EP 2 – Transcript

Matt Sonnen: [00:00:25] Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the first part of our inaugural episode which featured Jeff Fuhrman of Coastal Bridge Advisors and Tony Craun of Sand Hill Global Advisors. I think we covered some important topics not only for COOs specifically but for any RIA owner looking to scale their business and move their firm to the next level. I also recorded a solo intro episode available on our website that details what led to the launching of this podcast and what we hope to achieve here with the COO Roundtable. Today, this is the second part of our inaugural interview series featuring two more chief operating officers that we highlighted in our recent white paper, Exploring the Benefits of Professional Management for RIAs: A Deeper Look into Chief Operating Officers. So, without further ado I’m very excited to introduce Gary Bonner of Avalon Advisors and Mike Lee of LourdMurray. Gary and Mike, thank you both for joining today.

 

Gary Bonner: [00:01:18] Thank you, Matt.

 

Mike Lee: [00:01:19] Thanks, Matt, for having us.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:01:20] Absolutely. So, Gary I’ll start with you. Avalon is about to hit its 20th anniversary, could you provide us a little background on the firm.

 

Gary Bonner: [00:01:31] Sure. Avalon, we’re actually coming up on 18 years in April. Avalon started back in 2001 when three of the founding partners who were investors in a previous deal that I was part of decided to leave Morgan Stanley with about $450 million and a group of clients and to go off on their own to start their own investment advisory firm. We’ve now grown from that $450 million with 10 of us on folding tables at the time to 66 employees and two offices managing just around $8 billion in AUM.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:02:08] Fantastic. And Mike why don’t you tell us a little about LourdMurray.

 

Mike Lee: [00:02:15] So LourdMurray in its 13th year of operation. We’re hoping it’s the luckiest. Back in 2006 the founder Blaine Lord, he decided he was done with the wirehouse. He always uses the word chicanery, which I happen to be pretty fond of that word. And brought a small team of three people with him and started the firm with about $300 million in assets. And since then we’ve gone through a lot of different cycles, added people, small mergers here and there, addition of a partner and we’re hovering around $4 billion in assets – at the end of last year. And now 26 people, two offices, and were still feel like a startup.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:03:05] You feel like a startup but with those numbers you are one of the larger RIAs in the country so that’s fantastic. From the first interview we did with Tony and Jeff, I told them we discussed that as a kid, I thought I was going to grow up and be the third baseman for the California Angels. And then when I hit my teenage years, I thought I was going to grow up to be Eddie Van Halen. No one really grows up thinking, as a kid, they think they’re gonna be a chief operating officer for a registered investment advisor. So, I’m always fascinated by people’s stories of how they landed in this role. So, Mike why don’t you tell us how you came to be the COO at LourdMurray I know from our interview you and I did for our white paper. You had an interesting background before you got into wealth management so why don’t you tell us that story.

 

Mike Lee: [00:03:55] Yeah and I think I hear a lot of a lot of similar kind of patterns with colleagues around the industry. I definitely didn’t start in finance or even contemplate a career in finance. I went to school for mechanical engineering at Purdue thinking I was going to follow in the footsteps of my father who was an engineer and then quickly realized I didn’t want to redesign bolts for bridges for 30 years my life. So, I got into the consulting business with PriceWaterHouse. I spent about 10 years in consulting at PriceWaterHouse and a few other firms and as part of that journey I got to experience and witnessed firsthand how a lot of different industries work, how the business operates, everything from technology to finance and strategy, and marketing exposure across different industries. At some point in about 2004 I was more in a sales role with consulting, so I started pitching projects and one of the projects that came across that we happen to close with the fund company called Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA). At that point I was kind of tired of the road life, as I’m sure you guys can both probably relate. A big road warrior not having any kind of a life flaw or pattern to your life. So, I said I think it’s time I get a real job and go into an industry and at the time finance and health care were very hot areas. Given that I had sold the project to DFA, I got to see the intricacies of how they worked and some of the some of the uniqueness of how they manage investments and money and I effectively forced my way into that into that company. And fast forward about four years with DFA, I had an opportunity to go more on the retail side of the business the advisory side and met Blaine interviewed with him for about an hour said about twelve words and a few days later he said I was hired.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:06:02] But you weren’t, I don’t think, you were hired as COO, right? Didn’t you start as an advisor first?

 

Mike Lee: [00:06:08] No actually I was hired as the COO and at the time, I think the definition, or the perception of the role was very different than what it’s become now. Fast forwarding ten years, we were a firm of four people. My predecessor had the COO title, but I think he was, at the time a very talented glorified do everything I don’t want to do guy you know, from Blaine’s perspective. And he was and he was great at technology. He understood finance and accounting. He understood systems. He understood investments and marketing. So, he was a good Jack of all trades type of resource that really set the foundational pieces in place here. When I joined three years later, I think you know some of the things that he shared with me on the way out was – you know like I’m really good at starting things and I’m good at researching, but I felt like your background was apropos for scaling the business and making it more institutionalized. So, we had a really friendly and good handoff and I still keep in touch with them. And very grateful for the path that he has established here. But yeah from the day one you know with the with the strong bent force technology and an order and process I was hired COO to basically handle well everything that the CEO didn’t want to handle.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:07:41] Yeah, that’s what they tell every entrepreneur to do hire for what you don’t like and what you’re not good at. So that’s perfect. That is a perfect analogy for the COO role. So that’s great. So, you joined three years after the launching of the firm, Gary much like I was at Luminous Capital you were basically employee zero at Avalon, back in 2001. So why don’t you tell us how you joined and became the COO to where you are today how that’s evolved.

 

[00:08:16] My background is similar to Mike’s in terms of starting with consulting, so I had my degree in economics from Texas A&M University. My first job out of college was in the consulting division of Arthur Andersen which the first week I was there, split off to become what was known as Andersen Consulting now, now Accenture. I spent a few years in consulting doing the traveling thing as well, you know, and moved on from consulting into three separate startup companies before Avalon. I have a tendency to like doing different things whether it’s technology or operations. So, one of my jobs just prior at Avalon the startup that I was part of was a men’s custom clothing company that used technology and retail to develop a men’s custom suit in seven to ten days from measure from measurement to delivery. Which compared to you know six weeks which is the standard Savile Row model, it was revolutionary. So, we raised about $2.7 million from EDF and then we also had a group of investors who put money in. This was during kind of the dot com days where people were just throwing money at everything. So, we how we you know pulled in financing started a company build it from three of us to 500 through an acquisition of a 63 year old company called the Custom Shop with 57 locations. Unfortunately, we started a suit company when everything in the world became business casual. So, it was definitely not the time to start a suit company or custom shirt company but out of that I have a closet full of custom suits. So that’s worked out well. We shut that down in February of 2000. Three of my partners here at Avalon were investors in the startup company then and one of them reached out to me saying “Hey I know your skill set and know what you’re capable of doing would you help us start our firm?” So, I tell people that I felt that I should be an indentured servant for seven years to pay back what I lost. But you know 18 years later I’m still here. And so, it’s been a great ride for the last 18 years but it’s just it’s one of those things because I had the capability and the interest of doing multiple things. You know, we started Avalon, you know, with them leaving their offices in Morgan Stanley coming up about three floors in the elevator to our temporary space and they had everything from technology to benefits and payroll in place, when they arrived so.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:11:13] And even using 18 years as the denominator, you guys have grown faster than most. So as the COOs who’s, one of your many jobs, is to keep the racetrack from careening into a wall going, around the fast corners. What challenges has that massive growth brought to you in that specific role and just your ops team in general?

 

Gary Bonner: [00:11:40] Managing the growth is a challenge. Growing from 10 people to 66. We’ve done two small acquisitions in 2013 and 2016 where we picked up two employees and five employees. And just ensuring that the culture is right for the acquisitions and integrating them into Avalon is always something that we’re cognizant of and want to make sure that that works out well. I think having just a technology stack that can anticipate what we have now and what we need is always a challenge in trying to stay ahead, not bleeding edge or leading edge but at least towards the front of the pack in terms of what we have internally something that’s proven and not something that’s maybe a guess. You know we’ve had instances where we’ve spent money on technology that didn’t work out and that’s just expensive and a lesson learned but you don’t want to do that twice. So, we’ve had challenges there but I think at the end of the day our client advisers and our employees and our clients have the benefit of a proven technology and processes in place. While we’re trying to mitigate the risk of cyber security and all the you know just the disaster recovery and business continuity planning that we that we have to have in place for when known disasters will occur and things that we don’t even anticipate occurring.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:13:15] Yeah, absolutely. And Mike your growth has been just about as fast. I think since you’ve joined it was about $300 million, $400 million to $4 billion. How have you kept your sanity during that time?

 

Mike Lee: [00:13:31] Oh…that’s making an assumption that I’ve kept my sanity. But, you know, I think given our backgrounds and I hear this a lot. One of the COOs, I know, speak with, and use a sounding board and an unofficial advisers around the industry. A lot of them seem to have a consulting background. So, I’m seeing a pattern here. And I think one of the things that consulting does well is it gets you used to rapid change. You’re going from project to project to project – different industry different business different stakeholders. And I feel like that the ten years that I’ve been on the retail side, you know, in addition to seeing the retail side, from the institutional side you know this is an industry that very cottage still and it was gonna go through a rapid consolidation process and then everyone kind of saw coming. The Question was how. So, maintaining the sanity I think was part luck that I fell into a profession that kind of prepared me for a lot of change frequently because every year I think LourdMurray has looked and felt and acted differently. So, going from a small practices investment advisory focused value proposition to fast forward, now we’re trying to be a holistic wealth management, to some degree and multi-family office. And that requires a lot of cost and recycling, if you will, and iterating through structural changes, process changes, strategic changes, personnel changes, and the systems and procedures that support that. So, I mentioned that I still feel like a startup here even though we are one of the larger not nearly as large as Avalon. But because I feel like we have a lot of rapid change to go to achieve where we want to be and feel like “Ok” we are now running an institution that knows how to take care of the clients in a more scalable way.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:15:45] I think that’s great. I love that both of you have that consulting background and might Mike say well talking to other COOs, I think a lot of them are coming from a consulting background. While I think that’s true, these successful COOs out there have had that consultant mind, I do think, and it’s one of the kind of goals of this podcast is to sort of shine a light on the COO role, I think the general thought out in the RIA space is “Oh, COO, that’s the guy that handles the technology or girl that handles the technology and it’s just I just need somebody that understands technology and I can even go hire somebody that programmed at IBM. They’ll be a great COO because they know technology.” And I’m hoping with this podcast that were raising the view of the COO. I do think it is a more consultant process. In our White Paper we highlighted three core responsibilities of a COO. One, just the day to day administration of the firm. Where you’re executing the business plan and upholding the culture of the firm because the advisors are usually out of the office meeting with clients and prospects and so who are the employees reporting to, they’re mostly reporting to the COO. Number two, just driving workflow improvements so that is kind of that general thought of well I just need somebody that understands technology and how data flows within our organization et cetera. And then three is a HR. You need, most of the time it’s the COO who’s doing the recruiting, the training, and making, again, a culture that retains employees and staff. As the firm continues to grow and everybody the big goal is I want to continue to provide a high touch service but to a larger and larger client base. So those are kind of the three high level responsibilities that we identified in our in our white paper. Mike what do you view as your primary function as the COO?

 

Mike Lee: [00:17:51] So to add to what you said, Matt. I mean I think if we can do anything from these podcasts to the white papers that you’ve been you’ve been working hard to produce is elevating the awareness from founders and the rainmakers, if you will, that have been the leadership, the traditional, leadership across the industry, right. And obviously there’s no business without revenues. So, we all understand the importance of the revenue generation part of the business. But when we have these conversations about, you know, what is operations first of all, COO. I try to kind of frame the viewpoint on the lens for folks who don’t fully understand what the COO should or might be responsible for. I kind of take it back to the basics of accounting. So, when I went to B-School, we talked about you know operations is what a business does to generate income, right. So, if you were to look at it from that lens what exactly is the operations of the business. Well we’re now a planning firm. The planning requires people and human capital given capital require support, the sophisticated deliverables that we’re trying to create for a client need technology. Technology needs the ability to make smart purchasing decisions and integration and process design so that you can integrate your strategy with the people and the technology. So, if there’s anything that we can do to help increase the awareness of the breadth of the things that we have to integrate and be good at. I would say that would be a great accomplishment. So, to answer your question, I think the COO needs to be a very deep generalist and we’re all going to have different strengths, whether it’s on the human capital side or the technology side or packaging all of those things to provide a good service to our clients. But you definitely need to be a broad based deep generalist that can integrate these different dimensions of a company performance.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:20:03] I love that – I just wrote that one down deep generalist. I think that’s perfect. So, Gary what do you focus most of your time and energy on? Across all of these things that you there their top priority…

 

Gary Bonner: [00:20:18] Yeah, I agree with Mike on what he had said from you know from the economics background. You know, I feel like there’s all the factors of production that go into making the firm successful. If you look at it from that perspective, basically we oversee as a COO, you know, I think that my role is essentially to kind of be the grease in the gears that keeps everything running smoothly. So, of the three things that you’ve highlighted I think all of them are important and I agree with Mike that we have to be very broad and all the things that we’re good at. We may have certain things that we’re really deep and knowledgeable on, but we have to have a good general sense of everything across the firm. You know from the H.R. perspective all the way through technology through customer service through just to the day to day admin. When you and I are talking about, you know, during the white paper when you’re writing in the white paper, you know I said one of the things I’ve done actually was in our previous office space is hung about 95 different pictures and maps and flags on the wall. Just because somebody had to do it. And so, you know on any given day, you know, I always feel like in my office door should become a revolving door instead of it just a standard door because somebody is always walking in my office saying “Hey what about this?” “Hey do you know?” “Hey where do I go?” “Hey what do I do?” And it could be anything from you know what we are billing a client on fees, to where do I go to find this document that we have in place, to hey my computer’s not working to, hey you know what about you know I just got this phishing e-mail what do I do with it. And it can be any given thing at any given day. So, you know, I never walk into my office in the morning with anything that’s the same as the previous day. I have certain things throughout the year that are similar but on any given day I’m always doing something new which keeps me engaged and interested. You know, to Mike’s earlier point you know when people look at us and they “say oh that’s just a cost center.” You know, a breakaway firm leaving to go out and start their own RIAs, they’re going to say “Why do I need a COO? That is going to cost me money.” But, you know, I see from the opposite perspective, I see for every dollar that I can save in working with a vendor or in negotiating well with a custodian and what their fees are or negotiating a lease or negotiating any kind of purchase, I’m essentially saving a dollar that goes that hits the bottom line at the end of the day. So, we’re, you know, which is basically, it is essentially while not revenue it’s just you know it’s a contra. So, I feel that, you know, as a COO and for the COOs that I know being able to negotiate with vendors is as important as going out and finding the next client to bring in revenue because I’m able to save the money which hits the bottom line well.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:23:38] Perfect. I know specific examples of COOs walking out of a long planning meeting with the CEO saying, you know, what are the revenue projections for the new service that we introduced last quarter and you walk out of the meeting and someone taps you on the shoulder and says “I moved my desk from the left side of my office to the right. Can you drill a hole right here so I can get my wires into the power plug right.? And so, you’re climbing under the desk, drilling holes in desk. So, yes, it is a little bit of everything. So, you both hit on this a little bit in your last answer and it’s sort of a similar tough question I’m asking where I said, “well there’s three primary roles which is most important?” Which in your mind, I’ll go to Gary first, in your mind, which is more important for RIA to focus on – profits or growth?

 

Gary Bonner: [00:24:28] Yes, the answer is yes.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:24:30] Yeah. Right.

 

Gary Bonner: [00:24:31] To both of those. Yeah, it’s growth but in a profitable way. As one of my partners likes to say, “we can’t pay out quarterly distributions to investors unless we have profits and we don’t have profits unless we’re growing the assets in a profitable way.” So, going out and just adding assets where there’s no reasonable expectation of revenue is not the way to grow. It would be better to grow from the investor perspective that you know the next dollar actually is generating a profit versus just showing up on an AUM report when there was no revenue associated with it. So, growth but in a profitable way.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:25:16] Perfect. And Mike add your two cents to that.

 

Mike Lee: [00:25:19] Yeah. I mean I think first of all is this a trick question Matt?

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:25:22] Yes, it is. Yes.

 

Mike Lee: [00:25:24] It’s not a tough…I think Gary hit it on the head. Not much more to add there. I mean we have to focus on both. I would add the little detail that I think growth we helped more in an indirect capacity – in the form of enablement and the servicing infrastructure that we oversee to support the growth. And then from a profit standpoint it’s of a more direct responsibility. So, it’s always both and you know you can’t keep people happy and developing because at the end of the day we’re human capital business and you can’t help people develop in their own careers and team members develop without growing because costs are going to go up. Whether you decide to go or not, right.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:26:13] Yep. I mean it definitely is a trick question. I don’t know what the right answer is. I mean the high level answer obviously is both. I’ve talked to other COOs that have said that their answer is slightly different in that it’s both over the long term but in the short term it’s – you just have to pick where you are in your business’s lifecycle. So, in the early years, it’s we just need to grab AUM at any cost. And you know, there’s plenty of firms out there that high five each other “oh my goodness we just landed a $100 million account” but they’re not really taking into consideration that specific client is paying 10 basis points versus a 10 million dollar account that’s paying 65 basis points, so. But in the early stages it’s growth at any cost and then you sort of hit an inflection point and then it’s okay, now at this part of our business lifecycle we need to now start thinking about okay, what’s the bottom line? How much are we actually taking home? Obviously when you get into the M&A game the potential buyer is looking at cash flows and so profitability, profit margins can become a lot more important. But I don’t know what the right answer is other than both. So moving on, one of the, we’ve talked, so I’ve brought it up several times that we hope this is the goal of the podcast, we hope this is the goal of the podcast, well another goal is just to be a resource for COOs looking for some best practices and I’m hoping that by hearing stories from COOs, like the two of you today, and just hearing that everybody’s facing these same challenges it will give them some comfort. So, Mike where do you turn for peer learning and for sharing of best practices.

 

Mike Lee: [00:28:04] So there’s no better education than people that have already gone through the same pains that you’re going through. So, industry study groups – I participate in a group of COOs that DFA, Dimensional Fund Advisors, has put together and facilitated for about four years now. And the membership ranges from a $500 million firm all the way up to a $12+ billion firms. So, the sharing is very open and everyone kind of feels it’s almost like a support group feel. I think you can probably relate to that from your former life, Matt.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:28:45] Yep.

 

Mike Lee: [00:28:46] And the amount of sharing is just tremendous because we all feel the same kind of tensions and the pain and being in the middle or the intersection of an industry that’s quickly consolidating and it’s populated by a lot of, you know, uber talented rainmakers and sales people the value systems are not that of necessarily as we say profits and in structure and in operations. So, having that peer group of other like-minded advisor firms who are large enough to have professional COOs, has been a tremendous asset. And I also have friends in other parts of the industry that, you know, lunches and regular sharing of issues that are common to all businesses. And given that RIA business and industry is still very young as opposed to, you know, let’s look at the CPA and tax professional industry or even the medical industry. They’ve already been through this type of cycle where the key people leave large organizations and start their own practice and realize that you have to pay attention to more than just revenue. You have to develop a practice – “Oh, I need a billing department for my medical practice. Oh my goodness.” So, there’s a lot of knowledge out there and I don’t think we quite frankly, in the COO realm of the RIA industry, are doing anything new which is both comforting and frustrating at times because we see more mature industries go through this cycle. And to answer your question it’s everybody I talk to you.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:30:32] Yep.

 

Mike Lee: [00:30:34] I have a specific set of industry participants that, you know, know exactly what we’re going through, and I have a lot of folks that are in more mature industries that already have best practices. And I can aspire to, you know, get to that point in our business.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:30:53] I think everybody talks about it especially because most of this industry has come from the wirehouses and everybody talks about the RIA industry seems to be very collegial and especially when you’re talking operations, decisions, and challenges. I think one of the things I really do love about this industry is you can pick up the phone and call, you know, everybody kind of knows who the big RIAs are you can find ones that are roughly your size and you can pick up the phone out of the blue and call another COO and I think they’re always willing to talk. Maybe not marketing strategies from one RIA to another “Hey this is our niche, and this is how we’re going about finding those clients.” Maybe that gets a little competitive but specifically on operations I think that the space does a good job, but you have to be very proactive and pick up that phone and dial. So, Gary where do you where do you turn for help?

 

Gary Bonner: [00:31:48] I have a group of about 22 COOs and CCOs and we serve together on the Fidelity Service Steering Committee. Which is how I know Tony Craun and also from Mike’s firm LourdMurray, I work with Joe Young who’s also on the committee. So, we meet twice a year in person to do just a review for two days -kind of best practices things that are going on, things that are, you know, maybe the Fidelity wants to roll out that they’d like to get our opinion on before they roll them out. But more often than not we will email or call amongst our group throughout the year just to get a sense of “Hey I’m thinking about doing this”, who has experience or who do you use or how you done it within your firm? And I think that the kind of the meeting after the meeting or the meetings between meetings with the calls and with the emails are really provides kind of a really rich environment in which to exchange ideas and, you know, as you said we’re not, nobody is, you know, exchanging marketing plans because we’re all actually all in different geographic area but on the operations side everybody knows somebody who knows something that you might need and so just, you know, being able to have that conversation and those emails is very helpful for me and the role that I have.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:33:17] Fantastic. So, my last question. We’ve talked a lot throughout this conversation of how many different responsibilities that you’re juggling on a day-to-day basis. So, at the end of the day, Mike when you’re driving home in L.A. traffic, how do you declare a particular day a success?

 

Mike Lee: [00:33:40] Well as you know, Matt, in L.A. traffic you can solve the world’s problems during your commute. So that’s a daily ritual but no one else is listening. So, the problems still remain. That said, you know, I try to approach my kind of day-to-day and long term together. So, I think it’s important for COOs to have a long term vision and I know that’s traditionally something that people expect from the CEO but being the engineering kind of mindset, I need to have an end state that I’m going for. I don’t need it to be a fixed goal, but I need to know that we’re trying to become a $10, 20, 30 billion AUM RIA with certain set of capabilities that will be appropriate and the scale and the structure to be able to support a business of that size. So, on a day-to-day tactical standpoint, I want to make sure that I’m reshuffling my priorities to the incongruence with that long term goal. So, I have a daily ritual where I list out whether it’s a client related, corporate, M&A or what have you, special projects related – things that I’m always writing down. And it might be repetitive for some people, but I try to keep a daily tactical list of things to focus on. And if I can knock out some of those or make progress on some of those things that I list out daily, then I feel pretty good about the day and call it a success.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:35:24] Perfect. So, Gary what has to happen on a particular day for you in order for you to declare it a success?

 

Gary Bonner: [00:35:31] I am a big believer in checklists. There’s a great book called The Checklist Manifesto that I probably could have written but it’s one of those things I really like checklists. So, I make a checklist of everything that I do – whether it’s just a to-do list. I have a checklist for when I go on vacation of things to pack. I have a checklist for the quarter-end procedures for billing. And like Mike if I can knock off a few of those items throughout the day while doing kind of a normal you know day-to-day job, I think that that’s successful. And I guess two questions that I like to answer at the end of the day or at least by the end of the week, is you know am I doing things today or have I done things today that help us to continue to be profitable and sustainable as a business but also at the same time protecting our clients, our employees, and our business from no known threats and things that can go wrong? You know, I like Andy Grove’s, you know, “only the paranoid survive.” So, you know, whether it’s developing the business continuity plan or disaster recovery with, you know, this could happen, or this might happen – not that you ever want those things to happen but just planning ahead and having kind of that long term vision of, if something goes wrong what happens? And then what then what’s the checklist for the next steps? So that’s how I kind of run my day-to-day, week-to-week, even month and quarterly, you know, lists of things to do is just off of checklists.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:37:10] Yeah. That’s fantastic. I did not know you…

 

Mike Lee: [00:37:12] Here here!.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:37:13] Yeah. I did not know you were going to mention that book. I have read that book and I think that is the, one of, the perfect books for a COO because I said earlier, at a high level, the goal of any RIA is how do we provide a similar experience, a high touch experience for our clients, across, you know, more and more and more clients. And the only way you’re going to do that is by having set processes and checklists. So yes, I know that you were answering the question of how do you look at yourself specifically and those are checklists really for yourself but the COO, I’m going off on a tangent here, but the COO – that’s one of, in my opinion, that’s one of the big things that a COO needs to do is implement checklists and processes in all the different segments of the business because that’s how every client gets a similar experience. As you add more and more clients, you just too much going to slip through the cracks so that is a fantastic book – The Checklist Manifesto. So, this has been fantastic. I cannot thank you both enough. We really did hit on one of my main goals of this podcast is just discussing the breadth of knowledge that COOs need, all the different day-to-day tasks that you need to be juggling. So, I can’t thank you both enough for sharing your thoughts with us today.

 

Mike: [00:38:38] Thank you for letting us participate in this project. If this can help some suffering COO out there, even just a little bit of work, I’m happy to do it.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:38:51] Fantastic.

 

Gary Bonner: [00:38:52] Thanks Matt. This has been really great.

 

Matt Sonnen: [00:38:54] Awesome. Thank you both so much. Podcast listeners, thank you again for listening to another episode of the COO Roundtable. If you’re getting value from these conversations, I hope you are, please tell your co-workers and anyone else you think could benefit from this content. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on our website pfiadvisors.com. You can also listen to it on iTunes or Google Play. Our next interview is going to feature two operations professionals from the same firm. Trevor Chuna from Sequoia Financial Group, he was highlighted also in our COO white paper. He will be joined by Shaun Kapusinksi, who is the director of operations at Sequoia. Their firm has five office locations, close to 70 employees. So, Trevor and Shaun will be sharing some of the technology initiatives they’ve had to implement to successfully navigate the sheer size of their firm. And Shaun will also be detailing a networking group that he has put together to help broaden the education for COOs. Thanks again for listening and we will talk to you soon.