RICA GUENTHER, Investment and Insurance Advisor, Wellington-Altus Private Wealth, Winnipeg, MB.
“Providing reliable financial advice for my clients
is so much more than industry jargon. It’s about helping them define and achieve
what matters most to them.”
In today’s rapidly changing financial industry, wealth management as a practice is also evolving. For every Canadian seeking guidance, there’s an Advisor out there who is the perfect fit. It’s simply a matter of reaching out, asking questions, and connecting. For Winnipeg’s Rica Guenther, an investment and insurance Advisor at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth, it’s all about building meaningful and lasting relationships while ensuring her client is comfortable and understands the value behind her financial advice and strategies.
Behind everything she does is an appreciation for the trust her clients place in her. “We base a lot of our financial decisions on what we expect to happen in life. I believe it’s also my responsibility as an Advisor to help clients prepare for the unexpected. That’s where my role can evolve into a source of tough love, a life coach and even a couples counselor,” says Rica with a laugh.
“I make it a priority to simplify the complexities of investing, taking conversations beyond industry jargon,” says Rica. “My goal is to create a space where my clients feel empowered to ask questions. Life can be unpredictable, so, I feel great satisfaction knowing that my clients have the confidence and trust to seek my advice through the inevitable ups and downs.”
Rica has a deeply ingrained understanding in the importance of seeking opportunities while navigating risk. When her parents and grandparents originally immigrated from Italy, they too seized opportunity so that Rica, proudly Winnipeg born and raised, could create a future of great prospects. “I admire the courage required to move to a new country and build a new life where you don’t speak the language or know anybody. I believe that seeing those sacrifices first-hand has given me a unique perspective and clear sense of purpose,” says Rica. “As a Financial Advisor, I appreciate that we all have our own histories and experiences. Regardless of where we came from, it takes hard work and discipline to build the life we want. I am passionate about helping my clients not only honor where they came from, but also where they want to go. It’s a privilege to be a part of that process.”
Where Rica sits today is a balance of valuable history and an exciting passion-filled future. Always knowing she’d wind up in business, she’s grateful for her journey here. Officially beginning in the late 1990s as Rica attended university and pre-management courses, her uncle ran into a top-producing CIBC Wood-Gundy Advisor looking for part- time help. “I had no concept of what the brokerage industry was at that point,” says Rica. “We had a conversation, he hired me, and I began cold-calling for him on my offdays during university. That opened up a whole new world of opportunities. In terms of the hands-on learning from one of the best in the industry, I’m very grateful. I’m still in touch regularly and he remains a mentor today.”
The question of what to do next professionally became profound after Rica’s two daughters were born. “I was compelled to do something extremely meaningful to me,” she says. “I had to know that I was adding value.”
That meant moving into an advisory role at National Bank Financial and now with Wellington-Altus, with respected industry legend, and company founder, Charlie Spiring. When Wellington-Altus Private Wealth opened its doors in 2017, Rica was amongst the first 30 employees. “It’s been an incredible ride ever since,” she says.
When asked, “why Wellington-Altus?” the answer was clear for Rica. “This is where I can best serve my clients. From a value alignment standpoint, their priority is client first and that’s absolutely integral. There’s a phenomenal dedication to supporting Advisors and extending the freedom to build the business we feel is in the best interest of our own clients,” says Rica. “As an independent firm, they’ve also invested heavily in technology and innovation, which proved to be invaluable. We were able to pivot seamlessly over the past two years, adapting to periods of working remotely during the COVID pandemic. It is remarkable to think that despite all of the changes we were adapting to both personally and professionally, my ability to service my clients remained constant.”
That consistency is something Rica’s clients can count on thanks to the valuable experience she’s already earned.
“Though it feels like yesterday, I’ve been working in this industry for close to 24 years. There’s great value to that,” says Rica. “I’ve gained the experience to navigate the market with confidence and calm, eliminating the emotion from the process. In times of uncertainty, that is imperative. I want to be there for my clients so they can end up where they want to be.”
Rica is thrilled to apply her expertise in assembling various strategies and the best professionals to create one streamlined plan.
That may involve financial planning, insurance, and even engaging with the client’s accountant to align tax strategies. “When everything comes together it’s so gratifying,” says Rica. “We’re establishing the building blocks of an individual’s entire financial wellbeing.” Once the financial plan is in place, regular financial check-ups ensure Rica always sees the client’s bigger picture and can complement it strategy-wise.
Before delivering financial plans or investment recommendations, Rica’s process always begins with a comprehensive discovery conversation. “My ultimate goal is to get to the heart of what matters to each person I work with so I can help them define their goals and provide the road map to best achieve them. Only once I fully understand their past experiences and what motivates them, I can deliver customized investment and insurance recommendations,” she says.
In building these meaningful relationships, Rica’s family values remain the parallel. From the financial literacy standpoint, she uses what she refers to as her “mom-test,” she explains, “I’m very passionate about the literacy piece in all of this because there’s such a knowledge gap. As people become busy professionals, they often lack the time to decipher the information overload. I work to communicate information in the simplest form so it’s digestible and not jargon. I ask myself, ‘would my mom understand what I’m talking about? Am I taking care of my clients like I would want my own mother to be taken care of?’”
At the end of each day, Rica rests assured she’s put everything into every decision.
In fact, that financial literacy piece is such a passion for Rica, she’s now presenting on it. She also speaks welcomingly to those questioning whether they have outgrown the bank experience. “There’s a preconceived notion when people engage a financial advisor that there’s some sort of criteria they must meet,” says Rica. “In general, anytime you’re experiencing major life change, it’s the appropriate time to reach out. Many of my long-standing clients have come to me in times of major life change–be it personal hardship or celebrating a windfall.”
Rica firmly believes in giving back. She is the current Chair of the RBC Convention Centre’s Board of Directors, proudly supporting the growth of her community and the fellow professionals.
She also adores the culture and culinary rich downtown bustle of Winnipeg, not only the city that Wellington-Altus calls home base, but likely home to the country’s most unpretentious and entrepreneurial folks. At home, she’s often experimenting in the kitchen with friends and family, staying active, or winding down at the family cottage with her husband and two daughters.
Natalie Noble’s love of writing stems from her passion for hearing and sharing people’s stories. Over the years she has written for various business, real estate, and agriculture publications. At the heart of her work is a desire to continuously learn and connect.
Investment Advisor & Insurance Advisor
Spiring Wealth Management
Wellington-Altus Private Wealth Inc.
201 Portage Ave., 25th Floor,
Winnipeg, MB, R3B 3K6