T.R. Moreau, BMO Wealth Management

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features T.R. Moreau, director–BMO Wealth Management, advisor–BMO Private Bank.
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 What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most rewarding aspect of my role at BMO Wealth Management is helping people establish their financial goals and setting a path of success to achieve them. I started in this industry because a person very close to me had lost her husband and had never really handled finances before. When I saw her vulnerability, it impacted me tremendously and I knew this was an industry I wanted to be a part of and help people. Knowing I helped guide her to financial stability and independence is a specific situation that highlights the most rewarding aspect.

 

Regarding the most challenging aspect, it has been meeting new people during a pandemic. Previously coffee, lunches, and face-to-face meetings were prominent for discussing sensitive and personal financial information but with so much separation during the pandemic, having those conversations has been more challenging. This year it has certainly improved, and I hope it continues to be a better environment for everyone.

 

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

Several mentors in my personal and business career have had major impacts on my philosophy, viewpoint, and knowledge. One who comes to mind from an academic perspective is Clay Christensen, my professor at Harvard Business School. His theory and viewpoint of disruptive innovation with applications in every business segment truly opened my mind and eyes to a thought process of continuous improvement throughout my career. The most influential was my father, Ron Moreau, who has since passed. He taught me life and business principles throughout my years. A lifetime of learning was beyond important to him, and he passed that aspect on to me. Also, his ability to execute disciplined business strategy while at the same time create a culture of truly caring about employees, clients, and their families has been instrumental in my business approach.

 

What has been the high point of your career so far?

That is a great question, and one people probably don’t always ask themselves very often. It’s difficult to answer because I have been very proud of certain achievements, but the one that stands out isn’t necessarily my own achievement but that of a mentee of mine. This young gentleman made a tough transition from minor professional hockey to the business world and started with me at his first “real job.” I taught him the same principles, perspective, and business philosophy I was taught by my mentors. He is now flourishing on the West Coast in the pharmaceutical industry, and I am beyond proud of what he has accomplished. Reflecting on myself, if I am a true believer in continuous improvement, the answer should be tomorrow or next year. There was a famous speech that once talked about always chasing who you will be in 10 years, and I subscribe to that philosophy.

 

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Read the Wall Street Journal. Build relationships throughout your career. Pay yourself first and invest in the market. Have many mentors throughout your life. Be a lifelong learner. Look at where the economy will be, not where it is. Read the lyrics to “Cat’s in the Cradle.”

 

What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

I attended UW in my undergraduate years, so Madison has always held a certain place in my heart. My family and I lived in Philadelphia for 15 years and moved back two years ago to specifically be in Madison during my transition to BMO Wealth Management. We love Badger hockey home games, Plaza burgers, and the Tornado Room. My wife and our three teenagers love living here where you have the openness of people and a genuine good heartedness.

 

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

Some people are surprised to find out I played for the Badger men’s hockey team back in the late ’90s under Coaches Sauer, Johnson, and Ford. My experience with the team and UW was one of the main reasons to move back. My family loves to go to the games and it is great knowing the Badger alumni in the area. I still go on the ice, but only to coach nowadays for my kids and a team of select high school kids from the Greater Madison area.

 

What are your guilty pleasures?

My mother is Italian, so many guilty pleasures stem from growing up with her side of the family, namely food, wine, and dance. Sundays we make pasta and serve it with wine, and usually once a month do a five-course meal over five hours. Dancing is big at all the Italian weddings of every relative, and we tend to take over the whole wedding dance floor. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and dancing the tarantella are our staples at those events.

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