The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) has named Griffith graduate Natalie Cross the inaugural FPA University Student of the Year.

Natalie, who graduated from Griffith Business School with a Bachelor of Commerce (Professional) last December, was presented with the prestigious award at the FPA Professionals Congress in Brisbane.

She describes how her professional destiny in the financial planning industry followed a change of plan at university.

“I initially completed a diploma in fashion design before I decided to go to university.

“I had started a degree in accounting but after taking an elective in financial planning, I was inspired to change direction,” Natalie, from Brisbane, said.

“Now I want to make a difference in a completely different way to how I thought I would.”

Natalie, originally from Macgregor on Brisbane’s south side, completed a double major in financial planning and accounting at Griffith before taking up a role with independent financial planning practice Tupicoffs.

She is now a client service manager in a working environment where new experiences and new avenues are constant and welcomed.

“Financial Planning is so important because it can make a real difference to people’s lives and can make people’s dreams come true.”

The FPA University Student of the Year Award is a new category in the FPA Awards program and recognises financial planning students who demonstrate strong potential in the areas of accounting, banking and finance.

“I think my passion for the industry and my willingness to take opportunities also came through in my submission,” she said.

During a university internship, Natalie gained insights into the positive impact that high quality financial advice can have on clients.

By achieving the highest result in the ‘Financial Planning, Construction and Review’ course delivered by Julie Knutsen at Griffith Business School, Natalie received theFPA Top Emerging Financial Planner Award. This opened the door for her to enter a submission for FPA University Student of the Year.

“This accolade has made me more excited and motivated about my journey to becoming a financial planner. I am very focused on being a financial planner of the future.”