Ian Bennett and Danielle Fairhurst named master financial modelers

04 June 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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The Financial Modeling Institute has issued its first ‘master’ accreditations, with two Australia-based experts among just six recipients worldwide.

PwC partner Ian Bennett has been named as a ‘Master Financial Modeler’ by the Financial Modeling Institute (FMI), as just one of six professionals worldwide to achieve the exclusive accreditation.

Bennett heads up PwC’s deals modelling team out of Sydney, with Tokyo-based colleague Hiroki Nakao also among the inaugural cohort of awardees. Another Australian, Plum Solutions founder Danielle Stein Fairhurst, was a further recipient.

Ian Bennett and Danielle Fairhurst named master financial modelers

“These six outstanding professionals have achieved the pinnacle of financial modeling experience, skill, leadership and contributions to the field. We congratulate them on this remarkable accomplishment and thank them for their efforts in professionalising the field of financial modeling,” said Ian Schnoor, executive director of the FMI, which was established in 2017 to promote awareness, excellence and discipline in the profession.

Bennet has been with PwC for the best part of two and a half decades, originally joining the firm in Manchester in 1998 following a bachelor in mathematical physics with the University of Nottingham. After a later stint with Deutsche Bank, Bennett returned to PwC in London, before crossing to the firm’s Sydney office in 2010 as head of its modelling practice, which provides model assurance to support deals, post-deal, business planning, and strategic decisions.

In acknowledging the honour, Bennett gave a shout out to his PwC modelling colleagues, including Nakao and local partners Thuthuka Manasa and Farouk Dahbourah. “It is a delight to have been recognised in the inaugural cohort of Master Financial Modelers,” Bennett stated. “This recognition is testament to my wonderful team and their desire to break the mould and reimagine how we create value for clients. I share the honour with amazing leaders of our profession.”

Bennett also credited Fairhurst’s contribution in “almost single-handedly” creating and leading the industry’s global collaboration over the past decade. Starting out as an investment banking analyst in London, Fairhurst established Plum Solutions in Sydney almost twenty years ago to provide training and consulting in the areas of financial modelling, budgeting & forecasting, and data analysis using Excel – a subject on which she has also written two popular books.

Added last year, the Master Financial Modeler (MFM) accreditation is the highest offered by the FMI, which it describes as without comparison in representing the most prestigious level of recognition for financial modelers globally. Applicants, who are rigorously vetted by a committee of peers, must have at least ten years of industry experience and to have contributed to the modelling field in a meaningful way, while demonstrating leadership and world-class skills.

In addition to Nakao, who has been with PwC since 2017 after spending seven years at Ernst & Young (including career stints in Hamburg and New York), the three other candidates to receive MFM accreditation are Prem Beejan, chairman of MauBank Holdings in Mauritius; Geoff Robinson, global head of fundamental analytics at UBS out of the UK; and Latvia-based Andrew Grigolyunovich, who is the founder of the Financial Modeling World Cup.