Tributes have poured in following the death of Synchron founder and Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) stalwart Paul Riegelhuth.
Riegelhuth passed away on Friday afternoon at the age of 64, following a fall at his Melbourne home last Sunday.
He first entered the industry as an insurance clerk with South British United in 1965, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a T&G insurance agent. He moved to Mercantile Mutual and then to Friends Provident where he met fellow Synchron director Don Trapnell.
In a statement, Trapnell and fellow Synchron director John Prosser said they were shattered by the loss of “not only our business partner but a dear mate and a lifelong friend”.
“This Sunday, 5 May, we were to celebrate the 30th anniversary of working together. That is longer than most marriages,” Trapnell said.
“Paul was incredibly knowledgeable and professional in the life insurance industry. He really believed in the value of the work we do with our clients and was a passionate supporter of the industry.”
Trapnell said Paul was also a character: “He loved the Collingwood Football Club, AC/DC and Jimmy Barnes and had a crazy sense of humour. He was an enthusiastic supporter of all the madness that is Synchron’s NextGen conferences and was a most unlikely leader of the aerobics sessions.
“People say that Paul’s greatest strength was that everybody loved him and his greatest weakness was that he wanted everyone to love him. Judging by the hundreds of messages of support and sympathy we have received in the short hours since his death, we believe his wish was granted.”
Paul’s daughter, Synchron adviser and AFA GenXT chair Sarah Riegelhuth, is the third generation of Riegelhuths to work in the industry and his stepson, Shane Dreier, works in Paul’s retail business, WealthMap.
AFA president Michael Novak also paid tribute to Paul.
“Over many years Paul has made a huge contribution to the AFA. He was an AFA Life Member, Victorian Director of the AFA Investment Fund, National Conference Chairman, former AFA Board Member and National Vice President. He will be greatly missed by many in the AFA family,” he said.
“Our sympathy and thoughts are with Paul's family, wife Glenda, children Sarah, Emma and Shane, the Synchron team and all those whose life Paul was a part of.”
Julie Bennett, who represents both Synchron and the AFA on public relations matters, also extended her public sympathies.
“I am personally devastated to learn of the accidental death of Synchron director, Paul Riegelhuth,” Bennett said in a statement. “Synchron has been a 64 Media client for many years and we have come to regard Paul and the Synchron team as part of our 64 Media family.”
Vale, Paul Riegelhuth.
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