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Yorkshire Finance Star Is Head And Shoulders Above Says Judge

A young woman who made ‘phenomenal progress’ at an independent firm of financial advisors has been publicly recognised for her achievements.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jessica Crawford, head of business development at Informed Financial Planning which has offices in Hessle, Barnsley and Leeds, has won the accolade of Rising Star of the Year at the Yorkshire Financial Awards after impressing judges with her rapid progression to a strategic role and ‘going way beyond her job description’. 

She joined IFP as an apprentice in 2010 with no experience and is credited with transforming the company’s marketing and implementing successful business growth initiatives.

The annual awards, which are open to insurers, banks, building societies, investment and wealth services companies, are intended to celebrate excellence in the financial services sector.

IFP’s managing director Kevin Ferriby said: “When Jess started with us, she didn’t have any experience but I often commented that she had ‘fire in her belly’ as she always used her initiative and looked for ways to enhance our services and approaches to client acquisition.

“Following two previous promotions, she is now employed in our senior leadership team, managing the marketing and financial planning departments and helping to run the business and drive growth on a day-to-day basis. Through hard work and dedication, Jess has made phenomenal progress.”

IFP was established in 2004 and offers a full range of financial planning services. It became the first firm in Yorkshire to achieve corporate chartered status, and in 2018 was named as Money Marketing’s UK Advisor Firm of the Year. It has also been recognised for three consecutive years by Professional Advisor as the UK Best IFA to Work For.

Jessica Crawford said: “It’s great that my award adds to IFP’s trophy cabinet and I feel honoured to have received it, especially as the shortlist included people working for national firms.

“I have enjoyed every minute of my time at IFP and feel very lucky that I was their first apprentice along with them putting their faith in me and offering career progression opportunities.

“The team spirit and mutual support amongst colleagues and clients has been key to IFP’s success and I’m sure I would not have received my award without this.”

Hilary McVitty, head of external affairs at the Building Societies Association and a judge at the awards, praised her for demonstrating ‘a real hunger for development’ and implementing new strategies resulting in improved financial results and good customer service. 

“This year we had many entries from some very impressive young people. However, the winner in the end was head and shoulders above,” she said.

Jessica received her award from BBC journalist and presenter Chris Hollins at a ceremony held at New Dock Hall in Leeds on February 27. The Rising Star of the Year was open to individuals under the age of 35 working in financial services in Yorkshire.

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