Retirement Planning Awards 2024 Retirement Planning Awards 2024

AI Global Media, Ltd. (AI) takes reasonable measures to ensure the quality of the information on this web site. However, AI will not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or completeness of any information that is available through this web site. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. The information available through the website and our partner publications is for your general information and use and is not intended to address any particular finance or investment requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us or any of our partner publications and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making or refraining from making any investment or financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party named in the site is at your sole risk and responsibility. Editorial Team Sofi Parry, Senior Editor | Rebecca Scotland, Editor | Emily Godbold, Writer | Joshua Beardsmore, Writer Matthew Wright, Writer Design Team Lauren Baldwin, Graphic Designer | Haeri Jung, Junior Graphic Designer Wealth & Finance International is thrilled to announce the return of the 3rd annual Retirement Planning Awards! The Retirement Planning Awards 2024 aims to acknowledge the outstanding achievements and best practices of the retirement planning industry. These awards are organised by Wealth & Finance International, a global platform that provides the latest information on up-to-date market trends and advice on all things related to finance and fund management. The awards are open to all professionals and organisations that contribute to the pensions and retirement income sector. Whether you are a financial advisor who assists consumers in planning for their retirement, a pension plan provider or fund manager who offers retirement savings and investment solutions, or a technology provider who supports the administration and delivery of retirement benefits, you are eligible to enter and compete with the best in the business! Sofi Parry, Senior Editor Retirement Planning Awards 2024

Contents 4. McCrea Financial Services: Full-Service Financial Advisory Firm of the Year 2024 – Scotland & Excellence Award for Mortgage Advisory Services 2024 McCrea Mortgages 6. State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan: Leading Providers of State Pension Information 2024 - Azerbaijan & Excellence Award for Transformative Social Protection & Digital Engagement 2024 8. Lifetime Retirement Income: Best Retirement Wealth Management Firm 2024 - New Zealand 10. Krim Associates: Most Strategic Retirement Planning Firm 2024 - New Jersey 11. AdviserAsset: Most Innovative Financial Consolidation Software Provider 2024 - UK 12. Bank Syz: Most Innovative Wealth Planning Practice 2024 - Switzerland 13. Markland Hill Wealth: Financial Planning Firm of the Year 2024 - Northern England 14. Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors: Best Retirement & Estate Planning Company 2024 - Midwest USA 15. Crystal Lake Tax & Financial: Financial Planning Firm of the Year 2024 - Illinois

4 | Wealth & Finance Retirement Planning Awards 2024 Full-Service Financial Advisory Firm of the Year 2024 – Scotland After years of working for several renowned financial institutions, Douglas McCrea recognised the need for a bespoke service that covers all aspects of financial planning for individuals and SME business owners. McCrea Financial Services offers retirement planning, pensions, and investments in addition to unbiased financial advice. At McCrea, the team understands that people need good financial planning and guidance. When handling individuals’ finances, the team considers a long-term approach to working with clients not only at the onset but through every stage of their lives. Within the retirement sphere, McCrea has fostered a supportive environment where clients can prosper for years to come. As retirement doesn’t have a specific timeframe, the business must remain abreast of industry developments to ensure it stays in a desirable financial position. With its diligent team of experienced professionals, McCrea has become renowned as the best option for financial advice in Scotland. Douglas McCrea says, “Our expert advisers can take the pain out of planning your retirement, liaising with pension and investment providers on your behalf and developing clear recommendations to discuss with you. Our personalised approach to planning retirement for our clients ensures they can structure their retirement plans based on their priorities, current situation, and level of comfort with financial risk.” In the UK Finance Awards 2023, McCrea Financial Services was named the ‘Most Client-Focused Financial Services Firm – Glasgow’ with judges sharing that the firm “truly understands the meaning of connecting with its clientele.” McCrea is dedicated to continually reviewing its processes, systems, and technologies to increase efficiency and offer effective communication. The business has recently agreed a deal to become part of the OneFourNine Group and is eager to share the benefits of being part of a UK-wide group with its clients. The future for McCrea will involve further innovation in the realm of client-focused independent financial planning. At McCrea Financial Services, its overarching mission is to find sustainable solutions to industry challenges such as the attraction and recruitment of talented young advisers and paraplanners. With a strong team behind the company, McCrea can deliver consistent customer satisfaction and ensure its services are working at maximum capacity. Priding itself on excellent client relationships, the team strives to make every client feel recognised and valued. McCrea places emphasis on getting to know clients’ interests which allows the firm to hold related events such as its yearly McCrea Golf Day where clients are invited to a day of golf, competition, prizes, and food. Douglas McCrea says, “A large amount of our client referrals come from our sponsorships with local sports teams such as Glasgow Warriors and Partick Thistle. For clients who have an interest in and support these teams, our sponsorships allow us to host them at the teams’ home matches, allowing our advisors to spend quality time outside of the office with their clients, helping to build and strengthen relationships. We are also able to regularly give away signed merchandise, as well as host various unique events where clients and their families are able to meet the players and see behind the scenes. ” Additionally, McCrea Financial Services is passionate about charitable causes and giving back to its local community. Since 2008, the company has raised over £700,000 for charity through a wide range of events such as Charity Golf Days, Charity Dinners and Wine Tastings, Charity Race Nights, and individual staff charity fundraisers. In the 2023/24 fundraising year, McCrea raised £43,060 for its charity partners, the Emma Cameron Foundation and Glasgow Care Foundation, which saw the company win the ‘Best Community Service Endeavor’ award from the MFS Supplier Awards in 2023; the award recognizes the work that Financial Service Organisations do in the voluntary sector. McCrea have recently announced their two new charity partners for the coming year, who are Revive MS Support, a local charity in Glasgow who provide nationwide support for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis by helping them manage the physical, emotional, social and financial impacts that come with a diagnosis, and the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, a charity who help to provide the best possible care for young patients at Scotland’s largest children’s hospital by funding life-changing equipment, support services and research. With its wealth of industry experience and dedicated team, McCrea Financial Services is well-positioned to provide lifelong financial planning and offer professional, friendly advice to clients. Adopting a holistic approach, the team strives to listen deeply to clients’ goals and aspirations and work with them to achieve a stable financial future. McCrea is passionate about building trusting relationships to support clients on their personal financial planning journey. Looking to the future, McCrea will continue to evolve its services to meet individuals and SME business owners’ unique financial requirements. For its fully independent services, we have bestowed on McCrea Financial Services our award for Full-Service Financial Advisory Firm of the Year – Scotland. Contact: Ross McCrea Company: McCrea Financial Services Web Address: Mar24022 Established in 1999 by Douglas McCrea, McCrea Financial Services works with clients across all areas of financial planning to help them secure their financial futures. As an Independent Financial Advisory business, the firm provides a comprehensive range of financial planning services as well as transparent market advice on all mortgage and protection matters. Recognised in this year’s Retirement Planning Awards, McCrea Financial Services provides a first-class service to its valued clients to help them start their financial planning journey.

Excellence Award for Mortgage Advisory Services 2024 McCrea Mortgages McCrea Mortgages, a sub-brand of McCrea Financial Services, was established to assist with a wide range of mortgage requirements. Whether clients are first time buyers, looking to remortgage, or simply looking for overall mortgage advice, the subsidiary is dedicated to supporting individuals through every stage of the house buying process. For its hassle-free mortgage solutions, McCrea Mortgages has received this year’s Excellence Award for Mortgage Advisory Services. - For most people, a mortgage is the largest financial transaction they will undertake and receiving the right advice is crucial. With many different mortgage products to choose from, McCrea offers an honest assessment of clients’ needs and recommends the best deal for their individual circumstances. After a full review of a client’s financial situation and objectives, the firm will suggest a product option to suit their needs considering how long they have to repay it over, when it will need reviewing, and more. As an independent advisor, McCrea Mortgages can assess the entire mortgage market including exclusive deals that clients cannot find by going direct. Boasting decades of experience in providing transparent mortgage advice, the team is uniquely positioned to simplify the process from start to finish. With its holistic approach to finance, McCrea is available to talk through protection options and create plans to maintain a mortgage should a client be unable to make payments. McCrea also provides advice on specialist areas including purchasing additional property and lifetime mortgages. P&E R. from Glasgow, share their experience, “McCrea Mortgages were absolutely fantastic with myself and my wife. The full process was made so easy. From start to finish, the communication was faultless. We were never left uninformed and the advice and speed of replies to questions was incredible. We wouldn’t consider going through the mortgage process again without their help.” For those looking to review or remortgage their homes, McCrea Mortgages helps clients explore new mortgage deals from its unrivalled selection of lenders. Working up to six months before the end of a client’s current deal, the firm can organise for a new mortgage to be in place exactly when they need it. McCrea works with solicitors, surveyors, and other professionals to streamline the process and ensure clients have exceptional mortgage protection. McCrea understands that the ability to maintain mortgage payments can be easily affected by unforeseen circumstances such as serious illness, injury, or the unexpected death of a loved one. During difficult times, McCrea is here to help safeguard clients’ homes with a suite of mortgage protection and insurance options to choose from. Protection on offer is dependent on several factors, including whether a client has a repayment or interest-only mortgage, how dependent a family is on any one individual’s income, and other insurance/estate/ inheritance tax planning arrangements. With McCrea’s comprehensive approach to financial planning, clients can find the best protection for their home and loved ones. McCrea Financial Services prides itself on its ability to continuously review all areas of a client’s finances including investments, mortgages, protection, and pensions. The firm does not consider a mortgage as simply a loan to buy a home but as part of clients’ overall financial profile. This allows individuals to tie in their mortgage with other important life events such as starting a family, moving house, or an intended retirement date. The expert team at McCrea Mortgages is dedicated to offering honest guidance and recommendations to help clients find the best solutions to support them through the house buying process. As a subsidiary of McCrea Financial Services, McCrea Mortgages can assess mortgages through the lens of clients’ financial planning journey to support them in their future endeavours. Following its achievement in our Retirement Planning Awards, McCrea Mortgages will continue to help clients seamlessly navigate the mortgage process and protect their homes for years to come. Contact: Ross McCrea Company: McCrea Financial Services Web Address:

6 | Wealth & Finance Retirement Planning Awards 2024 Leading Providers of State Pension Information 2024 - Azerbaijan & Excellence Award for Transformative Social Protection & Digital Engagement 2024 State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan In the Republic of Azerbaijan, qualified retired citizens have access to social insurance, social protection schemes, and security benefits. The government also supports professionally active individuals (employees, self-employed people, farmers, and civil servants), their family members, and some assimilated groups. SSPF works with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Azerbaijan by helping citizens to access labour pensions, social benefits, targeted state social allowance, grants, compensations, and much more. After the collapse of the USSR, Azerbaijan experienced several severe social, economic, and political issues. In 2020, SSPF introduced a centralisation policy in an effort to increase citizen satisfaction and wellbeing. The policy strives to streamline business processes in social security and eliminate barriers to legal services. The centralisation policy represents a shared vision and trust by ensuring that services remain efficient and transparent. Through this policy, the State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan strives to empower the population and create opportunities for individuals to prosper. “One of the main goals of the centralisation policy is related to the transition to a service model i.e. the Fund has targeted the transition from an ‘administrative entity’ approach to a ‘citizen-servicing’ model. The centralisation policy allows citizens to clarify their information on the basis of their access to social benefits and make the social benefit assignment targeted as well as more efficient and transparent.” Access to social security and social benefits is a fundamental human right and all people have the right to receive clear information on social security entitlements. SSPF supports the population of Azerbaijan to ensure they receive this vital support by determining entitlement, calculating benefits, and arranging payments. Azerbaijan’s social insurance system offers pensions, unemployment benefits, health insurance, and other social benefits. SSPF helps to manage entitlements such as compulsory state social insurance, labour pensions, targeted state social assistance, social insurance, social benefits, grants and compensations, state mandatory personal insurance, and voluntary social insurance. By leveraging digitalisation, the Fund helps people access services electronically from anywhere in Azerbaijan. SSPF works hard to ensure that citizens are treated fairly and can access the benefits they are entitled to. SSPF has developed a clear strategy to overcome challenges citizens face such as obtaining relevant documents and information about social benefits, forged documents and fraud, unfair or inaccurate assignments of social benefits such as pensions and allowances, and more. State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan acts as a bridge between government and citizen to ensure the fair and accurate circulation and distribution of social benefits, improve the decision-making process, increase social security satisfaction, and participate in the ISSA Recognition Programme. The International Society Security Association (ISSA) is an international organisation that pursues excellence by bringing together national society security administrations and agencies. The ISSA has created professional guidelines and provides its members with vital support to help them develop forward-thinking social security systems and policy. SSPF strives to meet its social and economic responsibilities and help citizens access the support they need. The latest Report of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Azerbaijan 2022 shares that 802,000 people were able to access social benefits grants. Additionally, citizens were assigned 171,000 pensions, allowances, and grants. The effects of inflation and financial aid saw pensions increase by 11% in 2022. These results show that the population of Azerbaijan are currently benefiting more from the Fund than ever before. As governmental support for SSPF continues to grow, the Fund has been able to offer greater social protection to Azerbaijan citizens. Over the coming year, the State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan will continue to provide unparalleled value and enhanced wellbeing to the country’s populace. Since the centralisation policy came into act, SSPF has worked closely with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic The State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan (SSPF) is a governmental agency that operates in the field of compulsory state social insurance and voluntary social insurance. The Fund is an essential part of citizens’ retirement planning, helping them to access social benefits such as pensions and allowances. We take this opportunity to find out more about the State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan as it is recognised in this year’s Retirement Planning Awards.

of Azerbaijan to make business processes in social security more effective and provide access to essential legal services. SSPF’s support of the government and population is testament to the organisation’s dedication to its valued citizens. For the agency’s commitment to the protection of the entire Azerbaijan population, State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan has received two accolades at this year’s Retirement Planning Awards. Contact: Fahmin Hajizada Company: State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan Web Address: State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan

Empowering Kiwi Retirement: Lifetime Retirement Income’s Path to Financial Security Best Retirement Wealth Management Firm 2024 - New Zealand Lifetime Retirement Income (Lifetime) is a luminary in New Zealand’s retirement income arena. With a diverse portfolio boasting over a billion NZD in funds under management and a loyal clientele exceeding 16,000, it is deeply committed to empowering retirees to maximise their post-work lives. Lifetime offers an array of innovative solutions that allow Kiwis to embark on their retirement journey with confidence, security, and peace of mind. New Zealanders benefit from a universal government-funded pension, New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super), which plays a pivotal role in Kiwi retirees’ post-work income. Yet, despite its importance, NZ Super rarely covers all of retirees’ day-today expenses, leading to what is commonly referred to as the “retirement income gap.” This disparity has become even more acute amid spiralling living costs, meaning the need for supplementary income solutions tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of individual retirees has never been more pressing. Enter Lifetime Retirement Income. Lifetime’s guiding mission is simple - to bridge the retirement income gap and foster worryfree living for senior Kiwis. Central to this mission is the development of a suite of pioneering solutions and services that not only address the immediate financial needs of retirees but also provide a sustainable source of income throughout retirement. At the forefront of its offerings is Lifetime Home, slated for launch in early 2024. This innovative product represents a paradigm shift in how retired homeowners across New Zealand can access the wealth tied up in their homes. By providing a simple and secure means to receive regular income payments based on a portion of their home’s value, Lifetime Home offers retirees the opportunity to augment their retirement income without the need to sell their home or incur debt. The launch of Lifetime Home represents a significant milestone in Lifetime Retirement Income’s journey to empower Kiwis in retirement. As the country’s first and only debt-free home equity release product, Lifetime Home provides retirees with a reliable source of supplementary income, allowing them to enjoy a comfortable, choice-filled lifestyle without compromising on the security of homeownership. Lifetime’s commitment to deciphering the complex equations at the root of retirement income planning is further exemplified by its Lifetime Income Projection tool, a revolutionary product launched in January 2022. Lifetime Income Projection turns the highly technical, yet fundamental disciplines and principles underpinning all retirement income calculations into a simple tool accessible to all retirees. Drawing upon core concepts devised by the New Zealand Society of Actuaries (NZSOA), this innovative resource empowers individuals to calculate their own retirement income with ease and accuracy. By integrating essential variables such as investment returns, mortality assumptions, and personal demographics, Lifetime Income Projection enables retirees to craft personalised retirement income plans tailored to their unique circumstances. Complementing the Lifetime Income Projection tool is the flagship Lifetime Retirement Income Fund, a comprehensive solution designed to manage investment assets, distribute income, and safeguard capital throughout retirement. By bridging the gap between theory and practice, this integrated approach revolutionises the way individuals plan for their financial future, offering retirees unparalleled confidence and security. Chelsea Devlin, Lifetime’s Chief Marketing Officer, conveys the company’s unwavering commitment to retirees’ financial well-being: “Lifetime is dedicated to providing retirees with peace of mind and confidence in their financial future. Our team of industry experts is passionate about helping our customers navigate retirement with ease and security.” Lifetime’s dedication to innovation extends beyond product development to encompass a holistic approach to retirement income planning. By offering personalised solutions tailored to individual needs and circumstances, Lifetime Retirement Income ensures that retirees can navigate the complexities of retirement with confidence and peace of mind. Lifetime Retirement Income’s combination of market-leading products and services and a team of enthusiastic professionals unified in their unwavering commitment to deliver for customers has positioned it as New Zealand’s premier retirement wealth manager. With a focus on excellence and innovation, Lifetime continues to redefine

9 | Wealth & Finance Retirement Planning Awards 2024 the retirement income landscape, offering retirees unparalleled support and expertise as they embark on their next chapter in life. We are proud to bestow Lifetime Retirement Income with an award that celebrates this excellence fittingly. Contact: Chelsea Devlin Company: Lifetime Retirement Income Web Address:

10 | Wealth & Finance Retirement Planning Awards 2024 Most Strategic Retirement Planning Firm 2024 - New Jersey Established in 1990 by Principals Richard Krim and Scott Krim, Krim Associates is a third-generation family-run practice that has become known for its ability to educate its clients in a comprehensible manner, equipping them with the knowledge they need to pursue their financial objectives. The firm’s team of expert advisors possess a wealth of experience when it comes to creating innovative planning and investment strategies. They also boast a thorough understanding of the problems and challenges that clients face in various planning scenarios. This enables them to deliver the best information and advice, empowering clients to make educated decisions. As a family-run business, Krim Associates understands the importance of retirement planning and how it can affect not only the individual but also their close family members. For this reason, it strives to put the client first, considering their needs in everything it does. Whether they are investing to build wealth, protect their family, or preserve their assets, the firm goes above and beyond to offer tailored services. “Our goal is to provide superior long-term strategies and solutions and incorporate each client’s individual needs into every recommendation,” David explains. “In the retirement space, it all starts with understanding the client’s goals and objectives and deriving a plan that fits their specific requirements.” Operating within the competitive field of financial planning, it is important for Krim Associates to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of the latest products, services, and planning ideas in the industry. The financial world is constantly changing, so the firm believes that financial professionals must be “lifetime learners”. For this reason, its team spend a lot of time educating themselves through classes, seminars, discussions with industry leaders, whitepapers, and more. Leveraging this knowledge, Krim Associates works to remain agile, constantly seeking to understand why certain methods that have worked in the past may not work in the future. Its team are determined not to blindly accept the “status quo”, instead asking themselves how they can further improve client outcomes. “We believe it is very important to stay in touch with clients in monitoring solutions,” David shares. “We continually try to understand what might have changed in our clients’ lives and how we can alter the strategies moving forward.” Overall, Krim Associates works to maintain the competitive advantage not by becoming the biggest firm in the industry but rather the best. The business sets itself apart from others in the industry through its professionalism, integrity, and honesty, as well as its unwavering devotion to meeting the highest ethical standards. This establishes it as a trustworthy partner for financial advice. Thanks to the outstanding work of its team, Krim Associates has recently been awarded the title of Most Strategic Retirement Planning Firm, New Jersey, in the Retirement Planning Awards 2024. On the firm’s work so far this year, David comments, “We have started out 2024 like we start every year, re-evaluating what are the best long-term solutions for our clients that best match their specific goals and objectives.” In light of its rich history and impressive track record of success, we are confident that Krim Associates looks towards a bright future. We offer our sincere congratulations to David Scher and his colleagues on their success in this prestigious awards programme and wish them the best of luck in the years to come. Contact: David Scher CFP®, ChFC® Telephone: 201-632-2044 Email: [email protected] Company: Krim Associates Web Address: Based in Paramus, New Jersey, Krim Associates is a financial planning firm that specialises in the provision of comprehensive estate planning, wealth management, and insurance services for business owners and successful professionals. With an in-depth understanding of personal finance and a wealth of training and experience, the firm is well-equipped to help its clients prepare for their futures. Here, we speak to Senior Financial Advisor David Scher CFP®, ChFC®, to find out more about Krim Associates.

Feb24379 Most Innovative Financial Consolidation Software Provider 2024 - UK AdviserAsset has provided advisers with market leading advice decision support tools for the past 14 years, and is recognised once more in the Retirement Planning Awards for its groundbreaking Consolidation and Switching tool. AdviserAsset also provides a wider suite of tools for advisers including charge comparisons, drawdown analysis, cashflow planning, platform due diligence and risk profiling. This years’ award reflects AdviserAsset’s continued leading and innovative approach to platform and product switching. The AdviserAsset tool is unique in many areas, but the stand-out functionality continues to be the ability to aggregate assets across different wrapper types into one single analysis. If doing so, AdviserAsset appears to be the only tool in the market capable of calculating platform charges in the way that platforms actually do it. Specifically, AdviserAsset can apply the various stepped and tiered platform charging structures across multiple asset types in one single analysis including unwrapped collectives (GIA), ISAs, pensions and drawdown. AdviserAsset therefore uniquely handles multiple ceding scheme projections where each of the ceding schemes might be projecting using different percentage growth rates, different numbers of growth rates, different treatments of inflation and different time periods. This unique functionality creates considerable competitive distance between AdviserAsset and the other tools that were considered for this award. Most importantly, it would appear that only AdviserAsset can claim to have a switching tool compliant with the Fair Value aspects of FCA Consumer Duty in this regard. As well as the Consolidation and Switching tool AdviserAsset has a Charge Comparison tool for new investments. This tool compares total cost of ownership as required by FCA COBs and DP 10/2. This is also a multi-wrapper tool accommodating platform accounts, pensions, ISAs, onshore bonds and offshore bonds. In common with the Consolidation/Switching tool it is the only tool in the market which can accommodate multiple wrapper types in one charge comparison. AdviserAsset’s Drawdown tool is for clients currently in accumulation who are seeking to move into drawdown. The tool enables income scenario planning, assessment of income sustainability, and flexi-access drawdown charge comparisons. Both on and off-platform solutions are included. The award-winning Platform Due Diligence tool is based on FCA factsheet 12 and enables advisers to specify their platform requirements (features and functionality). The tool then provides a best-fit platform report – no other switching tool has this. The Risk Profiling tool is based on the FSA Risk Profiling Guidance Consultation Paper and the Ontario Securities Commission’s global review of risk profiling best practice in which the UK FCA participated. The tool includes an assessment of risk need, capacity for loss and portfolio alignment to risk categories. The AdviserAsset tool suite also includes a lifetime Cash Flow Modelling tool which is quick and easy to use, very flexible and incorporates integrated Monte Carlo simulations. All AdviserAsset tools are fully integrated, eliminating the need for any duplicate data entry. There is also an underlying consistency in the way the tools look, feel and behave as all tools were all built by the same team. Founded by serial Fintech entrepreneur Colin Turton, AdviserAsset was the market’s first platform charge comparison tool and is now the market’s only remaining owner-managed business providing adviser tools in this space. Colin has over 40 years’ experience in financial services. This experience has included pan-European management consultancy with PWC and EY. Colin has also previous been a Technical Adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Insurance and Financial Services and an adviser to DGXV of the European Commission. Colin shares, “The most important aspect of our service is to minimise the need for advisers to contact us with queries. In other words, by making tools which are highly intuitive, consistent, and quick/easy to use, we minimise queries and save time for all concerned. This in turn enables us to offer very high-quality support to those relatively small number of advisers who do need to contact us.” This unique approach enables AdviserAsset to operate with a very lean cost base which benefits advisers in the form of the lowest subscription cost levels in the market. Moving forward, AdviserAsset will continue to work closely with advisers to evolve its solutions. With its multi-award winning state-ofthe-art tools, AdviserAsset provides a unique blend of enhanced efficiency and significant cost savings for advisers. Spearheaded by FinTech entrepreneur Colin Turton, the firm will continue to deliver the best, easy-to-use tools to help advisers navigate the complexity of today’s advice world. For its innovative solutions, we have bestowed on AdviserAsset this year’s award for Most Innovative Financial Consolidation Software Provider – UK. Contact: Colin Turton Company: AdviserAsset Web Address:

12 | Wealth & Finance Retirement Planning Awards 2024 Most Innovative Wealth Planning Practice 2024 - Switzerland Since its inception, Bank Syz has been at the forefront of understanding the plights of its clients, and working to develop solutions that resolve previously overlooked struggles. As we progress, so too does the legal complexity of clients’ asset structures – often times due to the internalisation of their exchanges – resulting in banks needing to leverage a more technical understanding of an individual’s personal and financial realities. This, in essence, is where Bank Syz excels. Where most may try to equip themselves with a generalised approach that, for the most part, won’t generate major solutions, Bank Syz instead makes use of its integrity, proportionality, expertise, lawfulness, simplicity, extensive network and bespoke analysis to provide its clients with services specifically catered to their needs. Through these values, Bank Syz allows bankers to strengthen their relationships with customers and generate analyses that aren’t limited by financial assets. Instead, its department has long since expanded its research to global assets too, resulting in an optimised analysis and solution process that truly fits each client’s requirements. All the while, Bank Syz promises to uphold a level of communication that oversees it listening carefully to its clients, making diligent assessments of their current situations, and working in an ‘open architecture.’ In essence, Bank Syz aims to depart from the industry’s favoured turnkey solutions in favour of sourcing solutions that are best suited to the personal, economic circumstances, and life projects of each client under its watch. In Bank Syz’s eyes, a solid and resounding understanding of the risks and opportunities in a client’s environment plays a pivotal role in implementing appropriate strategies that carefully safeguard what matters most to them. Having recognised this, the company has gone to great lengths to establish partnerships with a network of foundations and companies who are fully dedicated to implementing and supporting optimal pension planning structures. This, in turn, assists Bank Syz in furthering its services, be they pertaining to pre or post-retirement. Regardless, Bank Syz is fully equipped to deliver advice and guidance wherever it may be needed, all while respecting the individuality of each circumstance. In doing so, it has quickly become a standout entity within its industry, with its abundance of recognition merely serving to enhance its integrity. Bank Syz exemplifies what it means to be a compassionate wealth planning expert, with its services seamlessly complimenting those of traditional banking or pension planning support. However, where it differs is in its customisation, through which it can advise clients on issues or needs that revolve around their wealth, depending on their unique situations. The team accomplishes such a feat by listening, understanding, and discussing information with its clients, before delving into which wealth or financial plan may suit them best. Once a mutual agreement has been made, Bank Syz promises to flawlessly implement the solution, with its services further extending to the monitoring of said solution’s success. In short, Bank Syz is a collective that concerns itself with the individual – one that is passionate about taking the time to get to know its clients, all so it can deliver solutions that operate in tandem with their best interests. As such, it’s created quite the name for itself within the industry, with its overall impact being felt far and wide. We look forward to seeing what the future has in store for Bank Syz, and hope this recognition serves as a catalyst for its advancement. Contact: Pablo Astengo Company: Bank Syz Web Address: Mar24152 Focused on offering retirement optimisation solutions to those who are looking to optimise the transition from wealth creation to transmission to the next generation, Bank Syz is a family-owned private bank whose effectiveness simply can’t be understated. Whether it’s assisting with pension, wealth and financial planning, advisory and discretionary portfolio management, or alternative investments, the collective has developed a structure that proudly serves high net worth clients internationally. Below, we venture into how Bank Syz secures the ideal outcome for each individual client.

13 | Wealth & Finance Retirement Planning Awards 2024 Financial Planning Firm of the Year 2024 - Northern England Regardless of age, there is never a bad time to start investing, planning for the future, and looking after the money we work so hard to earn. Taking the daunting aspect out of investing, independent financial advisors Markland Hill Wealth can help its clients to choose the best course of action for them, removing any uncertainties and ensuring that the chosen method is the most appropriate for the individual circumstance. Leveraging an investment process complete with a robust framework to cover all of one’s needs and expectations, it is no surprise that the business is being celebrated in the Retirement Planning Awards for the second consecutive year. Before any investment decisions or recommendations are made, the fantastic team at Markland Hill Wealth set about making sure that their clients are fully aware of the values and beliefs that dictate the brand’s methods, and that these algin well with a client’s aspirations and expectations of what the investment process entails. With a suite of services available in the field of investment planning, including tax efficient investing, children’s saving plans, inheritance tax planning, and trust/estate planning, to name just a few, the encompassing investment solutions provided by the firm offer something for everyone, regardless of the complexity of their needs. Moreover, aside from its famed investment services, Markland Hill Wealth is proud to offer financial advice in others area too, namely regarding pensions, mortgages, and protection, where its clients can seek out independent guidance on the likes of lifetime allowance planning, executive income protection, and private medical insurance. Again, this merely scratches the surface of the dozens of areas of expertise embodied by the firm’s teams. With all of these services delivered in a manner that represents the uppermost professionalism, clients are sure to benefit greatly from the firm’s holistic approach to financial planning, complemented nicely by a commitment to client education and the use of client-friendly documentation. On the back of this, Markland Hill Wealth has adopted a mission that revolves around the empowerment of the individuals, businesses, and charities that it works with, enabling them to continue to achieve sustained financial success by leveraging its independence to provide personalised, unbiased financial advice. This ultimately feeds into the firm’s wider vision, which is to continuously deliver high-quality advice that allows clients to make well-informed financial decisions, navigating the complicated financial planning landscape in the process. To reach these goals, the team prioritise remaining well-informed of the current trends of the market and utilising pioneering strategies, so as to offer the best services around. It would be fair to say Markland Hill Wealth adopts a number of unique strategies that make it the financial planner of choice for customers across the UK, and perhaps most notably is its commitment to helping clients invest in ways that are sustainable and responsible. Awareness around such topics as ESG (ethical social governance) are at an all-time high, and are something that many of the firm’s clients find themselves to be interested in. Not only will the company follow a client’s personal ESG preferences, but it also possesses its own active policy that is centred around acting with care and kindness, with this ongoing commitment distinguishing the firm from its competition in this space. Further setting Markland Hill Wealth apart is its people, and with a culture having been created by its staff through its culture champions, that is centred around the three key principles of Motivation, Honesty, and Wellbeing, it should not come as a shock to learn that the business has a low staff turnover and boasts employees who are building a longterm career at Markland Hill Wealth. For the rest of 2024, the team are determined to spread this positivity to other businesses, through the series of pro-bono workplace wellbeing workshops that are being run as part of a wider workplace financial wellbeing scheme. Another keen area of focus for 2024 is fortifying the business’ sports, entertainment, and divorce divisions, where people in and around these industries are provided with specialist financial support. With £400M+ AUM and an annual turnover of more than £3M, it seems that whatever the business touches turns to gold. As a spokesperson for Markland Hill Wealth beams, “the executive team were spurred on by last year’s award and are delighted to have gone one better this year by winning the Financial Planning Firm of the Year 2024 - Northern England. It’s a real recognition of all the hard work all our staff put in.” Contact: Barrie Dawson Company: Markland Hill Wealth Web Address:

14 | Wealth & Finance Retirement Planning Awards 2024 Best Retirement & Estate Planning Company 2024 - Midwest USA Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors provides comprehensive retirement planning services to individuals, families, and businesses, helping them to preserve, enhance, and withdraw their finances. With a multitude of certifications under its belt, the firm possesses a strong understanding of the financial products it offers, as well as investment and retirement strategies. As a team of CFPs and fiduciaries, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors puts the client first. The firm understands that each client is unique, so it takes a bespoke approach to its work, striving to understand their circumstances and future goals before offering any advice. In this, active listening and clear communication are key. The team are constantly thinking about how they can make the process easier for the client, tailoring their approach even further as they discover more about the client and their family. Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors believes that people should be able to sleep soundly at night without worrying about their finances, so it encourages its clients to call and ask questions whenever they need to. However, it is inevitable that tough conversations must be had about choices and consequences. The firm takes a direct approach to addressing these issues, striving to help clients better understand what the future could hold for them. Moreover, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors strongly values transparency, clarity, and integrity. When clients seek to work with the firm, they are entrusting it with their financial future. For this reason, it strives to prioritise honesty and ethical conduct, providing them with clear explanations of fees, investment choices, and the overall financial plan. This ensures that clients are aware of exactly what they are paying their advisor, what their current situation is, where their plan will take them, and what they are investing their money into. Rather than simply making decisions on clients’ behalf, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors aims to educate and empower them to make informed financial choices. When it comes to its fees, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors does not see the value in trying to make as much money as possible from a single client. Instead, it charges less than the average advisor, believing that helping people for a reasonable fee will pay off down the road with more referrals. There are no set limits on service or hours spent for any client, nor are there any imposed account minimums, which demonstrates the firm’s commitment to serving those in need of guidance regardless of their financial situation. This business model has been hugely successful thus far, positioning Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors as a trustworthy partner for retirement planning. Operating in the ever-evolving finance industry, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors remains ahead of the curve through continued engagement in education, enabling it to keep up with trends and developments. Its team also discuss industry literature and podcasts, ensuring that everyone is up to speed with the latest regulatory changes. Furthermore, determined not to stagnate, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors reviews and improves its processes whenever needed, always taking care not to disrupt the business or client service. The firm believes that updating its technologies can be useful, but extensive task automation could impact the quality and personalisation of its services. It is conscious of the fact that clients have hired a human advisor, not a robot. As a result of its unwavering commitment to excellence, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors has been awarded Best Retirement & Estate Planning Company, Midwest USA, in the Retirement Planning Awards 2024. Currently growing rapidly, the firm plans to continue carving out its niche in the industry, which involves serving clients with large, concentrated stock positions. While most advisors would tell them to “just sell it”, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors prides itself on its unique approach, helping them to understand their options and what might be best for their family or business. Contact: Brian Bachelier Company: Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors Web Address: Mar24117 Situated in Clayton, Missouri, Hawthorne Capital Wealth Advisors is a financial planning firm that offers a full range of services, including investments, education planning, philanthropy, retirement, including optimizing withdrawal strategies, and optimization of passing on your assets to the next generation. The company’s goal is to guide its clients safely into retirement, creating an easy-to-understand path for their financial future. Here, we explore its services further following its success in our Retirement Planning Awards 2024.

Mar24460 Financial Planning Firm of the Year 2024 - Illinois Proudly serving the financial planning needs of clients right across the US, Crystal Lake Tax & Financial is comprised of an array of wealth management experts and has been operating with a similar distinction in this space for more than 15 years now. A plan-focused firm through and through, this team leverage their published proprietary financial planning process, aptly named The Retirement Success Blueprint: How to Build the Retirement You Deserve, to address and manage effectively the six primary areas of a robust financial plan, these being income, risk, taxes, healthcare, legacy, and lifestyle. We catch up with Manging Partner and Financial Planner Michael Stewart for more. Famed for the conservative strategies it affords to clients that are in or nearing retirement, onestop-shop solution Crystal Lake Tax & Financial leverages a proven method that revolves around minimising the market risk of a client through the use of income-generated investments that will both minimise drawdowns and generate a steady return in the medium and long term. The reasons for this are simple, with the firm guided by Michael’s belief that if one can avoid a large loss, they will not have to take much risk to nurture success over a longer period of time. With more than two decades in the industry, Michael has carved out a stellar reputation for himself based on his considerable experience and proven track record. Beyond reflecting Michael’s guiding ethos, Crystal Lake Tax & Financial is distinguished through the fact that it exceeds financial planning and investment management services, with the firm also in possession of a CPA (certified public accountant), a full tax team, and an expert in-house legal team, with these assisting clients in areas such as tax preparation, proactive tax planning, and estate planning. Thus, while many businesses operating in this field are all about selling products, Crystal Lake Tax & Financial exists to address all of its clients’ financial matters, a distinction perhaps best seen in the second of its two published books, Purpose Based Investing: 9 Steps to Rescue Your Retirement from Wall Street. Commenting further on the essence of his company’s service approach, Michael tells us, “many clients over their 30-40 year working lives accumulate what we call a ‘junk drawer’ of investments - stocks, bonds, annuities, 401ks, IRAs, life insurance, etc… - but have no idea how they all work together and how they can provide lifetime income for them when the pay checks stop.” Leveraging its aforementioned Retirement Success Blueprint to realise this, the business can help its clients to understand where their retirement funds come from, and then craft a real plan that could ensure a prosperous retirement that spans more than 30 years. For Michael, “it’s easy to be a financial advisor in a bull market. Where we earn our value is when market and economic challenges present themselves, ensuring our clients don’t make the wrong decisions that could cause them financial harm.” Thus, the business considers itself to be about 50% financial planner and 50% behaviour counsellor, and it is able to achieve this through a meticulous process that involves staying ahead of industry trends, particularly relating to matters concerning finance and the wider economy. The firm’s views on this matter are clear, with Michael citing the timeless saying, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying” as evidence. This primarily refers to the increasing industry shift towards digitisation, and as Michael states, “I believe that this applies to staying on top of technological innovations like digitisation, artificial intelligence and upgrading technology platforms. Our clients deserve and expect the best breed of technology to make their experience efficient and simple”, with Michael and co. determined to provide this at every turn. Of course, technology is only one piece of the puzzle, and another vital element is the company’s staff. In pursuit of further expansion, Crystal Lake Tax & Financial seeks to double its staff every three years, while simultaneously developing its offerings related to service, investment, and marketing. Boasting clients in almost 30 states across the US, as well as clients in five countries abroad, Crystal Lake Tax & Financial strives to provide its clients unrestricted access to some of the best and brightest professionals in the fields of investment, financial, tax, and estate planning, and this award is a testament to the fact that it does just that. Contact Details Contact: Michael Stewart, MBA, RFC Company: Crystal Lake Tax & Financial Web Address: