New Breakaway Financial Advisor Transition Platform, PFI Advisors, Launches

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First of its kind model for bringing billion-dollar financial advisor breakaway teams to the independent channel, PFI Advisors will be led by Matt Sonnen, a veteran independent advisory firm architect. Sonnen played a pivotal role in the growth and eventual sale of Luminous Capital to First Republic Bank

PFI Advisors provides a customized consulting model to help large financial advisory teams navigate the many choices of technology, business and RIA infrastructure needed to transition wirehouse businesses into the RIA universe.

PFI Advisors (“Pure Financial Independence”) today announced its launch as an RIA business building partner for billion-dollar financial advisor breakaway teams and existing large RIA firms in expansion mode. The new consultancy will be led by Matt Sonnen, formerly of Focus Financial Partners and also Luminous Capital, which sold to First Republic Bank in December of 2012 for over $100 million.

PFI Advisors provides a customized consulting model to help large financial advisory teams navigate the many choices of technology, business and RIA infrastructure needed to transition wirehouse businesses into the RIA universe. No basis points, no percentage of earnings, no equity required – that is pure financial independence.

“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,” says Sonnen. “And it is true that large teams that know they can provide better service for their clients as independents have an ever expanding set of choices when it comes to making the switch. 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 is intimately familiar with the business models of firms that offer breakaway teams “quasi” independence. While these options are a fine fit for some, they can be a poor choice for advisory teams with a long runway to retirement or a deep rooted entrepreneurial drive. PFI clients maintain control of their future, own their economics, and the creation of the best possible business model to serve the clients they know better than anyone else.

Sonnen’s previous experience at Merrill Lynch and then Chief Operating Officer/Chief Compliance Officer at Luminous Capital followed by his position as the VP of Strategic Operations at Focus Financial Partners uniquely positions him to guide teams through transitions. The perception of wirehouse teams examining the independent landscape is that the transition is too painful or that they need a pre-established platform to help them cross the gap. PFI believes this perception is inaccurate, as owning 100% of the client experience, the revenues, and the equity is the right of every entrepreneurial advisory team.

For existing RIAs, PFI Advisors is available to consult on many of the operational and strategic issues facing larger firms as they continue to grow and need scale. Unlike most consultant’s that specialize in only one product/service, PFI can speak to the entire RIA Ecosystem, and can help firm’s determine integration points among all of their various technologies. PFI also specializes in M&A integration, when an RIA buys or merges with another firm.

"I am very excited for Matt and to see what he can do to help entrepreneurial advisors to build and grow exceptional businesses,” said Rich Gill, who in his former capacity as President of Connections at Focus Financial Partners, worked with Mr. Sonnen. “We worked together for years and his hands-on expertise in managing the establishment, development and prosperity of advisory firms is second to none.”

Sonnen concludes: “There is an old saying, ‘Trust one who has gone through it’ – and at PFI we have walked this path both with and as advisors. We look forward to helping many more.”

Specific Services Offered by PFI Advisors for New RIAs

1) Customized Business Infrastructure
2) Customized RIA Infrastructure
3) On-Site Transition Support
4) Billing Set-Up and Processing

Specific Services Offered by PFI Advisors for Existing RIAs

1) Technology Assessments
2) Technology Conversions
3) Opening New Office Locations
4) Merger Integration

About PFI Advisors

“Pure Financial Independence.”

Today, wirehouse advisors looking to establish their own RIA are looking for guidance and support that won't require them to mortgage their future. PFI Advisors was founded in 2015 to service that unmet need. PFI Advisors provides office infrastructure, RIA infrastructure, and transition services for a simple consulting fee. There is no complicated long-term AUM fee structure or equity stake required to build the firm’s future and provide advisors Pure Financial Independence.

About Matt Sonnen
Prior to founding PFI Advisors, Matt Sonnen learned the ins and outs of the wirehouse model at Merrill Lynch in the late '90s. After leaving Merrill in 2005, he was introduced to the RIA marketplace a few years later when he helped build the infrastructure for Luminous Capital prior to their founding in 2008. As COO and CCO at Luminous, he navigated the technology and compliance challenges as the firm grew 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, after which Matt headed to Focus Financial Partners in New York City. There, he helped breakaway teams and recently-formed RIAs develop strategic initiatives to benefit from best practices, streamline operations, and improve efficiency before heading back to California to launch PFI Advisors with his wife and business partner.

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Timothy Welsh
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