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Watertown broker to cap off 46-year career of serving clients

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Stockbroker T. Michael Savage will end a 46-year career today when he leaves his office at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in the former Agricultural Insurance Co. building at 215 Washington St.

And the 70-year-old, who lives in Rochester with his wife, Anne E., knows what he’s going to miss the most about his job: “Talking to my clients on a daily basis,” he said. “With the idea that when I talk to them, we do constructive things in their investment portfolio that help them do well in the future. And I’m going to miss the friendships I’ve made over the years.”

Mr. Savage, a native of Toronto, started a network of relationships with people in the north country when he was an undergraduate studying economics at St. Lawrence University, Canton, where he was a scholarship athlete on the hockey team. It was there that he met his wife, the former Anne E. LeBeau, a Watertown native who gave him a good reason to anchor his career in the north country.

The couple initially moved across the border to Ontario, where Mr. Savage served a short stint as an investment adviser for the Royal Trust Co. But in 1971, the Savages moved to Watertown, where Mr. Savage was hired by the trust department of the National Bank of Northern New York, which merged with KeyBank in 1980. He then joined Tucker Anthony in Watertown in 1978.

In 2001, Mr. Savage left the firm with business partner Michael J. Alteri to serve the last leg of his career at Morgan Stanley.

Reflecting on his career, Mr. Savage remembers the decision he made at age 29 to leave Canada and become a U.S. citizen. It was a challenging decision, but one he doesn’t regret.

“I put down on a legal pad the reasons I should leave in one column and the reasons I should stay in the other,” he said. “The leave column was longer, and leaving turned out to be the biggest decision I ever made.”

Gregory G. Couch, a colleague at Morgan Stanley, said Mr. Savage had a deep, heartfelt commitment to his clients that made an impression on everyone he met.

“Every time I would talk to him about something business-wise, his first thought would always be, ‘Does this make sense for my clients?’ He was so client-focused, constantly analyzing investments in the market,” Mr. Couch said. “He’s the kind of guy that could be on a golf course Saturday afternoon and thinking about his clients. It wasn’t a nine-to-five banker’s job for him, and I don’t think he ever stopped.”

How will this passionate investor survive during his retirement years? Only time will tell.

“I’m first going to try to satisfy my wife by letting her know I won’t be in her hair for the rest of my life,” Mr. Savage said with a laugh.

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