Pippa Oldfield has been named as the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment's Paraplanner of the Year.
Her award came as the culmination of an intensive competition, which first involved prospective candidates submitting answers to five multiple choice questions.
Jacqueline Lockie, head of financial planning for the CISI, described the process as "rigorous", as the five best respondents to those questions were then invited to submit an in-depth financial plan based on a case study provided by Just.
These were assessed by a panel from across the industry and, finally, the two best candidates were invited to an online interview with a panel of judges.
The finallists were Joe Lund from Investec Wealth and Investment UK, and Leeds-based paraplanner Pippa Oldfield.
The fact the final interview was virtual rather than in-person did not prevent some tough questions being thrown at both shortlisted candidates, who both answered with thoughtful and considerate responses and made the judging process very tough.
Of Ms Oldfield, the judges said: "This year's winner was able to articulate technical knowledge clearly and in a client-friendly format, and their desire to keep learning as a paraplanner while sharing skills and knowledge with others was particularly impressive."
Mr Lund, who was highly commended, was described as "a very impressive finalist – and someone who is a rising star for the future."
When she found out at the CISI Paraplanner Conference 2020, Ms Oldfield said: "I am absolutely gobsmacked. Thank you!
"To win this is a massive lifetime achievement for me. The whole process has been great as it has given me massive confidence in my skills and such a learning curve. I have learned so much.
"If anyone is thinking about entering this, go for it!"
She came into paraplanning 10 years ago, and said she has "never looked back" in her career. "I am keen to encourage more people into it as well, as there is a shortage of us still", Ms Oldfield added.