The Qualy Group

The Qualy Group of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network has seven offices in Missouri and Illinois. Front row, from left: managing director Steve Gross; managing partner John Qualy, CLU; managing director Gerard Hempstead, CLU, ChFC, CFP, CPA. Back row: managing director Brett Gilliland; chief development officer Matt Plocher, CLU, ChFC; managing director David Hahs, CLU, ChFC; managing director Chris Lowery, CLU, ChFC, CPA; and managing director Brian Schmuke. Photo by Jason Mueller

Financial security tops everyone’s wish list these days. “Now more than ever, it’s crucial to determine your needs and wants for the future, quantify them realistically and develop a plan to achieve them,” says John Qualy, managing partner of The Qualy Group of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. “It’s critical to get advice from a caring, knowledgeable financial expert representing a strong, highly rated company. A sound financial security plan includes savings and investments, so you’re protected from the roller-coaster ride of our economy. We help clients achieve long-term security not just by growing and managing their assets, but by protecting them.”

    The Qualy Group, with seven offices in Missouri and Illinois, specializes in insurance products, estate planning and investment services. Qualy, the third generation of his family to work for Northwestern Mutual, has been with the company more than 40 years. “Northwestern is known for its stability even in volatile economic times,” he says. “Although future dividends are not guaranteed, our records show that Northwestern Mutual has paid a dividend every year since 1872, including $40 billion in dividends to policy owners in the last 10 years.” The company continues to earn the best possible insurance financial strength ratings for both life and long-term care insurance from A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investment Service. Records for 2009 also indicate The Qualy Group is a leader among all Northwestern Mutual network offices, Qualy adds. “Last year, clients who bought participating life insurance policies through The Qualy Group received $95 million in dividends from Northwestern Mutual.”

    In today’s marketplace, clients need a holistic approach that integrates their family’s unique needs with risk and wealth management, Qualy explains. “For example, my permanent life and disability program has been the foundation for financial security throughout my lifetime,” he says. “It has protected my family and business in the event of death, and it’s forced me to save money every month in good times and bad. It protects my plan should I become disabled, and provides me with an ever-increasing source of capital for possible use now—say, if I want to buy a home or fund a college education—and ultimately for retirement.”

    The company prides itself on maintaining strong personal relationships with its clients. “A solid financial security plan requires good communication between the representative and client,” Qualy says. “It requires consistent reviews and updates as people and institutions change. Our job is to explain options clearly, so clients understand each financial product and make recommendations. So many people get started in the process too late and end up taking greater risk to achieve objectives. We encourage our clients to plan like they’re going to live forever and live like they’re going to die tomorrow.”

    Qualy attributes the results obtained by his group to the leadership in each office. This includes managing directors Brian Schmuke, Columbia, Mo.; Brett Gilliland, Glen Carbon, Ill.; Chris Lowery, Belleville, Ill.; David Hahs, Cape Girardeau, Mo; Steve Gross, Chesterfield, Mo; and Gerard Hempstead, Clayton, Mo. Chief development officer Matt Plocher leads the managing directorship in downtown St. Louis. Top ‘200 plus lives’ producers for 2009 included Chris Wright, Tom Dankenbring, Chris Koon, Scott Niekamp and Doug Berry.

    “When our clients walk away from a meeting with their representative, they know they’ve made a positive step toward peace of mind,” Qualy says. “We see ourselves as catalysts helping our communities become financially secure. We serve one person, one family and one business at a time. Every life matters!” 

On the Cover: The Qualy Group of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network specializes in insurance products, estate analysis and investment services. It has seven offices throughout the Missouri and Illinois region.  For more information, call 231-3931 or visit

Northwestern Mutual LIfe Insurance Company (NM) Milwaukee, WI.  Northwestern Mutual Financial Network is the marketing name for the sales and distribution arm of NM (life and disability income insurance, annuities) and its subsidiaries and affiliates.  Securities are offered through Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, a wholly-owned company of NM, broker-dealer and member FINRA and SIPC.

Cover design by Noah Palone