Rebecca Brown Schulter, Partner at UCL Financial Group, grew up in the life insurance and financial services business. Being the daughter of 2004-2005 NAIFA national President C. Robert “Bob” Brown, the 2021 Advisor Today Four Under 40 winner saw firsthand the positive impact her father and his colleagues made in their clients’ lives. Now, while following in her father’s footsteps as a Partner with UCL Financial Group in Memphis, she has forged her own way, creating strong client relationships and providing superior service.
“This is a career I have been around my whole life, and I’d been to NAIFA meetings my whole life,” said Schulter, a loyal NAIFA member since 2015. But that doesn’t mean she immediately dove into the business.
When she was 17, Schulter had a very different career path in mind. She moved to New York City by herself and was one of the youngest students in her class at New York University, where she majored in theater and graduated with honors. She remained in New York working in theater, film, and television. But even during her stint in entertainment, her connection to the insurance and financial services industry remained.
“When my dad was the incoming NAIFA president and I just turned 22, I sang the National Anthem at the NAIFA national conference in Las Vegas,” Schulter said. Later, after her career had taken a turn and she was herself a NAIFA member, she again sang the National Anthem at NAIFA’s 2016 conference, also in Las Vegas. “My joke is, ‘I only do Vegas,’” she said.
After 10 years in New York, Schulter returned to Memphis. “When I left New York City I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I wanted it to be meaningful and I wanted to be able to help people on a daily basis and make a difference,” she said. “So I started talking to my dad more about what he did. I’ve seen over the years the services he provides and the relationships he builds and how he truly was making a difference in people’s lives and in our community.”
She accepted the opportunity to join her father’s firm as a financial advisor. While UCL Financial Group is a multi-generational agency, Schulter often works with young professionals, young families, and business owners. Her current focus is financial planning and wealth management. Although she joined a multigenerational family firm, Schulter has made her own mark on the business and created her own success.
“People see me and they see that I’m succeeding my dad and they assume that means I’m on his payroll,” she said. But the reality is very different. “In this business, you’re your own CEO and your own boss. Nobody’s going to hand it to you. At the end of the day, it’s all about how much you put into it.”
The Qualities of a Successful Advisor
Her career in financial services allows Schulter to serve young professionals and families – people like her – and set a strong, positive example for her daughter and son. She said she is motivated by “always trying to do what’s right for my clients.”
“It’s the relationships I’ve built,” she added. “Your clients become your friends and, vice versa, your friends become your clients. So I’m motivated to show up for them every day and show up for my family. Because this is a great profession that helps me provide for my family.”
Schulter describes herself as a perfectionist and tenacious. While both qualities have contributed to her success, she believes the most important quality for a financial service professional is self-motivation.
“You’re an entrepreneur,” she explained. “So you need to be organized, you’ve got to be motivated, and you’ve got to be disciplined.”
Empathy and compassion are also key characteristics for financial professionals. For example, Schulter said, she has recently worked with several widows, helping them determine what’s important to them and mapping out their futures. She approaches this task with grace. “I make sure that they know that, even though their life is different now, they're going to be okay,” she said.
Away from Work and in the Community
When she’s not working, Schulter likes to stay active, running, working out, and doing Yoga and Pilates. “Every day, for my own peace of mind, I need to move in some way,” she said. “I enjoy it. It keeps me sane.” In that vein, she is training to run the New York City Marathon this year.
Her daughter and son also keep her on her toes. She is the Social Chair of the Parent Connections Board for her daughter’s school and is on the Investment Committee for the school’s Executive Board. She has also presented at the Junior League promoting financial literacy and helps raise funds for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
A Good NAIFA Citizen
Schulter is a graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute (LILI) and takes the program’s service commitment seriously. She is the President of NAIFA-Memphis-West Tennessee and Secretary of the NAIFA-Tennessee chapter, which puts her in line to be NAIFA-Tennessee President in 2024. She also serves on NAIFA’s national Young Advisor Team Committee.
She is the Regional Vice-Chair for NAIFA’s Grassroots Committee and has participated in NAIFA’s state legislative day events and the Congressional Conference. She is passionate about the political advocacy work NAIFA does. “Sometimes it feels like we're under attack,” she said. “Advocacy is important not only to protect our industry and what we do but what we do for our clients. With some of these new regulations, it just makes it harder to serve our clients. Policymakers often don't see the impact that it has on being able to take care of middle America.”
Schulter’s commitment and drive – in her professional life, in her community, and within NAIFA – has made a strong impression on her clients and colleagues, as well as among respected luminaries in the insurance and financial services industry.
“I think we would all agree that the epitome of a NAIFA leader is someone who excels in their practice, believes in and contributes to NAIFA, and gives back to their community, and all this while being grounded at home and knowing that is what life is all about,” said NAIFA 2021 national President Tom Michel, LACP. “Rebecca encompasses all of this. I am proud to have known her a long time. She bleeds NAIFA blue like her parents.”