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The Model FA

Jan 4, 2022

Matt Sonnen is the Founder and CEO of PFI Advisors, an organization that helps RIA owners build the infrastructure and culture they need to grow their profit. Matt—who is celebrating 25 years in the wealth management industry in 2022—began his career in the industry as a Financial Analyst in Merrill Lynch. He then progressed to Luminous Capital, where he served as the Director of Operations, Chief Compliance Officer, and Chief Operating Officer. He also worked at Focus Financial Partners, where he was the Vice President for two years. In addition to his work as the CEO of PFI Advisors, Matt is also the creator of the digital consulting platform, COO Society, and host of the COO Roundtable Podcast.

Matt joins us today to share his expertise on practice and operations management. He discusses his background and explains how eating at a sandwich shop in UCLA led him to the wealth management industry. He outlines the core operational issues financial advisors face and how Matt and his team at PFI help them. He also outlines the essential SOPs every financial advisor must have in their organizations and underscores the importance of segmenting your clients.


“Markets go up and down. While we can’t control that, we can always control our service.” - Matt Sonnen


This week on The Model FA Podcast:

  • Matt’s background, sandwich of choice, and how he found himself landing a job in the wealth management industry
  • Operational matters that financial advisors generally struggle with
  • The value of creating a process and operations manual
  • How the process of writing a manual helps you evaluate your company’s operations
  • Foundational business standard operating procedures that every RIA must have
  • The anchoring effect and how to make a great client experience
  • The role of the onboarding process in creating an impactful client experience
  • Misconceptions on client segmentation and service offering


Resources Mentioned:


Our Favorite Quotes:

  • “Solidifying from the start that clients will have an amazing experience with you makes it more likely that they’ll be willing to talk about you with others.” - David DeCelle
  • “Client segmentation is about service offering. You need to figure out what your ideal client is and how your firm is going to service them.” - Matt Sonnen
  • “For an onboarding process to turn into an onboarding experience, go from making clients feel like they made a good decision to making them feel like they can talk about it to other people.” - David DeCelle


Connect with Matt Sonnen:


About the Model FA Podcast

The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes  to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams. 


Did you like this conversation? Then leave us a rating and a review in whatever podcast player you use. We would love your feedback, and your ratings help us reach more advisors with ideas for growing their practices, attracting great clients, and achieving a better quality of life. While you are there, feel free to share your ideas about future podcast guests or topics you’d love to see covered. 


Our Team:

President of Model FA, David DeCelle


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