Jason M. Pereira, a Toronto-based financial advisor with Investment Planning Counsel Inc., has claimed the top prize for the Americas region in the 2015 Global Financial Planning Awards, sponsored by PlanPlus Inc. of Lindsay, Ont.

The annual award, which is designed to recognize the important role that financial planning plays in wealth management and in the financial services sector as a whole, recognizes the top financial planners from the regions of the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Pereira described his win as an “overwhelming experience.”

“One can commit themselves to improving their abilities and working to be the best at what they do,” Pereira said in a statement. “But the occasions to validate the years of commitment and education are few and far between. Even more rare is the ability to compete at a global level, let alone win such a challenge. I am both humbled and honoured to be named this year’s winner.”

Ngoc Day, a Vancouver-based portfolio manager with Macdonald Shymko and Co. Ltd., was named the first-runner up for the Americas region.

Entrants in the competition are required to submit a written financial plan, which is developed and presented to a client to demonstrate how the planners would provide financial advice that focuses on the client’s best interests. Planners also make a live presentation to a judging panel of planning experts from around the world, according to PlanPlan Plus’s announcement.

“We have always believed that a financial planner acting with a fiduciary or client’s best interest standard is the pinnacle of professionalism in the financial services sector,” said Shawn Brayman, president and CEO of PlanPlus, in a statement. “Being able to showcase these outstanding individuals is intended to help both consumers and other financial advisors better appreciate the unique value a professional financial planner can deliver to improve the lives of the people they help.”

Ann Marie Regel, a Singapore-based financial planner with Globaleye Pte. Ltd., was named winner for the Asia region, and Natalia Smirnova, owner and CEO at Personal Advisor Ltd. in Moscow, claimed top prize for the European region.

The three first-place winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Denver-based Financial Planning Association’s annual conference in September, which will take place in Boston.