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The COO Roundtable Profile

The COO Roundtable

English, Finance, 1 season, 66 episodes, 2 days, 1 minute
About
Join host Matt Sonnen and a panel of COOs, as they share an open discussion about operational and technology best practices for the RIA industry, and shed a light on the tremendously important work COOs perform on a day-to-day basis.
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Episode 65 - Rebecca Davis & Joe Klein

We are joined by Rebecca Davis of Greenspring Advisors and Joe Klein from The Bahnsen Group for Episode 65.  Rebecca is the Director of Operations at Greenspring, headquartered in Townson, MD with additional offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  The firm has 41 team members and manages approximately $6.8 billion.  Joe has the dual role of Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of the firm’s Family Office offering.  The Bahnsen Group is headquartered in Newport Beach, CA with offices in 6 other states.  The firm manages about $5.5 billion of client assets and employs 60 team members.  Matt, Rebecca, and Joe discuss what makes their firms unique from a cultural standpoint, as well as: How both firms leverage content marketing to drive organic growth What services and client experience they offer to make client relationships “sticky” The uniqueness of working at a founder-led RIA and how they both have worked to transition responsibilities away from the founder Time management techniques employed by both guests What strategies they execute to keep team members motivated and engaged
6/5/202441 minutes, 23 seconds
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Episode 64 - Adrian Chastain & Kailee Ostroski

In this episode, Matt welcomes COO Adrian Chastain of Gratus Capital and Partner and COO Kailee Ostroski from Connecticut Wealth Management.  Gratus Capital manages approximately $3 billion of client assets, has 50 team members, and is located in Atlanta, GA.  Connecticut Wealth Management, in Hartford, CT, has 65 team members and oversees about $3.3 billion of client assets.  Matt, Adrian, and Kailee discuss what it means to be an RIA Operations professional, the core focus on People, Process, and Technology, as well as: How to best promote a “Culture of Operations” at your RIA Tips for getting “buy in” from team members for the adoption of new technology tools The “Goldilocks” scenario of trying to hire new employees at “just the right time” Different approaches to building your firm’s technology roadmap Why everything seems to come back to Process
5/8/202448 minutes, 42 seconds
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Episode 63 - Do's and Don'ts of COO Onboarding

In his third ever monologue “rant,” Matt takes a break from our normal interview format to speak directly to RIA owners and COO candidates to discuss the “Do’s and Don’ts of COO Onboarding.”  Referencing conversations with COOs, past articles he’s written, and former podcast guests, Matt urges RIA owners to have a clear understanding of what they need from their next Operations hire before beginning a search (how will you know you’ve found a good candidate if you don’t know exactly what you are hiring for?).   He also recommends that newly-appointed COOs consider the firm’s capacity for change as they look to make recommendations to add efficiency and scale to their new RIA.  His ultimate goal is for COO candidates and RIA owners to use this episode as the foundation for productive conversations during the interview process to ensure the right people, with the right level of experience, are being hired for the right roles.  During this episode, Matt hits on the following topics: The definition of “Founder’s Bias” and how it derails a newly-appointed COO Why he’s not a fan of the fractional COO role Things COO candidates should look and listen for during the interview process to ensure they will be set up for success David Canter’s four action items every COO should perform after accepting a new job Why Ted Lasso was the perfect COO The difference between an Operations Manager, Director of Operations, and Chief Operating Officer The ultimate sin RIA owners can commit when hiring a COO
4/3/202423 minutes, 24 seconds
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Episode 62 - Megan Hannah of Emerald Advisors and Spencer Rand from Five Oceans Advisors

We are joined by Megan Hannah of Emerald Advisors and Spencer Rand from Five Oceans Advisors for Ep 62.  Megan has the unique position of Chief Operating Officer and Portfolio Manager.  Emerald Advisors is located in Bellevue, WA and manages approximately $700 million of client assets.  Spencer has the dual role of Director of Operations and Chief Compliance officer at Five Oceans Advisors, headquartered in Los Angeles with a fully remote staff, managing around $500 million.  Matt, Megan, and Spencer discuss their varied histories in the business, the fact that both guests have earned their Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, as well as: How their background in investments has shaped their approach to Operations What led both firms to land on their ideal client persona Services offered outside of traditional wealth management Recuriting and hiring strategies The importance of employee retention and culture We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.
3/6/202446 minutes, 27 seconds
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Ep 61 - Janelle Anderson of Grand Wealth Management & David Lehman of Wealthbridge Advisors

We welcome Janelle Anderson and David Lehman for Ep 61!  Janelle is the Operations Manager and Chief Compliance Officer at Grand Wealth Management, located in Grand Rapids, MI.  The firm manages approximately $600 million and has 13 employees.  Matt and Janelle met at a DFA study group in May 2023.  David is a financial advisor and the Chief Operating Officer with Wealthbridge Advisors, headquartered in Lake Oswego, OR.  Wealthbridge is affiliated with Ameriprise Financial, has 18 employees and manages around $760 million for clients.  David has been a member of the COO Society since March of 2023.  Janelle and David discuss with Matt how they both juggle dual-title responsibilities at their firms, as well as: Their approach to finding and retaining employees How they have both impacted culture at their organizations Productivity tips to ensure they are getting the most important tasks accomplished each day Career paths for Operations staff How they have both approached the “Valley of Doom,” made famous by Echelon Partners’ Dan Seivert We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.
2/7/202454 minutes, 52 seconds
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Ep 60 - Amber Salzman of Capstone Financial Advisors & Jean Paul Atallah of RZH Advisors

Episode 60 marks our 5-year anniversary, and Matt was feeling nostalgic for this conversation with Amber Salzman of Capstone Financial Advisors and Jean Paul Atallah of RZH Advisors.  Amber is Manager of Client Services and a partner of the firm, which is located in Downers Grove, IL, and manages approximately $1.8 billion with 35 employees.  She also has her Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional (FPQP®) certification.  Jean Paul has spent his entire career in the financial services industry, but only joined RZH Advisors about 18 months ago, where he is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer.  The firm is located in Stamford, CT, manages about $1.6 billion and has 11 employees.  Listeners of this episode will realize quickly that Amber and Jean Paul are true students of the industry, and they discuss with Matt different sources and industry groups they rely on for best practices, as well as: How they each have approached CRM implementations at their respective firms The search for the RIA Operations “holy grail” and how they ensure clean data is flowing across their tech stack The optimal firm structure for delivering services to their ideal clients What strategies they implement to best serve and motivate their employees How they both approached the crunch of year-end tasks this year Here is the Wealthmanagement.com article that Amber mentioned: Growing RIAs Must Focus on Process, Not Technology We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.
1/17/202437 minutes, 29 seconds
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Ep 59 - Allison Felix of Cassaday & Company & Erika Yelle of Coldstream Wealth Management

With “The Sabbatical Episode,” Matt welcomed two highly respected RIA professionals to tackle a topic not often discussed in our industry: mental health.  Allison Felix, a two-time guest to the podcast, is Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Cassaday & Co.  Erika Yelle is Chief Compliance Officer at Coldstream Wealth Management.  Both guests have been with their firms for over two decades and have held various positions and witnessed incredible growth at both RIAs.  Cassaday & Co. is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, has 86 employees and currently manages just under $5 billion of AUM.  Coldstream Wealth Management employs approximately 160 employees, manages just under $7 billion of client assets, and has 7 office locations in the Pacific Northwest.  Matt, Allison, and Erika have an honest conversation around the internal pressures we tend to place on ourselves to always be available, the fear of setting an Out of Office reply, our industry’s slow movement away from Gordon Gekko’s comment in the ‘80s that “lunch is for wimps,” as well as: Their respective firms’ policies around sabbaticals How employees who are so integral to the day-to-day operations of their firms can plan for an extended time away The benefits sabbaticals have not only to employees, but the broader organization Tips for “re-entry” after time away so as not to be too overwhelmed We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.  
12/6/202356 minutes, 3 seconds
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Ep 58 - Cameron Herold Author of The Second in Command: Unleash the Power of Your COO

For this episode, we step away from our normal format of speaking with operations professionals in the trenches, to speaking with an author and entrepreneur about the role of the COO.  Cameron Herold has written a fabulous book directed at CEO’s who are contemplating hiring a COO, titled, Second in Command – Unleash the Power of Your COO.  He is also the founder of the COO Alliance and the host of his own podcast dedicated to the role of COOs, Second in Command.  Cameron has sat in the COO seat himself, overseeing the growth at 1-800-GOT-JUNK from $2 million to $106 million in revenue in just six years. Matt and Cameron have an honest conversation around the CEO’s need to hire for their blind spots, as well as: The difficulty business owners have in finding the right person to fill the COO role Why RIAs need to keep the rate of change inside their organizations greater than the rate of change outside their businesses The seven types of COOs and what each brings to their organization Cameron’s advice for those who aspire to be a COO How a CEO and COO should work best together, and the proper expectations from both sides of that working relationship How CEOs can best judge the success of their COO When RIAs should consider replacing their COO for the next phase of growth We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. To purchase Cameron’s book, click here. You can view Cameron’s COO Scorecard here.  
11/1/202330 minutes, 17 seconds
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Ep 57 - Trevor Hodges of Sax Wealth Advisors & Sean Chen of Validus Capital

Matt welcomes two long-time RIA operations professionals for Episode 57. Trevor Hodges is the relatively new Director of Operations at Sax Wealth Advisors, headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey with a few offices in the New York and New Jersey area. While he has spent his entire career within the RIA space, Trevor joined Sax Wealth a few months ago. Sean Chen has known Matt since they were both 21 years old and working together at Merrill Lynch, and continued their professional relationship at Luminous Capital. Sean is the COO and CCO at Validus Capital in Los Angeles. Sax Wealth Advisors formed in the late ‘90s underneath their parent company, Sax LLP, which is an accounting and tax practice firm. Today the firm manages roughly $1.7 billion and employs a team of 21. Validus Capital launched in 2022 out of a predecessor RIA, manages approximately $1.4 billion of client assets, and currently has 13 employees and one remote employee in Texas. Matt, Trevor, and Sean discuss what makes Sean unique among all previous guests on the podcast, how operations professionals can prove their worth in this client-focused industry, as well as: How they view the systems and processes utilized by their firms The additional services beyond wealth management offered by both firms to attract and retain more of their ideal clients How they both leverage portal technology to deliver services to their clients The importance of CRM for their internal teams and the delivery of consistent and scalable service Each guest’s approach to inorganic growth We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.
10/4/202329 minutes, 28 seconds
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Ep 56 - Rachel Rant of Aspen Capital Management & Scott Swanson of Quantum Financial Advisors

The COO Roundtable Episode 56 Powered by Coldstream Wealth Management For Episode 56, Matt invited two operations professionals that he met at a DFA Operations Strategy session earlier this year.  Rachel Rant is a partner and Director of Operations at Aspen Capital Management, located in Boise, ID.  Scott Swanson is a partner, Chief Operating Officer, and financial advisor with Quantum Financial Advisors, with several office locations in the Los Angeles area.  Aspen Capital management was founded in 2002 as a solo advisor practice and stayed that way until about 2017.  Fast forward to today, the firm manages approximately $900 million in assets and employs 9 full-time employees.  Quantum Financial Advisors was launched in 2022 out of a larger RIA and today manages approximately $900 million of client assets and employs 13 people.  Rachel, Scott, and Matt discuss the pros and cons of adding institutional complexity to the organization as you add more technology tools over time, as well as: When and how each guest landed in wealth management after successful careers in other industries What metrics they study to help determine when their growing firms need to add more staff The deliberate planning that has gone into the organizational structure of each of their firms Their early attempts to segment their client base and determine the appropriate service level Each guest’s approach to remote work vs. in-office work, and how the definition of “productive” changes from day to day We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.
9/6/202339 minutes, 36 seconds
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Ep 55 - Tee Meeks of Waddell & Associates & Cory Jackmuff of BLB&B Advisors

The COO Roundtable Episode 55 Powered by Coldstream Wealth Management Matt was joined by two thoughtful and experienced Operations professionals for Episode 55. Tee Meeks is the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Compliance Officer at Waddell & Associates, headquartered in Memphis, TN.  Cory Jackmuff, from BLB&B Advisors in Montgomeryville, PA, is the firm’s Operations Manager. Waddell & Associates was founded in 1986, currently manages approximately $1.4 billion of client assets, and has 7 advisors with 19 full-time employees. BLB&B Advisors dates its inception to its broker dealer days, all the way back to 1964. The firm currently has 30 employees and has approximately $2 billion of assets under management. After detailing their career paths that led them to where they are today, Tee and Corey discuss the following topics with Matt: How they each approach the tricky task of integrating the various vendors that make up their RIA infrastructure What initiatives both have implemented at their firms to best achieve scale How those initiatives have allowed advisors at their respective firms to spend more of their valuable time on client-facing activities Hiring strategies they both have designed to ensure the best people are coming to their organizations How they promote personal growth at their firms, for themselves and their employees We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.
8/2/202356 minutes, 36 seconds
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Ep 54 - Bryce Wisan of Sepio Capital & Angie Tower of Prairie Capital Management

The COO Roundtable Episode 54 Powered by Coldstream Wealth Management In Episode 54, Matt is joined by two operations professionals he has worked with in the past.  Bryce Wisan is the Managing Director, CFO, and CCO with Sepio Capital, headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT.  Angie Tower is Managing Director and COO at Prairie Capital Management, located in Kansas City, MO.  Sepio Capital manages approximately $7 billion for high net worth and ultra high net worth clients, many who have recently experienced an exit from a startup.  The firm currently has 28 employees and is contemplating a shift in focus from wealth management to asset management.  Prairie Capital Management’s team of 40 employees oversees more than $6 billion for individual clients, foundations, and endowments.  They consider themselves a holistic wealth manager with a focus on private equity and alternative investments.  Bryce and Angie both joined their firms about 18 months ago, and they discuss with Matt how they’ve looked to add scale and efficiencies to their organizations, as well as: How they each approach the people management side of their roles Strategies they both have implemented to increase user adoption of new tools and processes Where they see their firms getting more complex in the years ahead, and how they have started addressing that complexity today Their approach to client segmentation
7/12/202353 minutes, 43 seconds
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EP 53 - Julie Higgins of Geometric Wealth Advisors and Kevin Galvin of Hopwood Financial Services

6/19/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 30 seconds
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EP 52 - Matt Sonnen of Coldstream Wealth Management

The COO Roundtable Episode 52 Powered by Coldstream Wealth Management In episode 52, Matt assures our listeners that no major changes will occur with the podcast moving forward, despite its new sponsor (and Matt’s new employer), Coldstream Wealth Management.  As of May 1, 2023, Matt has taken the role of Chief Operating Officer at Coldstream, headquartered in Bellevue, WA.  The firm employs 135 people and manages roughly $6.5 billion of client assets, spread across 7 client service teams.  Coldstream has three affiliated businesses (Fit Insurance, Ascent Capital, and Rainier Group) and has additional office locations in Portland, OR, Boise, ID, and Kenai, AK.  During this monologue episode, Matt discusses why he’s excited to join Coldstream, what his major responsibilities will be as COO, and much more, including: Advice for any RIA operations professionals approaching a transition to a new firm How to approach change management at your firm While referencing several past episodes, he reminds listeners how to ensure their success when joining a new organization and mistakes to avoid The five common business situations leaders may find themselves moving into Why his passion for professional management across the RIA industry will propel both the COO Roundtable podcast and COO Society coaching platform into the future Each guests’ career path and how they became operations professionals We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can read the full transcript here. You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Here is a link to Michael Watkins’ book, The First 90 Days  
5/9/202322 minutes
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EP 51 - Vince Crane of Flower City Capital and Zach Morris of Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors

The COO Roundtable Episode 51 By PFI Advisors For our 51st episode, Matt welcomed two operations professionals who run relatively new firms, Vince Crane, COO, CCO and Partner of Flower City Capital and Zach Morris, Managing Partner and Founder of Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors. Flower City Capital was founded in 2016 and is located in Rochester, New York. They are currently a team of 5 and manage roughly $200M in AUM.  Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors was founded in 2018 and is located in Atlanta, Georgia. They have 6 employees and manage approximately $300M in assets. Matt, Vince, and Zach chat about how, from Day 1, our guests have set in place systems and processes with future scalability in mind and much more including: Each guests’ career path and how they became operations professionals The pros and cons of a centralized back office vs a pod structure Each firm’s ideal client and how that persona drives the services they offer How each guest approaches their firm’s “next hire” How each guest shapes their firm’s culture We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
4/4/202345 minutes, 32 seconds
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EP 50 - Allison Felix of Cassaday & Co. and Scott Brown of Pinnacle Associates

The COO Roundtable Episode 50 By PFI Advisors For our milestone 50th episode, Matt is joined by two guests who are equally committed to highlighting the importance of professional management across the RIA industry: Allison Felix, Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Cassaday & Co. and Scott Brown, President of Pinnacle Associates.  Celebrating their 30th anniversary, Cassaday & Co was founded in 1993 and is a hybrid broker dealer and RIA.  They are located in McLean, Virginia, have 85 employees, and currently manage $4.5B in AUM.  Pinnacle Associates was founded in 1984 and has both an institutional and a wealth management component to their business model.  They are located in New York City, have 65 employees, and currently manage just over $7B in AUM.  Matt, Allison, and Scott discuss how the COO role impacts their teams internally, their firm holistically, and themselves personally, and much more including how each guest: Navigated their career path, including Allison’s journey from Executive Assistant to Chief Operating Officer, and Scott’s beginnings as General Counsel, to CCO, COO and now President Has continued to grow their skillset and advance their career Tackles the HR portion of their job Has affected their firm’s client experience and service offerings Manages to stay sane as they tackle all their role requires And don’t miss Scott’s Godfather impression at the top of the interview! We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
3/15/20231 hour, 1 minute, 26 seconds
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EP 49 - Edgar Collado of Tobias Financial Advisors & Alex Satterfield of Byron Financial

The COO Roundtable Episode 49 By PFI Advisors Our latest episode of The COO Roundtable features two guests who challenge our audience to think of the COO role in different ways - Edgar Collado of Tobias Financial Advisors and Alex Satterfield of Byron Financial.  Tobias Financial Advisors is based in Florida and has a strong foundation in tax planning.  They were founded in 1980 as a CPA firm and currently manage about $700M in AUM and have 19 employees.  Byron Financial is headquartered in North Carolina and began in 1985 with a focus on life insurance.  Currently they have 7 employees and grew from roughly $175M in AUM in 2019 to approximately $700M in AUM today.  Matt, Edgar, and Alex talk about the COO role from both the day-to-day operations of a firm to a high-level, strategic point of view and much more including: Each guests’ background, career path, and how they landed in an Operations role How each guest involves their team in the firm’s strategic planning process How they prioritize the goals and needs of their respective firms The “Myth of Outsourcing” The HR component of the COO role We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
2/1/202352 minutes, 53 seconds
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EP 48 - Daryl Seaton of Sowell Management & Barrett Karvis of Edge Capital Group

The COO Roundtable Episode 48 By PFI Advisors   For our first podcast of the new year (and our fourth year running!), Matt is welcomed by two exciting guests – Daryl Seaton, President at Sowell Management and Barrett Karvis, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Edge Capital Group. Sowell Management is headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  Founded as a TAMP, they recently celebrated 20 years in business and have 29 employees. They currently manage $4B in AUA. Edge Capital Group is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 2007, their AUM as of last year was approaching $5 billion and currently have 37 employees. Matt, Daryl, and Barrett chat about how their roles as operations professionals intertwine with their firm’s inorganic growth strategies and much more including:   Who supports them running their larger than average RIAs The role of the COO in talent acquisition and talent management How each guest balances scalability with customization What metrics they use to judge the health of their organization   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.  
1/3/202350 minutes, 29 seconds
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EP 47 - Julie Allen of FirstWave Financial & Chris Pelch of Vance Wealth

The COO Roundtable Episode 47 By PFI Advisors For our final episode of 2022, we were joined by two incredible members of our COO Society community: Julie Allen, Vice President of Business Operations at FirstWave Financial, and Chris Pelch, Chief Operating Office of Vance Wealth.  FirstWave Financial began as a CPA firm in 1995 with a strong family foundation aimed to help its clients “deal with the complexity that wealth brings.”  They are located in Satellite Beach, Florida, and currently have $400M in AUM and a team of 12 employees.  Vance Wealth was founded in 2003 and helps its clients tackle important questions they face when looking to retire. They have two offices in California, $450M in AUM, and a team of 18 employees.  During their discussion with Matt, Julie and Chris tackle both the Human Resources and Operations component of their roles and much more including: The different strategies each firm has used to successfully onboard new employees How each guest handles ongoing new-employee engagement and career development The steps each guest takes when evaluating different vendors Time management tips and tricks Their top initiatives for 2023 We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
12/6/202255 minutes, 44 seconds
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EP 46 - Stacey McKinnon of Morton Wealth

The COO Roundtable Episode 46 By PFI Advisors Our latest episode of The COO Roundtable features a rare single-guest format.  Stacey McKinnon of Morton Wealth recently wrote an important paper titled, “Your Career is Up to You” which features Philip Palaveev of the Ensemble Practice.  Matt and Stacey discuss the paper by turning the spotlight inward and instead of focusing on how listeners can help their firms achieve more growth, they discuss ways everyone can be more fulfilled and successful in their professional life.  Matt and Stacey have an honest and revealing conversation about their own career paths and much more including: What it means to really “own” your career How you can’t become the best version of yourself without the help of others Common obstacles people face in their careers and how to overcome them Keys to standing out in your organization to ultimately advance your career How to keep your sanity through it all! We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
11/1/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 1 second
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EP 45 - Michael Wagner of Omnia Family Wealth & Ben Gurley of Heartwood Wealth Advisors

The COO Roundtable Episode 45 By PFI Advisors Our latest episode of The COO Roundtable features two leaders of relatively young and evolving RIAs. We are joined by Michael Wagner, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Omnia Family Wealth and Ben Gurley, Director of Heartwood Wealth Advisors.  Omnia Family Wealth was launched in 2015 and started with a team of 5 members. Currently headquartered in Aventura, Florida, they are now a team of 11 people and advise on $2.2B in assets.  Heartwood Wealth Advisors joined the RIA space in 2019. They are headquartered in Richmond, VA, have 11 employees, and $1B in AUM.  Together, Matt, Michael, and Ben (who both service clients in an advisory capacity in addition to operations) tackle the question, “Does make you better at operations or vice versa?” and much more including: Each guests’ career path, including Ben’s background as a middle school teacher and Michael’s experience joining the family business How each guest manages both the operations portion of their role as well as the additional responsibility of firm ownership How each firm is evolving to meet the needs of their clients Each guest discusses how operations has helped their firm grow organically How each guest approaches talent management, a hot topic at many RIAs today! We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.  
10/4/202245 minutes, 43 seconds
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EP 44 - Crystal Creekmore of SYM Financial Advisors & Gary Bonner of Southwestern Investment Group

 In the “Reggie Jackson episode” of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two thoughtful leaders of their organizations, Principal and Chief Compliance Officer of SYM Financial Advisors, Crystal Creekmore, and returning guest Gary Bonner, COO of Southwestern Investment Group.  SYM Financial Advisors is headquartered in Winona Lake Indiana and has 5 offices across Indiana and Michigan. Founded in 1968, they are currently in their 3rd generation of ownership. They manage $3.7B in AUM and have 68 employees.  Founded 20 years ago, Southwestern Investment Group is headquartered Franklin, Tennessee. They currently have 11 offices across 5 states and manage $5.5B in AUM with 176 employees.  Together, Matt, Crystal and Gary discuss how solid operations can better communication both within the firm and with clients directly, and much more including: Professional background of each guest, including how Crystal's kindergarten teacher served as a job reference when she applied at SYM Financial Advisors Each guest’s view on the dual-hatted role of COO/CCO Guests discuss whether it is best to centralize or silo operations How each firm tracks the status of projects and tasks How RIAs can leverage portal technology to communicate with clients Each guest shares how they have used the EOS framework within their firm We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
8/31/202235 minutes, 44 seconds
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EP 43 - Amanda Barrale of Moneta & Eric Sontag of Wealthspire

In our latest episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two impressive guests: Amanda Barrale, Chief Platform Officer of Moneta and Eric Sontag, President and Chief Operating Officer of Wealthspire.  Moneta is headquartered in St Louis and has offices in Kansas City, Denver, and Boston and currently manages $32.8B in AUM with 440 employees. Wealthspire is headquartered in New York City and has 19 offices around the country.  Founded in 1995, they manage $19B in AUM and have 270 employees. Together, Matt, Amanda, and Eric have a great discussion about building RIA Operations at scale and much more, including: The crucial role Operations plays in M&A The balancing act of offering customization to clients in a scalable fashion The conundrum of centralizing operational tasks vs. allowing advisory teams to work independently How each firm uses data intelligence and transparency to communicate to the broader firm, especially in a hybrid work environment Career paths for Operations team members We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
8/2/202246 minutes, 14 seconds
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EP 42 - Kristie Clayton of iMatter and the Visionary Forum & Melissa Bushman of AltruVista

In our latest episode, Matt welcomes two incredible guests: Kristie Clayton, Integrator at iMatter and the Visionary Forum, and Melissa Bushman, VP of Operations at AltruVista.  Kristie’s experience in banking and credit unions led her to wealth management where she found her true passion – leading teams and developing people to their full potential.  Melissa brings a history of project management consulting, sports and entertainment, and non-profits to her current role at AltruVista.  In this episode, Matt, Kristie, and Melissa discuss their role as an “integrator” and the impact it has on their firms. Other topics of discussion include:     How each guest was introduced to the EOS system and how they have implemented it in their roles Kristie’s creation of FIM (Female Integrator Mastermind) developing from a desire to foster a community of likeminded individuals The difference between “Chief Operations Officer” and “Chief Operating Officer” How each guest gets everything done in their busy schedules Training and career paths for operations roles We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
7/6/202250 minutes, 31 seconds
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EP 41 - Lauren Oschman, Tommy Martin, & Brad Quick of Vestia Personal Wealth Advisors

For the 41st episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes three special guests from Vestia Personal Wealth Advisors – CEO and Co-founder, Lauren Oschman, Co-founder and board member, Tommy Martin, and Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Brad Quick. Vestia has offices in Fort Wayne, IN, Indianapolis, IN, Los Angeles, CA, and Omaha, NE. They currently manage $500M and specialize in serving physicians. Together, Matt, Lauren, Tommy, and Brad have an insightful discussion about how focusing on their niche has helped Vestia become more efficient, knowledgeable, and consistent in providing stellar service to their clients’ unique needs.  Other topics of conversation include:   Each guests’ career paths and the skills they bring to Vestia’s leadership team How Vestia uses the EOS framework in their firm Their approach to succession planning The specific metrics Vestia uses to gauge the health of the organization (their answers are amazing, and we suggest you have a notepad handy!) How they use a physician’s heart transplant model as a roadmap for their employee development We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
5/18/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 43 seconds
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EP 40 - Yonhee Gordon of JMG Financial Group & Christine DeMao of Gibson Capital

In the 40th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two extremely thoughtful and strategic guests, Yonhee Gordon, Principal, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer of JMG Financial Group, and Christine DeMao, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner of Gibson Capital.  JMG Financial Group is headquartered in Downers Grove, IL just outside of Chicago. They recently celebrated 38 years in business, have 86 employees, and currently manage $4.7B in AUM.  Celebrating 33 years in business, Gibson Capital is headquartered in Wexford, PA, currently manages $2.3B, and has 15 employees.  Together, Matt, Yonhee, and Christine have a comprehensive discussion on the many ways a COO impacts the firm, including culture, creating a consistent and outstanding client experience, and much more, as they cover:   Their firms’ respective backgrounds, including ideal clients, service offerings, and growth trajectories Their professional backgrounds, including Yonhee’s lengthy tenure at JMG and the experience Christine brings with her 15 years at Gibson Capital   How to promote RIA ownership within the firm for not just those on the advisor track, but for those in operations roles as well Which Key Performance Indicators each guest keeps their eye on Steps each firm is taking to balance in-person vs. remote work to ensure everyone is on the same page We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! Read the full transcript here. You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
4/5/202254 minutes, 33 seconds
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EP 39 - Rob Ziliak of Buckingham Wealth Partners and Ryan Armock of Thrivent Advisor Network

This month’s episode features two incredible guests: Rob Ziliak, Chief Operating Officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners and Ryan Armock, Head of Operations at Thrivent Advisor Network.  Founded in 2019, Thrivent currently has 450 employees, and manages $6.5B in AUM.  Buckingham Wealth Partners, a well-known RIA founded in 1994, currently manages $65B in collective assets between Buckingham Strategic Wealth and Buckingham Strategic Partners and has 540 employees.  Together, Matt, Rob, and Ryan discuss the effect their respective roles play in creating and ensuring a great client experience and much more, including: An overview of each firm and their respective strategies for growth How each firm has adapted their business throughout the pandemic and the long-term effects of these changes What our guests are doing to attract the best talent in the current job market How our guests’ roles in operations impact their firm’s M&A strategy  We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.   Investment advisory services offered through Thrivent Advisor Network, LLC., (herein referred to as “Thrivent”), a registered investment adviser. Advisory Persons of Thrivent provide advisory services under a “doing business as” name or may have their own legal business entities. However, advisory services are engaged exclusively through Thrivent Advisor Network, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Thrivent Advisor Network reported over $5.3 billion in AUM in its latest annual Form ADV filing. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is ranked 369 on the Fortune 500. (Fortune Magazine, June 2021). Correction: When Ryan Armock states, "…and that brings us to where we are at today with about six and a half billion in assets under management, about 450 employees and about 300 IARs.” the correct number is 200 IARs.
3/1/202249 minutes, 30 seconds
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EP 38 - Jennifer Wagoner Kirksey of Tolleson Wealth Management and Trevor Phillippi of 6 Meridian

For our latest episode, Matt welcomes two fantastic guests: Jennifer Wagoner Kirksey, Managing Director of Wealth Operations at Tolleson Wealth Management, and Trevor Phillippi, Chief Operating Officer of 6 Meridian. Originally founded as a single family office, Tolleson Wealth Management currently has $10B in assets under oversight and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.  6 Meridian, founded in 2016, is located in Wichita, Kansas and currently manages $1.8B in AUM.  Matt, Jennifer, and Trevor discuss how their role is critical to “running the business,” what excites them about the future, and much more, including: An overview of each firm, and how they have both grown organically Each guests’ professional background, specifically looking at Trevor’s long tenure at Meridian and Jennifer’s path from entry level to Managing Director The role of the performance reporting analyst and the importance of reliable, high-quality data The services each firm offers their clients beyond traditional investment management The challenges each firm contends with in acquiring talent in today’s market We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! To read our article, “Adding to Your Team? Consider a Performance Reporting Analyst” published in Wealth Management.com, click here. You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.The views and opinions expressed here today do not necessarily reflect the view of Tolleson Wealth Management.  The information discussed is for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy a security or instrument or participate in any other service offered by the firm.
2/15/202232 minutes, 42 seconds
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EP 37 - Jason Mirabella of WealthSource Partners & Tom Preston of Brighton Jones

For our first episode of the new year, Matt welcomes two highly accomplished guests: Jason Mirabella, Chief Platform Officer of Wealthsource Partners, and Tom Preston, Director of Client Service of Brighton Jones.  Founded in 2009, Wealthsource Partners is headquartered in San Luis Obispo, California, has 35 employees and manages $1.8B in AUM.  Brighton Jones was founded in 2000 and currently has 225 employees.  They are headquartered in Seattle, Washington and manage $8.5B in AUM.   Matt, Jason, and Tom discuss how operations plays a key role in firm growth, client experience, and much more, including:    An overview of each firm, including how each guests’ role fits into their overall firm structure Our guests tackle the “Sales vs. Operations” divide in the industry KPIs each guests calculate to gauge the health of their organization How to create actionable steps from those KPIs and implement them in a firm Where both guests see the industry trending in the next 18 months We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
1/4/202245 minutes, 3 seconds
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EP 36 – Karl Heckenberg of Emigrant Partners

For our special three-year anniversary episode, we put a twist to our regular format and Matt was joined by Karl Heckenberg, CEO and President of Emigrant Partners for a compelling conversation on the RIA industry.  Known for their strategic partnership with RIAs, Emigrant Partners is currently invested in 19 firms and has close to $90B in cumulative assets.  Matt and Karl talk about industry trends including the investment outlook for RIAs, the role of the COO moving forward, RIAs now being run as true business, and much more, including:   The history behind Emigrant Partners  After a bit of teasing by Matt, Karl shares an in-depth version of his professional background Karl shares the signs he looks for to determine if an RIA needs operations help What role the COO plays in an RIA’s M&A pitch to other firms The “gating issue” Karl sees when it comes to onboarding clients of different generations and how operations can enhance that client experience We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! Click here to read our article “Why Professional Management Fails for RIAs”. You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
12/1/202139 minutes, 23 seconds
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EP 35 – Amanda Green of Matrix Private Capital Group & Gary Davis Jr. of Satovsky Asset Management

In the 35th episode of The COO Roundtable, Amanda Green of Matrix Private Capital Group and Gary Davis Jr. of Satovsky Asset Management join Matt to discuss all things RIA operations and change management.  Matrix Private Capital Group manages nearly $600 million of AUM, is headquartered in New York City, and has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Palm Beach, Florida.  Satovsky Asset Management manages $700 million from their headquarters in New York City.  Matt, Amanda, and Gary discuss how an operations professional who is new to their firm should conduct an early assessment of the RIA and much more, including:    A history and overview of each firm Each guest’s experience in the RIA industry, including Amanda’s time at BNY Mellon | Pershing and Gary’s time as a consultant How they each attain buy-in from management and staff when suggesting changes to the organization How each guest positions their firm for growth in a profitable fashion What opportunities they see in the RIA industry in the coming 18 – 24 months   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
11/2/202138 minutes, 35 seconds
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EP 34 - Jennifer Papadopolo of RegentAtlantic & Matt Wiles of Crestone Capital

In the 34th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two amazing guests: Jenn Papadopolo, COO of RegentAtlantic, and Matt Wiles, COO of Crestone Capital.  RegentAtlantic is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey and has a satellite office in New York City.  They have 70 employees and manage $6B in AUM.  With 50 employees and approximately $3.5 billion of AUM, Crestone Capital is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado and has offices in Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, and a brand-new office in Salt Lake City.  Matt, Jenn, and Matt discuss the intersection of HR and Operations and much more, including:   An overview of each firm Each guest’s career background, including Jenn’s long tenure at RegentAtlantic and the unique perspective Matt has gained from being both an advisor and COO The different services each firm offers their clients beyond traditional wealth management How each guest acknowledges and empowers their ops teams The biggest challenge they are each facing today We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
10/6/202125 minutes, 56 seconds
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EP 33 - Jandy Rowe of Wipfli Financial Advisors & Brad Hixson of Lido Advisors

In the 33rd episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two highly respected operations professionals: Jandy Rowe, Principal and Chief Operating Officer of Wipfli Financial Advisors, and Brad Hixson, Director, Mergers and Acquisitions of Lido Advisors.  Wipfli Financial Advisors has 90 employees, is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with 19 offices around the country and manages $5B in AUM.  Lido Advisors has 110 employees and is headquartered in Los Angeles with an additional 22 offices across the United States. Lido manage $10B in AUM.  Matt, Jandy, and Brad discuss how operations plays a key role in growth by attracting both ideal advisors and clients, and much more including:   Background of each firm, including Wipfli Financial Advisors’ use of the CPA services from Wipfli LLP and the development of their AVID platform for smaller clients, and Lido Advisors’ approach to bringing “family office style investment philosophy to the high net worth space” Our guests’ professional background, including how Brad’s career “started at the gym” and Jandy’s unlikely start with Wipfli 20 years ago How each firm structures their back office for maximum efficiency and growth What other outside resources our guests leverage as they manage multi-billion dollar enterprises How each guest manages to “do everything” with the help of their team Click here to read the Advisor Perspectives article Matt mentioned during this episode, M&A Requires More Than Securing Financing. We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
9/8/202137 minutes, 40 seconds
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EP 32 - Overview of Our New Digital Consulting Platform

For the 32nd episode of The COO Roundtable, we wanted to pause from our regular interview format and answer some questions we have been receiving about our new digital consulting platform, The COO Society.  PFI Advisors offers one-on-one consulting services on a project or retainer basis, but we also wanted to create a DIY consulting platform for RIAs looking to gain access to our insights at a lower price point.  Our industry does a great job of providing sales training to advisors, and there are a lot of certifications investors and even compliance professionals can pursue, but we felt there was a void in educational and training resources available for those trying to educate themselves on how to run an RIA and position it for growth.  We are driven to fill that void with our latest consulting offering, The COO Society. Be sure to listen to the end of the episode, where we provide a promo code to get a discount on your first month’s membership! You can watch a promotional video and learn more about The COO Society here. For a sample of what the course material looks like, please watch this 4-minute clip from our latest course detailing Key Performance Indicators. You can view a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the key components of the platform here. Thank you for being a continued listener to the COO Roundtable Podcast! We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
8/5/202119 minutes, 30 seconds
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EP 31 - Eric Stephenson of Align Impact & Natalie Wheeler of Berkshire Money Management

In the 31st episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two operations professionals who have had a huge impact on their respective organizations, Natalie Wheeler, Chief Operating Officer at Berkshire Money Management and Eric Stephenson, Director of Client Advisory and Operations at Align Impact.  Celebrating 20 years in business this year, Berkshire Money Management is located in Dalton Massachusetts.  They have 15 employees and manage $775 in AUM.  Founded in 2014, Align Impact is headquartered in Los Angeles and has 20 employees.  They manage $1.6B in AUA.  Matt, Natalie, and Eric discuss how they have worked to standardize their firms’ processes and procedures and much more including:       Background of each guests’ firm including ideal client and service offerings Our guests’ professional background, including a fun story about Eric’s past as a pole vaulter and Natalie’s recent promotion to Chief Operating Officer How each guest “keeps their sanity” while juggling the many demands of their role How they impact organic growth at their firms How career opportunities come to those who raise their hands The “Profit vs Growth” question, or as Matt calls it “The Chicken and Egg Conundrum”     We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can read the full transcript here. You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
7/6/202132 minutes, 50 seconds
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EP 30 - Michael Paley of Klingman & Associates and Kevin Hrdlicka of Savant Wealth Management

In the 30th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Michael Paley, Chief Operating Officer at Klingman & Associates and Kevin Hrdlicka, Chief Operating Officer at Savant Wealth Management.  Klingman & Associates is located in New York City, has 18 employees and manages $2.7B in client assets.  Savant Wealth Management is headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, has 18 offices across the country and manages just under $11B.  Matt, Michael, and Kevin discuss how professional management drives RIAs to the next level and much more, including:    The background of each guest’s firm, their ideal clients, and how each firm has historically grown assets under management Our guests’ professional backgrounds, including Michael’s time as an early employee at Focus Financial Partners and his continued growth in the industry, and Kevin’s career-spanning journey with Savant Wealth Management How they, as COOs, support their firm’s growth, including Kevin’s input on “specialization” and Michael’s advice to think “five years ahead” How the COO is the “keeper of the client experience” What each guest does on a daily basis to make employees as successful as possible The KPIs our guests use to monitor the health of their respective firms We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
6/2/202150 minutes, 7 seconds
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EP 29 - Gina Bradley of Colony Group & Susan Korin of Balasa Dinverno Foltz

In the 29th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two highly accomplished RIA professionals, Gina Bradley, COO & General Counsel of Colony Group and Susan Korin, COO & CCO of Balasa Dinverno Foltz (“BDF”).  Colony Group is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and is headquartered in Boston, MA.  With 15 offices nationwide and 260 employees, Colony Group manages $13B in AUM.  BDF was also founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.  They have 67 team members and currently manage $5.3B in AUM.  Matt, Gina, and Susan discuss the many areas a COO impacts their firm, how the COO manages people vs infrastructure, and much more including:     Background of each guests’ firm including ideal client and service offerings Our guests’ professional background, including how they both became COOs and how they juggle their dual roles in their respective firms How their role as COO both supports and manages the growth in their organization and the infrastructure needed to achieve those goals Both firms’ vision (as of April 2021) of a post-COVID workplace The cultural impact the COO has on a firm   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
5/4/202144 minutes, 5 seconds
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EP 28 - Tony Parkin & Nikolee Turner of Charles Schwab Advisor Services

In the 28th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes two extremely experienced consultants from Charles Schwab Advisor Services’ Business Consulting & Education division, Tony Parkin and Nikolee Turner.  Matt, Tony, and Nikolee discuss how professional management drives “lasting and significant changes” at organizations, the importance of clear and repetitive internal communication, the need to understand your ideal client before determining your firm’s organizational structure, and much more including: An overview of Schwab’s consulting services and how they provide support to help RIAs run successful businesses A funny story about Tony’s first time visiting the PFI Advisors’ office Both guests’ professional backgrounds, including how Tony discovered the benefits of the independent model and Nikolee’s fascination with “how people pursue their own excellence” Nikolee shares Schwab’s Five Guiding Principles for Advisory Firm Success Tony and Nikolee’s thoughts on when they believe a firm needs professional management Challenges firms face when bringing in professional management for the first time   To view a copy of the 2020 Schwab RIA Compensation report, click here. We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
4/6/202149 minutes, 3 seconds
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EP 27 - Kara Armstrong of CapSouth Wealth Management & Nick Maggiulli of Ritholtz Wealth Management

For this special edition of The COO Roundtable, Matt recorded live from Mercer Capital’s inaugural RIA Practice Management Insight’s conference. This virtual conference “focused on back of the house (operational) issues that are as vital to success as they are easy to ignore.” Joining Matt as guests were Kara Armstrong, Chief Operating Officer of CapSouth Wealth Management and Nick Maggiulli Chief Operating Officer (and Data Scientist) of Ritholtz Wealth Management. CapSouth Wealth Management is headquartered in Dothan, AL and has two other locations in Georgia and North Carolina, and they manage $650M in client AUM. Ritholtz Wealth Management is located in New York, NY, has 33 employees, and manages $2B in AUM. Together, Matt, Kara, and Nick discuss how COOs drive efficiencies and manage their most important clients – the employees of their respective firms.  Other topics covered include: Each guests’ professional background and personal journey that led them to their current role, including Kara’s route via finance and Nick’s background as a data scientist Overview of their respective firms and their growth visions for 2021 How each guest defines their role as COO due to their firm’s unique demands The ways Kara and Nick balance being “behind the scenes” while making sure they are recognized for their hard work and contributions to their firm How they each tackle integration of the various tools and systems that make up their firm’s technology stack We’d like to thank Mercer Capital for providing this opportunity. We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
3/4/202142 minutes, 47 seconds
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EP 26 - Kelly Downs of Berman Capital Advisors & Matt Ran of Telemus Financial Life Management

In the 26th episode of The COO Roundtable, our host, Matt Sonnen, welcomes Matt Ran, Chief Operating Officer and Partner of Telemus Financial Life Management, and Kelly Downs, Chief Operating Officer of Berman Capital Advisors.  Telemus has two offices in Michigan, another in Chicago, and manages $3.5B in AUM.  Berman Capital Advisors also manages $3.2B is headquartered in Atlanta, GA and has two additional offices in Chicago.   Matt, Kelly, and Matt discuss how a COO impacts all aspects of a firm’s success, including client “stickiness”, adopting new technology, and much more including: An overview of their firms’ backgrounds Matt and Kelly’s professional backgrounds and how they shifted toward professional management after both spent time as financial advisors What new initiatives each firm implemented during the pandemic that they plan to keep long term How each firm has placed priority and continued to focus on culture even in a Work From Home environment Each firm’s growth-oriented projects and outlook for 2021 We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
2/2/202143 minutes, 55 seconds
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EP 25 - Lisa Cook of Pacific Portfolio Consulting & Erica Farber of Balentine

In the 25th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Lisa Cook, the newly-appointed COO at Pacific Portfolio Consulting in Seattle, WA and Erica Farber, Partner at Balentine in Atlanta, GA. Balentine’s 39 employees manage $3.5B in assets under advisement and Pacific Portfolio Consulting manages $3.8B in client assets with 17 employees.  Lisa and Erica join Matt to discuss how RIAs can leverage the role of the COO to its fullest potential, including the following topics: The history, ideal client, and service offerings of both firms Erica and Lisa’s respective backgrounds, including the support Erica received when she “raised her hand” and asked for a larger role, and Lisa’s industry experience while being caught in “merger mania” How they each impact their firm’s culture, including Lisa’s opportunities as the first COO in Pacific Portfolio Consulting, and how Balentine empowered their employees to create their present-day authentic culture The strategies they use to gain adoption and affect change in their organization How RIAs should rate the success of their COO How their firms are preparing themselves to be “M&A ready” We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
1/12/202136 minutes, 21 seconds
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EP 24 - Phil Hildebrandt & Paul Lythberg of Segall Bryant & Hamill

In the 24th episode of The COO Roundtable, which marks our podcast’s 2nd anniversary, Matt welcomes two prominent guests from Segall Bryant & Hamill: Chief Executive Officer Phil Hildebrandt and Chief Operating Officer & Chief Compliance Officer Paul Lythberg. Segall Bryant & Hamill is headquartered in Chicago, IL, has been in business for over 26 years, and manages $22B of client assets.  Matt, Phil, and Paul discuss how their CEO and COO roles work together to ensure “the trains are running on time,” the nuances of running a large organization, and much more, including: Overview of Segall Bryant & Hamill’s history and services We hear Phil and Paul’s background, including Phil’s start with the firm in 1995 when SBH was in its startup phase and how Paul has honed his skills from his days at Allstate to joining SBH 8 years ago How SBH’s growth required investments in their infrastructure and professional management, which led to Paul’s COO role allowing him to free up more of Phil’s time and increase organizational scalability Their views on culture, including Phil’s take that culture is a “living, breathing, organism you can’t fabricate” How our guests manage change in their larger-than-average firm The Key Performance Indictors they rely on to get a picture of the “health” of their business We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
12/9/202034 minutes, 41 seconds
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EP 23 - Aiki Altmets of Regimen Wealth & Lynne Born of Wealth Architects

In the 23rd episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Aiki Altmets, COO and CCO of the newly-formed Regimen Wealth and Lynne Born, President of Wealth Architects.  Regimen Wealth is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and manages $200 million in client assets with 6 employees.  Located in Mountain View, California, Wealth Architects has over $1 billion in AUM with 20 employees.  Matt, Aiki, and Lynne discuss the entrepreneurial spirit and the commitment necessary to be successful in professional management while growing an RIA, and much more, including:   Overview of their firms’ backgrounds, services, and ideal clients We hear each guest’s fascinating background, including Aiki’s story about co-founding an RIA during a global pandemic; and Lynne’s journey from running one of the largest accounting firm-owned multifamily offices to her decision to join Wealth Architects earlier this year How each guest works with their respective CEOs to tackle their firm’s needs and the demands of their positions The technological challenges each guest has overcome to build a more efficient back office infrastructure What entrepreneurial characteristics help both Aiki and Lynne in their respective roles   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
11/10/202033 minutes, 44 seconds
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EP 22 - Karen Denise of CAPTRUST & Kaylyn Melia of Socius Family Office

In this special episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt recorded live for Bob Veres’ Insider’s Forum.  For those unfamiliar with Insider’s Forum, it “is designed to provide essential information for running and growing prosperous businesses and better serving clients, advanced technical content, as well as valuable opportunities for networking with industry thought leaders.”  Matt had the pleasure of interviewing Kaylyn Melia, Chief Operating Officer at Socius Family Office and Karen Denise, Senior Director in charge of Client Service at CAPTRUST.  Socius Family Office is headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and has one office just outside of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  With approximately 100 different client families, Socius Family Office manages approximately $550B in assets.  A well-known name in the industry, CAPTRUST is headquartered in North Carolina and has over 30 locations and 721 employees.  They manage roughly $400B in client assets across their various business lines.  Matt, Kaylyn, and Karen’s thoughtful conversation covers just how involved operations professionals are in all aspects of a firm; they also discuss:   Overview of their respective firms and the clients they service, such as Socius Family Office’s focus on young professional athletes and entrepreneurs and CAPTRUST’s concentration on foundations and institutional retirement plans The professional background of each guest and how they entered the wealth management industry Fantastic career advice from both women including Kaylyn explaining how “Small wins can add up,” and Karen reminding professionals “Don’t limit your thinking to your current role” How each firm manages growth in a profitable and scalable fashion Where each guest goes for further industry-specific education   It was a great honor to record our podcast live as part of the conference. We’d like to thank Lisa Crafford of BNY Mellon Pershing and Shaun Kapusinski of HIFON for providing this opportunity.   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.  
10/6/202057 minutes, 41 seconds
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EP 21 - Doug Johnson of Parcion Private Wealth & Chris Keller of Benjamin F. Edwards & Company

In the 21st episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Chris Keller, Executive Vice President and Director of Business Services at Benjamin F. Edwards & Company and Doug Johnson, newly appointed Chief Operating Officer at Parcion Private Wealth.  The Benjamin F. Edwards & Company brand dates back 130 years, and the company is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with more than 600 employees and advisor affiliates and assets totaling about $27 billion.  Parcion Private Wealth opened its doors in October 2019 and is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington with 16 employees and about $1.2 billion in assets under management.  Matt, Chris, and Doug discuss a number of topics, including integrating their technology stack with different vendors, how their firms leverage that technology to provide outstanding client service, and much more including:   Overview of their respective firms and their professional backgrounds, including a funny moment regarding Chris’ LinkedIn bio The challenges both Chris and Doug have faced when looking to move their businesses toward the RIA model An interesting conversation about when to hire a COO at an RIA The value professional management brings to the wealth management space, specifically Their firms’ respective views and goals regarding inorganic vs. organic growth     We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.  
9/2/202033 minutes, 7 seconds
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EP 20 - Diane Gabianelli of Parallel Advisors & Cecilia Williams of Halbert Hargrove

In the 20th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Diane Gabianelli, Co-President and Chief Financial Officer of Parallel Advisors and Cecilia Williams, Director of Investment Operations and Chief Compliance Officer of Halbert Hargrove.  Parallel Advisors manages over $3 billion of client assets and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Denver, Honolulu, Ohio, and Oklahoma City.  Halbert Hargrove is headquartered in Long Beach, California and has over $2 billion in assets under management with 44 employees and offices in 5 states.  Matt, Diane, and Cecilia discuss a myriad of topics, including how they oversee their firm’s operations, how they manage their time, and much more, including:   Overview of their respective firms and how they provide their clients a high level of service Diane’s career path that led her to Parallel Advisors and Cecilia’s long tenure at Halbert Hargrove, as well as working to get her MBA while continuing to hold her full time position at the firm How both firms and their multiple offices have transitioned to the Work From Home model and their plans for returning to collaborative in-person work in the future The steps each firm has taken to foster a more inclusive and diverse culture Career development and recruiting at each firm   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.  
8/4/202036 minutes, 19 seconds
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EP 19 - Mike Reed of Dakota Wealth Management & Michelle Thetford of Hightower Advisors

In the 19th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Michelle Thetford, Chief Operations Officer of HighTower Advisors and Michael Reed, Chief Operating Officer of Dakota Wealth Management.  HighTower Advisors is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and has $57 billion under management with 108 different advisory businesses and 225 advisors.  Founded in 2018, Dakota Wealth Management has $1.2 billion under management, 30 team members, and is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  Matt, Michelle, and Mike discuss how, even in the current climate with uncertainty around every corner, the COO continues to play a key role in a firm’s long-term success and goals.  Other topics of conversation include: Overview of their respective firms and how they each became COOs, including Mike’s interesting transition from a “classically trained medical practitioner” to the RIA space  How the transition to Work From Home has affected both of their larger than average firms’ operations How they have managed team morale, communication, and acknowledged their teams’ needs to ensure great client experience throughout the pandemic An update on how the pandemic has impacted their firm’s M&A pipeline Branding after an M&A acquisition How best to keep advisors focused on their biggest value-add activities We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher. To read a full transcript of this episode, click here. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
6/30/202041 minutes, 53 seconds
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EP 18 - Steven Beals of EP Wealth Advisors & Eric Hehman of Austin Asset

In the 18th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Steven Beals, Chief Administrative Officer of EP Wealth Advisors and Eric Hehman, Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Austin Asset.  EP Wealth Advisors manages $6B of AUM across 14 offices with their  headquarters in Torrance, California.  Managing over $1B in AUM, Austin Asset is aptly headquartered in Austin, Texas.  As the country adjusts to “the new normal,” Matt, Steven, and Eric discuss how crucial the COO position has been in successfully keeping firms running now and in the future.  Other topics of conversation include:     Background on their respective firms, what clients they serve, and a fun story about Luke Sonnen’s playdate arriving at the Sonnen house wearing an EP Wealth Advisors baseball uniform Their career paths, specifically Eric’s long tenure at Austin Asset and his path from unpaid intern to CEO, and Steven’s interesting journey in the industry that included moving to Arizona and his promotions at Charles Schwab which lead to various management roles Coordinating their firm’s operations and services to succeed in a work from home environment How EP Wealth Advisors has made their firm an attractive home for advisors Eric discusses his book Success and Succession: Unlocking Value, Power, and Potential in the Professional Services and Advisory Space Career paths for professionals invested in the operational space     We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!     To learn more about Eric Hehman’s book, click here.   To read the CFP Board’s Financial Planning Career Paths report, click here. To read a full transcript of this episode, click here.   You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.
6/3/202048 minutes, 39 seconds
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EP 17 - Vibhaw Arya of Shufro Rose & Brandon McKerney of Columbia Pacific Wealth Management

In the 17th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Vibhaw Arya, Chief Operating Officer at Shufro Rose and Brandon McKerney, Partner and Director of Operations at Columbia Pacific Wealth Management.  Headquartered in New York City, New York, Shufro Rose manages approximately $1.5B in AUM and was founded in 1938.  Columbia Pacific Wealth Management manages almost $4.5B in AUM and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.  As the country continues to navigate the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, our guests detail their respective firms’ response to this operating challenge.  Matt, Vib, and Brandon discuss the  COO’s role in supporting a firm’s “People, Culture, and Vision” and much more, including:   Their backgrounds, including Brandon being drafted as a pitcher for the Seattle Mariners The role of the COO in continuing firm productivity and boosting morale during this time Their firms’ transition to working from home and their experience in two major cities seriously affected by COVID-19 The COO’s responsibility in implementing the firm’s vision by empowering employees and finding the best solutions available How they drive integration and user adoption in their firms Career paths their firms have created for their teams   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!    You can listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.  
5/5/202042 minutes, 3 seconds
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EP 16 - David Aaron of Cerity Partners & Jim Atkinson of STA Wealth Management

In the 16th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes David Aaron, Partner at Cerity Partners* and Jim Atkinson, COO and Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at STA Wealth Management.  Prior to selling his firm in January 2020 to Cerity Partners, the $26B AUM aggregator, David was Co-CEO and CIO of EMM Wealth, a $3 billion RIA in New York City.  STA Wealth Management is headquartered in Houston, TX, and manages approximately $2.1 billion.   With most of the country under quarantine and practicing social distancing, many firms are experiencing major transitions themselves to partial or entire remote work models.  Dubbing this interview the “Stay at Home” episode, Matt, David, and Jim highlight the COO’s key contributions to successful transitions in both business continuity and M&A.  Their discussion also covers the importance of planning for contingencies, routine continuity plan testing, strategic use of leadership teams, and much more, including:   How a tested, strong Business Continuity Plan makes for a smooth transition to remote work Their respective paths to leadership roles at their firms Comparing and contrasting their experiences on each side of an M&A transaction The role the COO plays in transitions—either M&A transactions or emergency continuity situations How adopting a strategic operating system, such as the one described in the best-selling book “Traction” can unlock higher levels of productivity   *All uses of the name Cerity Partners, and any derivations of the name Cerity Partners, refer exclusively to Cerity Partners LLC, a national wealth management firm headquartered in New York. For more information about Cerity Partners, visit www.ceritypartners.com.     We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.    
4/7/202047 minutes, 49 seconds
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EP 15 - Loren Pierson of Mercer Advisors & Michael Kossman of Aspiriant

In the 15th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Loren Pierson, COO of Mercer Advisors and Michael Kossman, COO, CCO, and Partner of Aspiriant.  A trailblazer in the RIA industry in the field of mergers and acquisitions, Mercer Advisors has acquired 31 firms to date.  Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Mercer has over 400 employees and approximately $18 billion in client assets.  Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, Aspiriant has 11 offices around the country and manages over $12 billion in client assets.  With the goal of highlighting how a COO’s key contributions to a firm’s operations lead to successful mergers and acquisitions, Matt, Loren, and Michael sit down to discuss the importance of an organized, scalable infrastructure, alignment of common core values, translating vision into action, and much more including:   Their individual paths that led them to become COOs at powerhouse RIAs The story behind San Francisco’s “Michael Kossman Day” Comparing and contrasting their respective firms’ philosophies on M&A The role the COO plays in each of their respective firms’ M&A strategy How to create a culture and scalable process that gives a unified, stand out client experience across offices nationwide How they each plan for their respective firms’ future   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.      
3/3/202052 minutes, 14 seconds
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EP 14 - Industry Spotlight: M&A Landscape for RIAs

With M&A activity at an all-time high and no sign of stopping anytime soon, we take a break from our usual interview format here in Episode 14 and Matt speaks directly to our listeners about the ever-important topic of Buyer Preparation.  For any firm to be a successful buyer in this ultra-competitive M&A market, we believe they first need a strong COO and well-defined back-office systems and workflows, as these are what Sellers are looking for when comparing their options of who to partner with and entrust with their client assets.  With the goal of highlighting the importance of having the proper infrastructure in place before jumping into the M&A game, Matt draws inspiration from Christina Townsend’s recent InvestmentNews article “RIAs: Shopping for M&A Deals?: Better Get Your House in Order First…” Chris Voss’s Never Spit the Difference, and even sprinkles in a little humor with an Old School reference when discussing “capacity, people, and technology.” Matt’s “rant” includes:   Setting realistic expectations for acquisitions The importance and value of a comprehensive onboarding plan for M&A The fears employees face during the transition period and how to handle those situations in a way that is fair and productive for both firms The 7 Components of Successful M&A strategies How the COO can be leveraged during M&A transactions   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.   In this episode, Matt discusses many of the previous articles we have written on our blog -- sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.    
2/7/202026 minutes, 36 seconds
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EP 13 - Kristi de Grys of Merriman & Larry Miles of AdvicePeriod

In the 13th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Kristi de Grys of Merriman Wealth Management and Larry Miles of AdvicePeriod.  After spending almost two decades in the aerospace industry, Kristi de Grys brings an outside (and strongly analytical) perspective and occupies a role not yet seen on The COO Roundtable—that of the Chief Investment Officer/COO.  Similarly, Larry brings the perspective of a “recovering history and English major” to his role of providing strategic leadership for growth and profitability.  With the goal of highlighting the importance of values & culture when it comes to the  management of a firm, Matt, Kristi, & Larry sit down to discuss how a COO can make the firm’s values the basis for its processes, how to build the right culture for your firm, and more, including:   The benefits of hiring a diverse set of team members from both within and without the industry How intentionality is key when building a distinct culture at your firm How a COO can maintain an outsider’s perspective in order to continually challenge the status quo Larry’s experience being both a principal and a practice management author Kristi’s three levels of communication within a firm The importance of professional management, and the COO specifically, for RIAs in acquisition mode Where Kristi and Larry turn to for peer-level best practices and education   Check out Larry’s book, It’s That Simple: How to Build the Professional Service Firm of the Future, here.   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.  
1/7/202048 minutes, 41 seconds
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EP 12 - Mark Tibergien & Karen Novak of BNY Mellon Pershing

In the 12th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Mark Tibergien and Karen Novak of BNY Mellon Pershing.*  Mark, CEO, Advisor Solutions, BNY Mellon Pershing is a monumental figure in the RIA space and a true champion of professional management in the RIA industry.  Similarly, Karen has contributed thirty years to the financial services industry, twenty-three of which have been at Pershing, where she serves as Chief Operating Officer, Advisor Solutions, BNY Mellon Pershing.  With the goal of highlighting the importance of professional management when it comes to the COO role, Matt, Mark, and Karen sit down to discuss what key metrics a COO should consider when seeking to execute the vision for the firm and much more, including:   The benefits of a good cultural fit between the CEO and COO and how they can enhance firm-wide growth through a joint effort How Karen helps make Pershing an “employer of choice” by thinking through the employee experience from onboarding through succession planning Mark’s six components of a successful business and how the COO can drive those standards of excellence forward The importance of re-evaluating and adjusting business plans and admitting when the direction of the firm might need resetting Understanding the three biggest trends every firm owner should be mindful of Matt’s unbridled joy at speaking with his personal hero Mark Tibergien (are you familiar with Eddie Van Halen’s idolization of Eric Clapton?)   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.   *This interview was conducted on November 18th, prior to the Schwab-TD Ameritrade merger announcement on November 21st.
12/3/201940 minutes, 23 seconds
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EP 11 - Kelli Cruz of Cruz Consulting & Jim Regitz of Newport Advisory

In the eleventh episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes Kelli Cruz, CEO of Cruz Consulting and Jim Regitz, Founding Partner and Senior Advisor at Newport Advisory Financial Counsel.  The three professionals discuss the importance of the COO role at growing RIAs, and what led Jim to realize he needed to hire professional management at his firm 2 years ago.  Kelli is a well-known consultant to the wealth management space -- her firm specializes in human resource sourcing and human capital development.  Based in Newport Beach, California, Newport Advisory is an independent wealth management firm that has more than tripled its AUM in the past few years, to over $700 million today.  With the goal of highlighting the importance of the human capital element when it comes to the COO role, Matt, Kelli, and Jim sit down to discuss what characteristics make for a good COO and much more, including:   Jim and Kelli’s respective backgrounds and views on the people-side of workflows The importance of self-awareness in the C-suite while crafting roles and responsibilities How Jim best supports his COO and how he delegates duties, allowing them both to be successful in their roles Kelli’s views on the pros and cons of hiring a COO from outside the firm, as opposed to promoting from within How Jim utilizes his COO in M&A transactions from negotiations through integration The qualities and characteristics Jim and Kelli look for when identifying the right talent for operations roles   We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!   You can listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Stitcher.   Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
11/7/201942 minutes, 23 seconds
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EP 10 - Highlights: Episodes 1 - 9

In the tenth episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt takes some time to reflect on some of the highlights and biggest takeaways from the nine content-packed episodes we’ve produced so far and he even finds time to squeeze in a Princess Bride reference!  By focusing on all the unique perspectives that our guests bring to the table—including a number of COOs and operations professionals, as well as CEOs and service providers—we can see how the COO role is multifaceted and can encapsulate so many different responsibilities depending upon the needs of the firm.  Listen in to learn how a COO can be an instrumental part of an RIA’s C-suite through: Applying a keen attention to detail in process documentation Attracting and retaining top talent Balancing profit and growth Leveraging technology to improve the client experience Making the firm operate its best through improved workflows Delineating tasks among the C-suite and employees Making client relationships more sticky Preparing the firm for M&A and/or implementing an acquisition Listening for the most pressing needs of the firm Supporting employees to best support the end client We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here or to subscribe on Google Play, click here. Sign up here to be notified of new practice management content added to our blog on a regular basis.
10/10/201933 minutes, 10 seconds
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EP 9 - Susan Dickson & Suzanne Williamson of Private Ocean

In the ninth episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomed Susan Dickson and Suzanne Williamson, principals of Private Ocean.  Susan is the Chief Operating Officer of the firm, and Suzanne is the Director of Client Services.  Private Ocean, headquartered in San Rafael, CA, manages over $2 billion in client assets with 51 employees and has additional offices in San Francisco and Seattle.  With the goal of highlighting that people come before technology in the COO role, Matt, Susan, and Suzanne sat down to discuss the importance of culture, how that culture can successfully translate to M&A acquisitions, and much more, including: The history and tremendous growth Private Ocean has experienced since its founding in 1983 Susan and Suzanne’s respective backgrounds and how they both have impacted and managed Private Ocean’s growth The pros and cons Susan faced coming from outside the industry as COO Suzanne’s unique role as Director of Client Services and how she acts as the liaison between various departments throughout the organization The importance of culture at Private Ocean and the post-hire personality test they have instituted to help ensure their culture remains intact as they add more employees How Susan, as COO, is involved in M&A transactions from the very beginning of negotiations Suzanne’s role in integrating their acquisitions’ various client service models under one roof We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here or to subscribe on Google Play, click here. We are increasing the frequency of our own RIA practice management articles – to sign up to be notified of new content, click here. To purchase Greg Friedman’s (Private Ocean Founder & CEO) book, “The Financial Advisor M&A Guidebook,” click here.
9/9/201938 minutes, 33 seconds
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EP 8 - David Canter & Scott Slater of Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions

In the eighth episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt sat down with David Canter and Scott Slater of Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions.  David is the Executive Vice President and Head of the RIA Segment at Fidelity.  A lawyer by trade, David has been in the industry for 25 years and has been involved in everything from setting up RIAs from a legal and compliance perspective to helping them grow and scale from a practice management standpoint.  Scott is the Vice President of Practice Management and Consulting at Fidelity.  He helps some of the largest firms in the industry work through their M&A strategy and is also host of the Future Ready Through M&A Podcast.  Matt, David, and Scott sit down to discuss their unique perspective into RIAs of various shapes and sizes across the country and much more, including: David and Scott’s respective professional backgrounds and how those affect their roles today The evolution of the Chief Operating Officer role and how they can help a firm navigate the greater RIA ecosystem How Fidelity is working with firms outside of their clearing and custody solutions The four areas Fidelity focuses on to help take RIAs to the next level Scott’s take on what Buyers and Sellers need to do in order to be successful in the M&A market David’s perspective on the profit vs. growth debate Their thoughts on why professional management tends to fail at RIAs We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here or to subscribe on Google Play, click here. We are increasing the frequency of our own RIA practice management articles – to sign up to be notified of new content, click here. Check out Scott’s favorite entrepreneurship book, The E-Myth Revisited, here. Check out David’s favorite entrepreneurship podcast, Startup, here. Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® provides clearing, custody, or other brokerage services through National Financial Services LLC or Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Members NYSE, SIPC. Fidelity is not affiliated with PFI Advisors.
8/3/201945 minutes, 46 seconds
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EP 7 - Heather Goodman of True Capital Management & Mark DeLotto of Massey Quick Simon

In the seventh episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt sat down with Heather Goodman of True Capital Management and Mark DeLotto of Massey Quick Simon.  Heather is the COO, President, and Co-Founder of True Capital and helps the firm manage $1.1 billion in client assets across two offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles with 36 employees.  Mark, Managing Partner, COO, and CCO, helps Massey Quick Simon manage over $4 billion in client assets across six office locations with 55 employees.  Matt, Heather, and Mark sit down to discuss their roles in sustaining their firms' plethora of family office services and much more, including: The history and background of True Capital Management and Massey Quick Simon Heather and Mark’s respective professional backgrounds and how they’ve influenced their roles today Mark’s dual role of COO and CCO and the overlap he sees between the two Heather and True Capital’s internship program and the benefits it has provided the firm The unique hiring committee Mark has created at Massey Quick Simon How True Capital and Massey Quick Simon truly offer family office services Heather’s view on her role as COO in the M&A recruiting process A very fitting Jerry Maguire reference! We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here or to subscribe on Google Play, click here. We are increasing the frequency of our own RIA practice management articles – to sign up to be notified of new content, click here.
7/12/201953 minutes, 55 seconds
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EP 6 - Jeff Conception, Nancy Andrefsky, & Lou Camacho of Stratos Wealth Partners

In the sixth episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt was excited to welcome the first CEO to the Roundtable discussion!  Jeff Concepcion, Nancy Andrefsky, and Lou Camacho from Stratos Wealth Partners joined Matt for an easy going, yet extremely insightful interview.  Stratos Wealth Partners has 287 advisors in 87 offices across 24 states and serves more than 13,000 clients with over $13 billion in assets under management.  Jeff is Founder and CEO of the firm while Nancy, who has worked with Jeff since the firm’s inception, holds the COO and CFO titles and Lou heads Stratos Wealth Alliance as its President.  In this episode, Matt, discussed with Jeff, Nancy, and Lou how they each play a vital role in sustaining such a large, acquisition-focused enterprise and much more, including: The Stratos Wealth Partners model and how they differentiate themselves in the marketplace Nancy and Lou’s respective backgrounds and how those experiences influence their current roles at the firm How Nancy balances the plethora of responsibilities that come with being COO and CFO Jeff’s take on the importance of professional management in the RIA space Nancy’s thoughts on the age-old profit vs. growth debate How Lou leverages Stratos’ technology platform in the sales process with advisors Jeff’s opinion on the recent large liquidity events of RIA aggregators (Focus Financial Partners, Hightower Advisors, and the recent sale of United Capital to Goldman Sachs) We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here or to subscribe on Google Play, click here. We are increasing the frequency of our own RIA practice management articles – to sign up to be notified of new content, click here.
6/5/201946 minutes, 42 seconds
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EP 5 - Heather Fortner of SignatureFD and Lucas Winthrop of Winthrop Wealth Management

In the fifth episode of The COO Roundtable, host Matt Sonnen was thrilled to sit down with Heather Fortner of SignatureFD and Lucas Winthrop of Winthrop Wealth Management.  SignatureFD, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, currently manages approximately $3.5 billion in client assets with over 80 employees. Winthrop Wealth Management, located in Boston, Massachusetts, manages about $1.1 billion in client assets with 17 employees. Matt, Heather, and Lucas discuss the steps they take to put time back into the hands of their advisors and much more, including: The history and background of SignatureFD and Winthrop Wealth How Heather and Lucas came into their current COO roles Where the two see the COO role fitting into the broader organization How Heather and Lucas allocate their time to the dozens of responsibilities COOs are tasked with daily The initiatives they take as COOs to help build and uphold firm culture The never-ending debate: buy vs. build when it comes to an RIA’s technology stack The balancing act required between 1st generation and next-gen employees, and the need for appreciation and communication on both sides We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe! To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here or to subscribe on Google Play, click here. We are increasing the frequency of our own RIA practice management articles – to be notified of new content, click here.
5/1/201953 minutes, 58 seconds
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EP 4 - Tom Harms of Summit Trail Advisors and Stacey McKinnon of Morton Capital Management

In the fourth episode of our podcast, The COO Roundtable, Matt sat down with Tom Harms of Summit Trail Advisors and Stacey McKinnon of Morton Capital Management.  Summit Trail Advisors manages about $5.2 billion in client assets across five office locations: New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C.  Morton Capital Management, located in Calabasas, California, manages roughly $1.8 billion in client assets.  Matt, Tom, and Stacey discuss the core values and structure they’ve instilled at their respective firms and much more, including: The history and background of Summit Trail and Morton Capital Their individual professional experiences and how those experiences have shaped their roles today Stacey’s extensive work in career pathing and establishing Morton Capital’s 5 E’s Tom’s comprehensive risk management work he’s done across all of Summit Trail’s teams Stacey’s standardization of Morton Capital’s client-facing marketing material and the greater importance this initiative has had on their organization Tom’s crucial role in Summit Trail’s aggressive M&A strategy The networking groups and industry consultants that Tom and Stacey turn to for peer insights and professional help How Tom and Stacey see their role as COO fitting into the greater organizational structure We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!  
4/2/201953 minutes, 10 seconds
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EP 3 - Trevor Chuna & Shaun Kapusinski of Sequoia Financial Group

In the third episode of our podcast, The COO Roundtable, Matt was thrilled to sit down with Trevor Chuna and Shaun Kapusinski of Sequoia Financial Group, an RIA in Akron, OH managing over $4 billion.  Trevor, also featured in our latest White Paper, is the Chief Technology Officer and Shaun is the Director of Technology and Operations at Sequoia.  Matt, Trevor, and Shaun dive deep into how Sequoia has evolved the client experience through technology and much more, including: The history and background of Sequoia Financial Group Their respective professional experiences and how those experiences have shaped their roles today How Trevor and Shaun manage the inevitable growing pains of implementing new technology in an acquisitive firm The key differences Trevor sees between his CTO role and a more traditional COO role Their extensive work in building out firmwide use of Salesforce Trevor’s development of Sequoia’s financial planning platform Shaun’s networking group founded for operations professionals, HIFON Sequoia’s recent acquisition of LJPR Financial Advisors (a $776 million RIA) Shaun’s new book, The Financial Advisor M&A Guidebook, co-authored with Greg Friedman of Private Ocean We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!  Be sure to keep an eye out for Episode 4, which will feature Stacey McKinnon of Morton Capital Management and Tom Harms of Summit Trail Advisors.  Both firms manage roughly $1.8 billion and $5.2 billion in client AUM, respectively. To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here or to subscribe on GooglePlay, click here. To learn more about Shaun’s networking group, HIFON, click here. To purchase Shaun’s book, click here.
3/6/201953 minutes
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EP 2 - Gary Bonner of Avalon Advisors & Mike Lee of LourdMurray

In the second episode of our podcast, The COO Roundtable, host Matt Sonnen sits down with Gary Bonner of Avalon Advisors and Mike Lee of LourdMurray.  Also featured in our most recent white paper, Gary and Mike are two accomplished Chief Operating Officers who have been catalysts for incredible growth at their respective RIAs.  Matt, Gary, and Mike detail how the COO of an RIA really acts as a firm-wide business consultant; how they are more than a just technology guru; and much more, including: The history and background of Avalon Advisors and LourdMurray Their professional experiences and how they influence their approach to their current roles How Gary and Mike cope with the natural growing pains of firms their size What they feel is the main focus of their role at their respective firms The two tackle the age-old debate: profit vs. growth The networking groups they turn to for practice management insights And finally, what makes for a successful day We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!  Be sure to keep a lookout for Episode 3, which will feature Trevor Chuna and Shaun Kapusinksi, two operations professionals from Sequoia Financial Advisors, an RIA in Akron, OH managing over $4 billion. To read the executive summary of Episode 1, please click here.  
1/31/201940 minutes, 4 seconds
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EP 1 - Jeff Fuhrman of Coastal Bridge Advisors & Tony Craun of Sand Hill Global Advisors

In our inaugural episode, Matt sits down with Jeff Fuhrman of Coastal Bridge Advisors and Tony Craun of Sand Hill Global Advisors.  These two were gracious enough to be profiled in our latest white paper, “Exploring the Benefits of Professional Management for RIAs: A Deeper Look into Chief Operating Officers.”  Matt, Jeff, and Tony discuss the strategies they incorporate to successfully tackle their day-to-day responsibilities, help their firms grow, and much more, including: The history and background of Coastal Bridge Advisors and Sand Hill Global Advisors How their personal experiences affect their current roles in their respective firms How Jeff and Tony handle inevitable challenges that come with the growth their firms have experienced Tony dives deeper into Sand Hill Global Advisors’ millennial hiring campaign Jeff describes Coastal Bridge Advisors’ hyper-specific job descriptions, and how they maintain their relevancy How their respective firms view M&A/industry consolidation, and how they personally influence those views within their respective firms And finally, what makes for a successful day in their roles? We hope you enjoy, share, and subscribe!  And keep a lookout for Episode 2, which will feature Gary Bonner of Avalon Advisors and Mike Lee of LourdMurray. To read Matt’s introductory blog post, please click here.    
1/17/201942 minutes, 6 seconds
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Introducing The COO Roundtable Podcast

I am thrilled to announce the launch of The COO Roundtable, Powered by PFI Advisors; our latest endeavor in championing the role of operations professionals within the RIA industry.  This podcast series will feature panel discussions with Chief Operating Officers at some of the country’s leading independent firms.  We plan to highlight operational best practices and the benefits that professional management can bring to an RIA. Our inaugural guests will be the COOs most recently highlighted in PFI Advisors’ white paper, “Exploring the Benefits of Professional Management for RIAs – A Deeper Look into Chief Operating Officers:” Gary T. Bonner of Avalon Advisors, Jeff Fuhrman of Coastal Bridge Advisors, Michael Lee of LourdMurray, and Anthony Craun of Sand Hill Global Advisors. We view this podcast as a natural extension of our core mission here at PFI Advisors: To further evolve the RIA industry from a collection of practices to businesses, and to be a continued voice in validating the industry as a legitimate landing spot for billion-dollar teams and their clients. With the goal of shedding light on the tremendously important work COOs perform every day in the trenches, this podcast is a bit of a passion project of mine, as I have seen throughout my 20-year career in financial services that operations professionals are widely viewed as “cost centers” and not “revenue generators” within sales organizations.  Industry luminaries such as Mark Tibergien, David Canter, and Philip Palaveev have been advocating for the professionalization of our industry for some time, and we intend to demonstrate that without leveraging a Chief Operating Officer, RIAs cannot achieve the organic or inorganic growth initiatives they set for themselves.  We strongly believe that COOs are needed to free the owners of these organizations from the daily minutiae of running a business. As Jeff Fuhrman said during his interview for our recent white paper, “It’s the Chief Operating Officer’s duty to be in the wings, supporting the role of the advisor.  Leave the management of the firm to the COO, and they will make sure advisors get what they need so they can do the most effective job for their clients.” We at PFI Advisors are declaring 2019 as the “Year of the COO” in the RIA Industry and aim to spend the year illuminating the hard work successful Chief Operating Officers bring to their respective firms through The COO Roundtable.   Our featured COOs will discuss how they overcome challenges pertaining to the day-to-day administration of their firms; how they maintain a holistic view of their organization’s culture; how they drive workflow improvements; and how they navigate the human resources element of being a COO, all at once.  
12/11/20185 minutes, 29 seconds