Success built on relationships and trust

To be recognized by Wealth Professional Magazine as one of Canada’s best financial advisors even once is an impressive accomplishment, but Lyle Rouleau (BMgt ’89) has done it three times.

As First Vice-President with CIBC Wood Gundy’s Rouleau Investment Group in Edmonton, Rouleau has made Wealth Professional’s annual Top 50 list for the last three years. He was also a finalist in 2015 for Wealth Professional Advisor of the Year and Wealth Professional Multi-Service Advisor of the Year.

“It’s always nice to get recognized by a third party. I’ve never been one to brag or blow my own horn but we’ve been quite successful in building our business over the years,” says Rouleau. “Getting to this point and actually being recognized by an outside publication is quite humbling but I am proud of the work we’ve done to get to this point.”

Even though Rouleau, Investment Advisor and Portfolio Manager, does business in one of Canada’s largest cities, he hasn’t lost his small town values. He’s originally from Eaglesham, a small farming community about an hour’s drive northeast of Grande Prairie. His roots and his education at the University of Lethbridge (U of L) gave him a foundation that has served him well since he started his career more than 20 years ago.

“Our business can be cyclical depending on what the markets are doing and what my clients are doing. To maintain it over the last few years — with the slowdown in the Canadian and global economies and with commodity prices — I think we’ve done a fairly decent job,” he says.

Rouleau has built his business based on the belief that he needs to establish a relationship of trust with clients so he can understand their objectives and make decisions in their best interests.

“In this industry, you have to have an understanding of the finance side and knowledge of accounting and taxation. On the relationship management side, you have to be able to listen and know what each client’s needs are,” says Rouleau. “You can be the smartest money manager but if you don’t listen to a client and know them and their needs and objectives, I don’t think you can do a good job.”

Along with the ability to listen, being able to present oneself in a professional manner is key, says Rouleau. The business can be stressful and he only has to think back as far as 2008. Rather than clam up in the face of panicking clients, Rouleau and his staff made sure they responded.

“We bit the bullet and answered every email or picked up our phone. That ability to communicate and walk them through these things is very important in good times and in bad times. I’m lucky I took a couple of psychology courses because sometimes it’s managing emotions,” he says. “One thing about this industry is you’re never going to be 100 per cent right, but the thing is you don’t want to be 100 per cent wrong.”

He didn’t imagine a career in finance when he came to the U of L after completing two years at Grande Prairie Regional College. He didn’t want to complete a degree at a large institution and he’d heard positive things about the U of L’s Faculty of Management, like its small class sizes and the chance to get to know his professors. He majored in marketing and recalls Professor Emeritus Hiroshi Shimazaki inviting his international marketing class home for karaoke and sake. Rouleau recalls a Saturday seminar class he found especially helpful because business people in the community were invited to share their expertise on topics like giving a presentation or writing effectively for business.

Outside of his studies, Rouleau found it easy to make friendships outside his faculty, including meeting his future wife, Dana Stafford (BN ’90).

“I think it was those experiences that made a big difference in my career. I can’t say enough good things about the U of L. It was a great time,” he says.

The Rouleau Investment Group includes an associate investment advisor, an administrative associate and Rouleau’s son, Nolan, who completed a business degree at MacEwan University in April and recently joined the firm.