Bonnyville financial advisor among top in Canada

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A Bonnyville financial advisor is being recognized as one of the best in the country.

Ron Rusnak, owner of Rusnak Financial, has been named one of the top 50 financial advisors in Canada in 2016, according to Wealth Professional Canada.

“It’s quite humbling to be recognized at that level in Canada,” Rusnak told the Nouvelle last week. “I know I couldn’t do it myself, I’ve got a great staff here that work with me… It’s all a team effort. When you hire the right people and get the right talents it makes it a lot easier in getting the job done.”

This isn’t the first time the local financial advisor has been included on this list. He also won the award in 2014, when the focus of it was the amount of business done by an advisor. For the 2016 award, a list of the country’s premier financial planners was compiled, and turned over to the industry’s top advisory firms to make a selection. The winners were chosen based on increasing assets, bringing in new clients, boosting revenues, or another variable that sets them apart.

“I think it’s the amount of business we do, even when the economy isn’t the greatest because the oil industry’s been hit pretty hard. We still managed to do quite well, keep our clients going in the right direction, and grow their investments,” said Rusnak, adding they currently serve around 400 to 450 clients.

While he’s earned his place on the top 50 list in the financial advisory industry, it wasn’t always the path Rusnak thought he would take.

Born and raised in Bonnyville, after taking finance at NAIT right out of high school, Rusnak didn’t see himself pursuing it for the rest of his life. So, he left the program before graduating in 1979.

“There was a choice of selling life insurance door-to-door back then, or working at a bank. I didn’t want to work at a bank, so I looked for other career opportunities and kept that on the back burner.”

Instead, he turned to power engineering, working with Imperial Oil for 21 years. Starting out in Red Water at their chemical division, he moved back to the area to work in the heavy oil industry.

He continued to stay in touch with what was going on in the financial world. In the late 1990s, the financial advisor he was dealing with convinced Rusnak to make the move back into finance, and in 2001, he agreed. Leaving Imperial Oil, he started working as a financial advisor in Cold Lake, and within a year and a half, became fully licensed.

“He moved to Sherwood Park, so I ended up taking over that office space. I stayed there for a few years and, in January 2007, moved the office to this location and joined Ron Berube, who was the established advisor here. Since then, he’s retired so I’ve taken over his operation and the office completely,” explained Rusnak.

Since becoming a financial advisor, Rusnak has gone through the ups and downs of the industry, continually growing his business and clientele.

“A lot of our job entails laying out the plan, monitoring it, and making sure the clients stay to their path. Emotion gets involved when its your plan, so that’s why you need someone from the outside to help you with your plan.”

Rusnak added, “What I like best is being able to help people achieve their goals, being able to help them along with their life planning and get them to where they want to be.”

With one of Canada’s top 50 advisors at the helm, Rusnak Financial will be continuing to add clients, and helping new and current ones reach their goals. Rusnak noted that they have no plans of leaving or expanding business somewhere else, as Bonnyville is home for him, his wife, and his two daughters and one granddaughter.

For those starting out as a financial advisor, Rusnak has one piece of advice: get guidance from a reputable senior advisor.

“It’s tough to start out on your own and do it by yourself. Hooking up with a senior advisor, you can gain a lot of information to help you grow your business moving forward. This is an ever-growing business… It’s an ever-changing business, so be able to adapt to change.”

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