Some of the most illustrious figures in the financial services sector were once again recognised in the 2016 instalment of the Financial Adviser’s Life and Pensions Awards.
The host of the afternoon was former’s pensions minster Steve Webb, who kicked of proceedings with a quip about him swapping roles with last year’s host Ros Altmann, who currently holds the government post.
Mr Webb, who is now director of policy at Royal London, was on good form, sharing a number of anecdotes on his experience in Westminster to a receptive audience.
The former Liberal Democrat MP also reaffirmed his criticism of the Lifetime ISA which is due to launch in April next year.
He said the work that has been carried out by the industry to encourage young adults to engage with pensions is in serious threat of unravelling because of the LISA - which he claimed lures individuals into taking a short term view of purchasing a property at the detriment to retirement planning.
“I worry that just when it seems that we have achieved something extraordinary with pensions, we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” he said.
There was a palpable tension in the air during the three course lunch as guest nervously awaited the results to be announced by Mr Webb.
LIFT-Financial reigned supreme at the awards, scooping four out of a possible six adviser gongs - including the best life and pensions adviser firm accolade.
Joel Adams joint founder and chief executive of the firm landed the overall adviser of the year crown, while the top prize in the group pension category went to his colleague Suzanne McGowan who shared the title with Craig Harrison of Creative Benefits.
There were also joint winners in the newly qualified adviser category with Ella Davies, also of LIFT Financial, and Gwilym Lloyd Jones of Sanlam Wealth Planning picking up the award.
Colin Hart of Hamptons Financial Management claimed the number one spot in the Sipp adviser category, and Rob May of John Lamb Insurance Brokers was named protection adviser of the year.
On the provider front, Standard Life, Royal London and Aviva grabbed two awards each, while Just Retirement Limited/Partnership, Legal & General and LV= were also victorious at the event.