Sam Albanese, industry pioneer, dies at 76

By Noushin Ziafati | April 11, 2024 | Last updated on April 11, 2024
2 min read

Sam Albanese, a leader and pioneer in the financial services industry, has died. He was 76.

Albanese’s career in life insurance and wealth management spanned more than four decades. During that time, he transformed financial planning education in Canada.

He got his start at Halifax Life in 1979, where he was responsible for the sales and marketing of insurance products across Canada.

In 1990, he launched his own insurance brokerage, Albanese Financial Group Inc. (AFG), which he expanded from coast to coast. He sold the brokerage to IPC in 2001, and bought it back in 2003.

In 2005, he approached Seneca College to realize his dream of mentoring the next generation of financial advisors, founding the Financial Services Practitioner program.

Albanese recruited experts in the field to help run the program and train aspiring advisors to address a problem he described as “greying” in the financial services industry.

In 2012, he told sister publication Investment Executive that there are “so many things that today’s advisor” must know to succeed.

“We’ve got far more complex products, we have a much more complex consumer, a much more demanding consumer. There are taxation aspects, there’s compliance, there are regulatory issues,” he said at the time.

“Just getting a life insurance licence, or just getting a mutual fund licence, in my mind, doesn’t cut it anymore.”

George Hartman, president and CEO of Market Logics Inc., said attracting and training new financial services professionals in Canada will be Albanese’s lasting legacy.

“My best recollection of Sam’s contributions, although there are many to the industry, was the introduction of community college-based financial planning education programs, which gave budding advisors a good head start in the industry,” Hartman said.

“It has subsequently been copied by many other community colleges, but I certainly credit him with being the driving force.”

Among other accomplishments, Albanese also co-authored a book called Right Answers: The Answers to 260 of Your Retirement Questions. 

Byren Innes, managing director of Jennings Consulting Ltd., described Albanese as an “innovator” in the insurance industry, helping to drive the push toward independent insurance distribution.

“I always found he was easy to work with, a man of integrity, willing to help and someone who had a genuine interest in the industry and seeing progress,” Innes said.

Jim Ruta, president of Advisorcraft Media Group, who knew Albanese both personally and professionally, shared a similar sentiment.

“He was a good man with the very best intentions for the financial services advisor business,” Ruta said. “And he was someone who took action to make it happen.”

Albanese is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and two brothers.

His funeral will be held Friday in Markham, Ont.

In an obituary, Albanese’s family has asked for donations to either the Princess Margaret Cancer Hospital Foundation or the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation, where he received care.

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Noushin Ziafati

Noushin has been the associate editor of since 2024. Previously, she worked at outlets including the CBC, Canadian Press, CTV News, Telegraph-Journal and Chronicle Herald. Reach her at