning awards differentiates me, and Springfield Financial Services, from all of the other advisers.  We have already sent an article to the local press, local Chambers of Commerce and we have been active on social media too. Details of the award will be included on our website and I will proudly display the logo on my e-mail footer.