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Insurance executive Al Salvino

asalvinoIn June 2013, Al Salvino began his 50th year in the investment industry, with more than 30 years at William Blair & Company. It is a record that represents stability, dependability and loyalty to both his clients and the firm.

Al joined William Blair in 1988 and became a partner of the firm in 1990. When sons Tom and John joined the firm, they formed the Salvino Wealth Management Team. Partners of the firm, they strongly believe that the team approach is one of the keys to their success.

“We admire the Mayo Clinic model,” says John. Founded by a father who was later joined by two sons, the Mayos believed in an integrated group practice, seeking a second and third opinion. “We feel that the more perspective we bring to the table, the better we are at understanding our clients’ goals and objectives, and can manage accordingly. And, we aim for a comprehensive solution to our clients’ wealth, rather than focusing on one aspect of their finances.”

The Salvinos relish the personal side of the business. They make it a point to really understand their clients. Al enjoys, in equal measure, the portfolio management. “I have always enjoyed the markets,” he says. “The secret is in managing what is under your control and preparing for what is beyond your control.” Often, his clients have made their wealth on the factory floor or in the operating room. From there, Al’s mission is to grow that money in the markets.

Al remembers his first job in the investment industry at the well-respected firm A.G. Becker. “Much has changed since those days,” says Al. “But clients still value intelligence, transparency, and reliability.” In fact, the Salvinos work with some of the same clients who invested with Al early in his career. With his sons on the team, new generations of those family relationships are now investing with William Blair.

Al and his wife of 50 years, Carole, taught their children to commit to a job and to do it well. “I think his business is proof of his work ethic. He is hardworking, honest, and believes that one most deliver above and beyond expectations. I think our clients recognize and appreciate the consistency of these values and how Dad, together with our mom, has been there for them for so many years,” says John.

The Salvinos believe it is important to own many of the same stocks as their clients; their interests and those of their clients are more aligned. Tom says that in ancient Rome, architects were required to sleep under their bridge the first night of completion to show its worth.

Al is convinced that another key to his success is the value of education, which he learned from his parents, Italian immigrants whose five sons went on to graduate from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago. His own four children have graduate degrees or higher. Tom is a certified financial planner and holds his M.B.A. in finance. John is also a certified financial planner and earned his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. John is the chairman of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Alumni Finance Roundtable. Al, Tom, and John are graduates of the University of Notre Dame. Ann, the oldest, earned her master’s degree in education and is a former high school English teacher, and son Michael is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Hinsdale.

Fifty years may seem like a long time, but as Al wonders, “is it really work if you love what you do and who you do it with?”

The Salvinos, a very close-knit family that vouchsafes their Italian heritage and culture, are also very philanthropic, being supportive and active with Our Lady of Pompeii and the Mercy Boys Homes, to mention just a few. The Italian roots of the Salvino family are traced to Naples on Al’s mother’s side, and Urbino on his father’s side. His parents met in Chicago and had five sons, to whom they always stressed the importance of education. Al and his beautiful wife Carol have the four children and 13 wonderful grandchildren.

[Authors note: We thank the folks at William Blair for their efforts in this article.]

About Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.