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Peter Noel

Business Development Partner
Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
Peter Noel
Peter Noel
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

I help new financial advisors develop their skills so they can help their clients make good financial decisions.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Born in Carbonear, NL, grew up in Freshwater (Conception Bay North), NL

I now live in: Mount Pearl, NL

I completed my training/education at: I have a Bachelor of Arts (History) and a Bachelor of Education (High School) both from Memorial University of Newfoundland,

I have my Chartered Life Underwriter’s designation (Advocis Canada). This is a senior designation for those in the financial services industry.

I also have completed a Life Licensing Qualification Program (Advocis Canada). This program is required to write the provincial licensing exams to become a financial advisor.

What I do at work

My key activities revolve around building our team of financial advisors. I reach out to and interview potential candidates to join our team of advisors. This takes about 30% of my time. The rest of my time, about 70%, involves coaching and mentoring a team of 8 – 12 existing advisors.

Our selection process involves reaching out to hundreds of potential candidates per year. From this pool, we will interview about 75 to 100 candidates. After a lengthy selection process, we will bring 3 to 5 new advisors on per year.

Working with our new advisors includes weekly coaching sessions and attending some of their client meetings in the early stage of their career. I help them solve any problems they have with clients, head office or other parties. I also help them deal with technical issues and training them on the various client and business management tools we use.

The main role of our advisors is to help our clients protect their family’s financial future and build plan for retirement. My main decisions are around whom we bring on as advisors. We have an in-depth process to help us, and our candidates, decide if the advisor career is right for them. Individuals with science or math backgrounds do well in this industry because they have strong analytical and problem-solving abilities. Many of our processes depend on science and math skills to be successful. Understanding your numbers (number of clients, appointments, sales, etc.) is essential in most businesses. Ours is no different.

I work with our advisors as part of a huge team. I work with other leaders in our financial centre and throughout our company across the country. We work with insurance and wealth specialists, underwriters, and other essential employees. All these people are required so that we can provide the best products for our clients and give them the best service possible.

My career path is

Did not know what I wanted to do when I finished high school. I did know I needed a post-secondary education. I enjoyed History in school so decided to study this at university. I also completed a Bachelor of Education. When I graduated, I taught high school for 1 ½ years. From here, I moved on to a position as a political assistant to the person elected to our provincial government.

When that ended, I was recruited as a financial advisor. After two years, I became a sales manager. This was equivalent to my current role.  After 12 years in the financial services industry, I was convinced to go back into the political world. During this time, I had a number of roles. I spent time as Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Opposition. When his party formed government, I became the Principal Assistant to the Premier. Later I worked as the Senior Advisor in the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. My final role in government was as Private Secretary (Assistant Deputy Minister) to the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. With a change of government I, and many others, were let go from senior roles. I then decided to go back into the field of financial advising.  However, Sun Life recruited me to take on my current leadership role. In this position I help recruit new advisors and to work with them to help them be successful. Check my LinkedIn profile for more information.

I am motivated by

I get excited when I meet great candidates, who have the potential to become great advisors. I also get excited when the advisors I work with have success. My career is relevant and fulfilling when I see that advisors are doing a great job for their clients and truly looking after their best interests.

Watching individual advisors having success is the most interesting. It is not always predictable who will be the most successful and who will struggle. What I enjoy most is meeting new people and educating them on the advisor career. I like explaining how and why it is an extremely important and valuable role in our society.

I have had many extremely interesting and rewarding roles in my life. My current role is right for me at this stage of my life as I personally near retirement. It is personally rewarding to pass on my experience and knowledge to advisors just entering the career. If I were younger, my choice would be to become an advisor once again.

How I affect people’s lives

My career matters because I bring qualified people into the financial advisor career and help them to be good advisors. When a person dies prematurely, they leave behind a family who depended on them financially. Because of the work that our advisors did with our clients, we help that family be ok financially. When a child goes on to post-secondary education, may be because of the work that our advisor did. Long before the child graduated, the advisor may have helped the parents develop a plan that saved the money to pay for it. When people retire after a lifetime of working, the work a financial advisor did years before allows them to retire comfortably. A child once asked one of our advisors what his job was. He replied, “I bring money to people when they need it the most.”

Outside of work I

Outside of work, I am an active musician / singer / songwriter. I perform solo and with a full band, and recorded an album a few years back. I am also an active member of the Kinsmen Club of St. John’s. I also volunteer with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum committee and the Royal Canadian Legion. I also am an avid RVer. My wife and I own a motorhome and this is where you can find us most weekends from May to November!

My advice to others

The advisor career is a great career for the right people, but it is definitely not for everyone. Most of our long-term advisors make an above average income and have great work/life balance. Those in my position generally have experience as an advisor first. For those that are like to work as a coach, trainer, and want to move up in the corporate world, the Business Development Partner role will satisfy that. However, you do give up some of your independence. You also may find that many of those you are coaching, mentoring and training, do better financially.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Geography
  • History
  • Physical Education/Health
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
  • Was really creative
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned best “by doing"
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing, berry picking and hunting
  • Played music and was in a band

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