MAX Awards recognise marketing, advertising and sales excellence

Three hundred guests packed the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney last Thursday night for the 24th Financial Standard MAX Awards, an annual gathering of the financial services industry’s leading marketing, advertising and sales professionals.

Winning the top gong ‘Executive of the Year – Marketing’ this year was Jan Beeston, senior marketing manager at BT Financial Group. Beeston boasts more than 28 years in marketing, having started her career at Telstra before moving to HSBC. In 2005, she joined BT Financial delivering marketing campaigns for the B2B market.

In the sales category, Chris Inifer, retail distribution executive at Allan Gray Australia took home the prestigious ‘Executive of the Year – Distribution’ award. Allan Gray has almost doubled its funds under management to $6.4 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2015 based on Rainmaker Information data.

Now in its 24th year, MAX recognises professional excellence in 25 categories, including new segments that reflect the changing industry landscape such as Financial Literacy Campaign of the Year, Financial Services App of the Year and Social Initiative of the Year.

Winners of these awards were BT Financial, The Link Group and Australian Ethical respectively.

It was a back-to-back win for Australian Ethical, which received a second plaque for Social Media Campaign of the Year, thanks to its consistent efforts to raise awareness for ethical and sustainable investing.

Also in for a double win was Melbourne-based La Trobe Financial, which won Marketing Campaign of the Year – Consumer and Print Campaign of the Year – Consumer.

Christopher Page, managing director of Rainmaker Group, which publishes Financial Standard and Money Magazine said “B2C marketing has evolved as technology enables marketing teams to create highly-targeted campaigns. These consumer-related marketing categories have become even more relevant to us since we acquired Money Magazine in March.”

Majority of these year’s winners were nominated in the same category or multiple categories in previous years. “As the saying goes, you can’t achieve high proficiency and success overnight. Many of the nominees have careers spanning decades, giving them the right balance of knowledge and experience to excel in their particular category,” said Michelle Baltazar, publisher of Financial Standard and editor-in-chief of Money Magazine.

“On behalf of Financial Standard, we congratulate all the winners and the shortlisted nominees for their efforts. Similar to what we said last year, we encourage them to harness their role to restore consumer trust and serve their clients – super funds, financial advisers, end-investors – well,” she added.

Financial services sales and marketing professionals have an important role to play as the industry heads for the $11 trillion mark by 2038. According to the latest Rainmaker Roundup report, the Australian investment market stood at $2.4 trillion as at December 2018. Amid short-term setbacks, the ten-year rolling growth of the market is strong at 8.8%, the highest it’s been in the last nine years.

2019 MAX Award winners:

Adviser Education Campaign of the Year

Zurich Life Insurance – Cost of Care

Agency Executive of the Year – Financial Services

Giada Dorgia – Fundamental Media

Agency of the Year – Financial Services

Ptarmigan Media

Creative Agency of the Year

Ascender Design with Zurich

Digital Campaign of the Year

Allan Gray Australia

Distribution Team of the Year – Institutional

Axius Partners

Distribution Team of the Year – Wholesale

Pinnacle Investment Management

Executive of the Year – Distribution

Chris Inifer – Allan Gray Australia

Executive of the Year – Marketing

Jan Beeston – BT Financial Group

Financial Literacy Campaign of the Year

BT Financial Group

Financial Services App of the Year

Link Group

Fintech Platform of the Year

BT Panorama

Integrated Campaign of the Year

Macquarie Investment Management

Investment Product of the Year

Capital Group – New Perspective Fund

Marketing Campaign of the Year – Consumer

La Trobe Financial

Marketing Campaign of the Year – Industry

Capital Group

Marketing Team of the Year


Print Campaign of the Year – Consumer

La Trobe Financial

Print Campaign of the Year – Trade

Challenger- Aged Care Campaign

Product Launch of the Year

Allianz Retire+ – Future Safe

Public Relations Agency of the Year


Social Initiative of the Year

Australian Ethical

Social Media Campaign of the Year

Australian Ethical

State Street Global Advisors – Understanding Managed Accounts

Website of the Year



The awards period covers all sales and marketing campaigns in the year to April 2019. The nominations open in March 2019 and closed in April 2019. Based on votes, five nominees progress to the voting phase per category. This year’s finalists pooled a record number of votes, attracting more than 14,000 in aggregate across 25 categories.

In his opening remarks, Financial Standard’s group managing director Christopher Page acknowledged the incredible pool of talent within the industry but, at the same time, the huge responsibility in their hands to restore consumer trust.

“The financial services industry is responsible for the protection and development of Australia’s wealth. But further than that, these businesses can play an important role in the community as educators and change makers,” he said.

/Public Release.