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Matt Sonnen, Wealth Management Vet, Opens PFI Advisors

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Matt Sonnen, who previously held senior positions at Focus Financial Partners and Luminous Capital, will lead PFI Advisors, a new consultancy focused on large financial advisor breakaway teams and existing RIA firms in expansion mode, the firm announced Wednesday.

PFI (“Pure Financial Independence”) Advisors will provide a customized consulting model to help billion-dollar financial advisory teams navigate choices of technology, business and RIA infrastructure needed to transition wirehouse businesses into independent firms. 

“The reason many billion-dollar teams do not move, or move to expensive platforms that take a piece of their business in some form, is that they look out and see complexity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity in the transition process,” Sonnen said in a statement.

As well, large teams that want to serve their clients as independents have many choices when it comes to making the switch, he said. “Those with a desire to keep 100% of their equity, revenue and control of their financial destinies now have a partner on the path to pure independence.”

PFI Advisors said the perception of many wirehouse teams that the transition to independence is too painful or requires a pre-established platform was incorrect, and its services can help cross the gap.

It will offer new RIAs customized business and RIA infrastructure, on-site transition support and billing setup and processing.

For existing RIAs looking to expand their businesses, the advisor can help with technology assessments and conversions, opening new office locations and M&A integration when an RIA acquires or merges with another firm.

Sonnen worked at Merrill Lynch from the late 1990s until 2005, when he left to build the infrastructure for Luminous Capital prior to its founding in 2008.  As chief operating officer and head of compliance at Luminous, a California-based wealth manager, he saw the firm grow from $1.7 billion in assets to nearly $6 billion in less than five years. 

Luminous Capital sold to First Republic Bank for more than $100 million in 2012.

Sonnen’s next stop was Focus Financial Partners in New York, where he helped breakaway teams and new RIAs develop strategic initiatives to benefit from best practices, streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Back in California, he launched PFI Advisors with Larissa Sonnen, his wife and business partner.

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