The Smarten Up Institute (SUI) and the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) are looking for nominees for the inaugural IIAC Top Under 40 Award.

The award, sponsored by SUI and presented by the IIAC, celebrates a member of the financial services industry, who either works with clients or in the back office, is under the age of 40, and has had a positive influence at his or her firm and the wider industry through dedication and personal and professional qualities.

“This is such a first for the industry,” says Laurie Clark, president and CEO of SUI, “and it can only be successful if people in the industry realize what a great opportunity this is to support the best and the brightest, no matter their role.”

To qualify, a nominee must be a full-time employee of an IIAC member firm and be under the age of 40 as of Dec. 31, 2013. Any employee is eligible for the award.

The inclusive nature of the award is meant to shine a light on industry roles that are traditionally overlooked, says Clark, and to emphasize the growing importance of support and operations staff in the running and managing of client accounts.

“Typically in our industry the shining stars come form the revenue side of the balance sheet, we want to recognize all stars,” says Clark, “we want to see who is out there contributing to the firm — period, because there are some amazing people in supporting roles.”

Eligible nominees will be judged based on the following criteria: career accomplishments; commitment to the Canadian financial industry; commitment to education, community service and involvement.

A panel of three judges consisting of industry members and academics will choose the award winner from eligible nominees.

The top 10 nominees will attend the IIAC Top Under 40 Award ceremony in Toronto, where the award winner will be announced.

The award recipient will work with an industry leader for one week in association with the SUI’s Mentor Program, as will have the opportunity to take an SUI course of his or her choosing, or through a university or college that partners with the institute.

Nomination forms can be requested by emailing

The nomination process is open until 5:00pm on April 30, 2014. For full details of the nomination process and award criteria visit the Smarten Up Institute website.