David Norton "Building Excellence" Award



Launched in 2008, the prestigious David Norton “Building Excellence” Award closed on 1 May 2015. It attracted applications from UK firms which are seeking to develop and ultimately reach the standard required to become an Accredited Financial Planning FirmTM.

About the award

Old Mill Financial Planning winning the award in 2014 The award was launched by IFP to remember the significant contribution to the Financial Planning profession made by David Norton CFPCM, a former Chairman and President of the IFP who was passionate about mentoring others. The award seeks to identify the Financial Planning firm which could benefit from expert mentoring and business support to help them make that final step up to the levels needed to become an Accredited Financial Planning FirmTM.

As Steve Gazzard CFPCM, IFP CEO and Norton Award judge comments "It’s about identifying firms who know Financial Planning is the answer, who have made progress towards their ultimate goal, who accept they are on a journey and appreciate recognition for what they have achieved.”

Who should apply?

To enter, firms will be providing a Financial Planning service to clients but will have identified a number of areas for business development within the firm. The staff within the firm need not be members of the IFP.

The winning firm must be able to clearly demonstrate that it is committed to "true" Financial Planning, that it has a clear remuneration system, and an exciting and well thought-out business plan. The winner will be a developing business, which has unique features, shows commitment to comprehensive Financial Planning, and yet is still in need of help and mentoring in certain key areas of business development. Particular areas where this might apply could be recruitment, client segmentation, defining the service, marketing etc. Accredited Financial Planning FirmsTM are not eligible to enter, however they are  invited to apply for the “Recognising Excellence” award to identify the Accredited Firm of the Year, which opens to entries in June.

Why should your firm apply? 

Whilst winning firms have consistently reported the considerable benefits they have reaped from their success, having refined and developed their business effectiveness, brand and profile as a result.  

However, whether they win or not, most of the firms who have entered over the years have reported that undertaking the challenging application process itself has been very beneficial. It makes firms conduct a thorough analysis of the way they do business and the value that they provide for clients. One firm described it as doing a management consultancy project on yourself -  a great way to identify ways to develop. Read what 2013 winners KMD Private Wealth Management thought of the process in their blog. They have subsequently become an Accredited Financial Planning Firm.  

How to apply

The application questionnaire has been specifically designed to probe and test what your firm actually does as well as how you do it. Give it a try - it’s free after all! Your initial application should be made online using the link below. The responses will then be reviewed by a panel of judges (see below)  to establish a shortlist of candidates who will progress to the final round. Each firm shortlisted will be required to submit further detail on their firm to the judges who will then select the final three firms to attend a formal interview in early September. During that interview, key personnel will be questioned on their organisation, business practices, development needs and why they believe that their firm should win the award. All finalists will be invited to attend the IFP Gala Awards Evening at Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on 6 October 2015. CLICK HERE TO APPLY

What are the prizes?

In addition to receiving the “Building Excellence” trophy and the kudos of winning, the successful firm will benefit from the following prizes:

  • Full 12 month membership of the FP Advance Uncover Your Business Potential (UYBP) Course. The winner of the 2015 David Norton Award will enjoy a full 12 month membership to Year 1 of this course, which is the A-Z of how to run a fantastic Financial Planning business. It will provide 4 days of group coaching and development, plus membership of the private Facebook group for all UYBP delegates, plus email and telephone access to Brett Davidson throughout the year.
  • A full day’s mentoring from Bridget Greenwood, Financial Social Media (UK): Bridget is ideally placed to help the winning firm to extend reach, influence and connections, bringing business, clients and prospects together.
  • An invitation to the IFP Gala Awards Dinner on 6 October at Celtic Manor Resort

"It's great to be involved with the David Norton Award again this year. It has become an institution within the IFP community and I strongly encourage firms to apply. The whole process is business affirming and hugely valuable. I'm also excited to be offering 1 full year's membership to our Uncover Your Business Potential course as one of the prizes for the winning firm." Brett Davidson, FP Advance 

"This award recognises planning firms on their way to becoming an accredited financial planning firm.  It’s a privilege to support this by offering a full day's consultancy as one of the prizes for the winner and I believe that record numbers of firms should be applying this year.  Good luck to everyone." Bridget Greenwood, Financial Social Media (UK). 


  • 30 March 2015: Open to applications
  • 1 May 2015 - Closing date for applications
  • Late May: Applicants informed whether or not they have been short-listed. Request for further information issued by IFP.
  • Late June - TBC - Deadline for follow up information to be supplied to IFP
  • Mid July TBC: Shortlisted firms notified whether or not they have been selected as finalists
  • Late August TBC : Deadline for finalists to supply follow up information

Face to face interviews take place with the panel of judges in London during the first two weeks of September.

Previous Winners of the Award

  • 2008: PageRussell
  • 2009: Capital Asset Management Ltd.
  • 2010: BoulterBowen Wealthcare
  • 2011: Fiscal Engineers Ltd.
  • 2012: Cooper Parry Wealth. In this interview, Stephen Jones shares his thoughts on winning the award 
  • 2013: KMD Private Wealth Management. In this interview, Kevin Deamer CFPCM shares his views on the award
  • 2014: Old Mill Financial Planning - Photo shows Old Mill's Paula Hodge receiving the award at the IFP Conference 2014.

The Award: How to enter

Entries for the 2015 award have now closed

The judging panel

  • Steve Gazzard CFPCM, IFP CEO
  • Brett Davidson, Chief Executive FP Advance
  • Barry Horner CFPCM, CEO of Paradigm Norton and a former President of the IFP

All three judges will review each application. The winner will be the Financial Planning firm which the judges believe offers the most outstanding potential for the future. Their decision is final.