An Interview with Rob Salvucci: How to Start a Career in Wealth Management

/ By Cowan Insurance Group

At Cowan Insurance Group, it’s our knowledgeable and dedicated employees who fuel our award-winning workplace culture with their collective desire to help our clients and communities thrive. Cowan Expert Rob Salvucci, Advisor, Vice President, Wealth Management, has provided Cowan clients with life insurance and wealth management solutions that fit their unique needs for over 13 years. Rob shares his background, what his job entails, and his advice to those looking for a career in the insurance industry.

What brought you to Cowan?

I spent the first 20 years of my career at Manulife, then joined The Williamson Group in 2008, which Cowan Insurance Group acquired in 2015. I joined The Williamson Group because I admired their focus on providing exceptional client service—a philosophy that Cowan also shares.

What makes you proud to work at Cowan?

I value the culture of client care and the “team of experts” approach at Cowan. If a client has a problem or issue, we work together to find a solution that gives them peace of mind. Whether home and auto, employee benefits and retirement savings, commercial insurance or personal insurance, we have a range of experts we can collaborate with to provide our clients with whatever solutions they need.

In my opinion, the fact that Cowan is independent is also essential in today’s marketplace. Many of our competitors are owned by banks who sell their own insurance and investment products; their advisors are often pressured to sell proprietary products over market-based products, with quotas to meet. Our independence allows us to be client-centric rather than providing a one-size-fits-all solution. Without quotas from our suppliers, we’re free to provide unbiased advice and find the right solution for our clients, helping them focus on what they want to achieve.

Are you looking to take the next step in your career?

What is your approach to wealth management and life insurance?

I approach our clients’ needs holistically. For example, the client’s plan should be equally balanced between an offensive and defensive strategy, balancing how they build and accumulate wealth with protecting that wealth. We help our clients look at both aspects of this, along with understanding their unique risks, such as premature death, a disability, or a critical illness. That way, we can help clients achieve their financial goals while also protecting against potential risks. Whether it’s a complete holistic plan that examines all facets of a client’s life or a smaller plan to deal with a specific need, we help our clients find the right products and solutions for their goals.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

The biggest challenge I encounter is dispelling myths and preconceived beliefs about wealth management and life insurance, biases that clients may have picked up from misinformation on the internet or in the news.

Part of my job is to help people become more open-minded about these products and solutions. Many of these could genuinely improve their lives and protect their futures.

Some people also feel they don’t need life insurance, or they don’t want to think about the possibility of premature death, disability, or critical illness. However, life-changing health emergencies are unpredictable. We can provide better solutions and help our clients if they come to us before an emergency happens. We often say, “You can’t buy house insurance when your house is on fire; you must buy it before the fire happens.” The same thing goes for life insurance.

How do you keep up with changes in the insurance industry?

I stay connected by building internal and external networks. We’re constantly inundated with information that we need to sift through as insurance professionals. Having those internal and external networks helps us determine which information is most critical, but you must build your networks of people, maintain them, and grow them yourself.

Our key suppliers provide consistent updates and information on the latest industry trends. I also stay involved through memberships in professional associations, including the Financial Advisors Association of Canada (Advocis), the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) and the Estate Planners Council of Hamilton.  Through my involvement with suppliers and these industry associations, I continue to learn and grow (even after 33 years in the business!) which ultimately, allows me to provide our clients with the best possible solutions for their needs.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in an insurance career or on how to start a career in wealth management?

I think there is enormous potential for anyone interested in an insurance career. The “offence” side of what I do is what I consider the exciting side of the business—people want to be investment advisors to help clients grow their assets. However, I feel fewer people focus on the “defence” or protective side, which means there are many career opportunities in life insurance.

Overall, this is an exciting time in the industry. We’re seeing an enormous transfer of wealth from one generation to the next and a growing demand for professional assistance and advice. Our roles are essential as the demand increases for estate planning and protecting assets and net worth. It can be very challenging, but it’s such a great and exciting career for anyone who enjoys problem-solving and helping clients reach their goals!

Looking to make a career change this year?

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