Firing line  

‘When I came into this business, I came into it to make money’

This executive agreed to underwrite $20m of the risk, and others followed suit.

Mr Rosengard built his business by chatting to people: bus conductors, tube train conductors and parking wardens, and then meeting people in bars and restaurants.

“When I came into this business, I came into it to make a lot of money.” And the money came quickly he says, as after his first three months he bought an E-type Jaguar.

However, he thinks he is a good salesman because: “I believe in what I’m selling. I want to be part of the journey. I’m not interested in a hello and goodbye sale. We’re going to be talking for the next 20 or 30 years.”

He begins by asking people about their personal status, whether they are married and have children. Then he asks them what their biggest asset is, and many people invariably say their house. He manages to convince them that their biggest asset is them.

“I’m going to make sure you’re protecting your biggest asset,” is what he tells his clients.

After establishing a business with everyday people, he got a break at investment bank SG Warburg, and then an entry into Cazenove. This created a whole new pool of potential – and more affluent – clients.

“The plans were unit-linked endowment plans, and most people were spenders, single young guys.”

For a small premium, he gave them protection, and said he was ‘Rosengarding’ them.

Today, most of his clients are business people, and premiums would be about £150 or £200 a month.

He has since moved into selling protection policies; critical illness he believes is a saviour to many, likening it to a tax-free bank account when it pays out.

Needless to say, he has a number of celebrity friends, counting Richard Branson as someone he can call up, and numerous rock stars and well-known people as clients, although it is only those from another era he can publicise: the Hollies and Allan Clarke, and the founder of 10cc.

But if a young person wanted to know what it is like to be a salesman, they could do a lot worse than take a look at how Mr Rosengard has built his career, based on empathy, a desire to make a lot of money and ultimately a certain degree of audacity.

Melanie Tringham is deputy features editor of Financial Adviser and FTAdviser.com