How we're taking the awards show to the next level

 David M. Brear photo
David M. Brear Group CEO
3min read

Delivered straight to your inbox

Get each edition of Unfiltered - our no-BS, uncensored analysis of fintech news and hot topics sent to your inbox each fortnight.

Find out more

Awards?! ‘Yay’, I hear you say. But it’s not like this wasn’t a crowded market already, so surely this is nothing new, right?

Check out more details on our awards show here.

Well, you can be sure that where there’s 11:FS, there’s a problem to be solved. What we’ve seen in the awards industry so far is events littered with pay-to-win entrance fees and meaty table packages with the promise that members of the ‘fintech hot list’ will show up.

There are a lot of ceremonies out there where people end up just paying for a trophy for their cabinet (not naming any names), with the hope that their business will be recognised as award-winning - regardless of the work that they do or where the award came from.

Don't get me wrong, there are some very good awards ceremonies from highly credible organisations and processes but many are a complete waste of money, time and materials.

What happened to getting awards for being the best of the best?

11:FS Awards - why now?

When we say our mission is to unleash talent, we don’t just mean internally at 11:FS. We strive to elevate smart humans across the financial services industry to make change happen. For us, holding our own awards ceremony means we aren’t just bringing together a bunch of people that we like and that we work with to have a big jolly, it’s about bringing together people who we admire, who have done exceptional things that bring us closer to changing the fabric of financial services. People that stand for something and don’t just wave money around and bask in the glamour.

We strive to elevate smart humans across the financial services industry to make change happen.

We’ve all seen nominations lists with reams of names that nobody has even heard of. They tend to be up for winning stuff like ‘greatest innovator’ or ‘most prestigious leader’. And then that nobody wins and guess what? Nothing changes. They continue to do work under the radar until the next big opportunity to be part of something comes into budget discussions.

Seriously, what’s the point of this? In what way is this contributing to an industry or to customer education when it comes to selecting brands they can trust?

Why us?

I realise there are a good few folks out there who are probably wondering why we feel we can do things better in this space. It’s a fair challenge as we’ve never done anything like this before!

But at 11:FS, we’re big believers in a meritocracy. We pride ourselves on bringing experts together across the field to do their best work and to steer the industry ship steadily through chaotic and ever-changing market conditions. Credibility to the industry is something we recognise and with this, something we want to celebrate.

Big change can’t happen with a handful of super-passionate people. They say it takes a village to raise a human, and if financial services is our (equally demanding) baby, then we have to support those who are fully invested as we come together to nurture and grow it.

What that doesn’t mean is that we give awards out to just good humans. We believe that you shouldn’t take praise from someone who you wouldn’t take criticism from, and actually, some of the most successful people or brands may also have been those who made the greatest mistakes along the way.

The sweetest fruit often needs the hardest shake of the tree, and it’s this kind of provocation that deserves admiration through the good times and the bad.

The sweetest fruit often needs the hardest shake of the tree, and it’s this kind of provocation that deserves admiration through the good times and the bad.

How we did it: first principles

In order to shape our version of an awards ceremony, we did what we usually do when working on a new thing: take it back to first principles.

What makes an awards ceremony great?

The awards themselves are important, yes, but really it’s about the people. Think about the great ceremonies of all time - The Oscars, BAFTAS, etc. What’s the one thing that makes the night? The speeches.

Awards should be won on merit and understanding exactly what the winners did to get here sets a tone that is far greater than any glitz or glamour. Hearing the stories, the shout-outs to mums, the pivots and the challenges is what gives these things meaning. It inspires others to keep going or to take chances with the hopes that one day they will be up there with the best of the best also.

My unfiltered opinion

From the beginning, the 11:FS logo, with its negative space design, was created with a stamp of approval in mind. It’s a seal of quality. Every day since day dot that's what we aimed to achieve and that's what we're striving towards, 1% at a time. With this in mind, that’s why we’re about to host the best awards show this industry has ever seen.

For those of you coming to the awards, we hope you will join us in recognising quality businesses and individuals on the night who have made a difference in the industry we all love. For those of you who are watching from afar join us in shouting about them on social media so more of their good work is heard.

Right, time to dust off the suit. Let’s do this.

 David M. Brear
About the author

David M. Brear

David is the CEO of 11:FS and since his dream of being a sportsperson was crushed (along with the ligaments in his knee!) and he had to get a proper job. He has worked in pretty much every angle of the financial services industry but never lost that competitive desire to win.