While only five years old, Luke Sonnen plays a vital role at PFI Advisors. As Director of Transition Amusement, it is his responsibility to provide an air of calmness and fun to the ever-stressful “Break Weekend” when advisors leave their former employer and launch their own RIA. While advisors are often overwhelmed with the thought of transitioning their entire client roster to the new firm in as short amount of time as possible, we’ve found that having Luke there to tell a knock knock joke, or to draw a picture of a submarine truck on the whiteboard in their new office tends to lighten the mood and keep everyone on track. As he prepares for the start of kindergarten next week, we thought we would sit down with him to discuss his unique role.
PFI Advisors: Luke, how does it feel to be Director of Transition Amusement for PFI Advisors?
Luke: I feel like the King! I like to make people laugh and smile. They get worried sometimes and I can make them feel better. I can bring Legos and make jets for the office workers to make them happy when they’re tired. I like drawing pictures for everyone’s desk. I also love seeing Mommy and Daddy working. PFI is the best company to work for!
PFI: Yes, you primarily go onsite once a breakaway advisor team resigns from their former firm and Mom and Dad need to be out of town for several weeks. What do you find most exciting about your time onsite with clients?
Luke: I get to watch lots of people [i.e. clients and family members of the team] visit the new office and get excited by all the new desks and computers. They get big smiles on their faces and are happy when they see all the new things in the office! They always say, “I wish we had done this sooner!”
Advisors are thrilled to see space that is designed just for them and their clients! They have told us stories of only being allowed to use outdated internet browsers at their former firm, or not getting access to certain websites or functionality within the tools they use every day when serving their clients (See “Don’t Let the Wirehouses Lie to You About Technology…”).
PFI: The team and advisors have a lot of paperwork to manage with their custodian and with PFI. What’s that experience like, from your perspective?
Luke: There are a lot of papers and pens and [Sign & Date] stickers. I like closing the UPS envelopes after they tell me the papers [client packets] are ready. When the papers come back from the client, they are sometimes out of order and messy – there are checklists on the wall that tell everyone how to get everything back in order. I like seeing all the [Post-It Note] stickers on the walls!
PFI: What is your favorite memory with PFI Advisors so far?
Luke: Working on the computer!!!!! Mom and Dad think it’s good to have fun while we work! Sometimes they play music and sing along, and most of the time there is pizza! I like being silly and high-fiving people around the office! And I help them get on their website as fast as they can! I like seeing them get excited to see their new logo and their pictures on their new website!
PFI: That does sound like fun! Do you have any advice for future potential breakaway teams?
Luke: It’s a lot, and you might not be happy all the time, but it’s ok if you’re not because that’s why I’m here! I can build new computers or even a whole new office made out of Legos! Everyone is always happy when I work with them!
PFI: Well said! Thank you for your time today, Luke – I think you’ve brought a smile to a few people already!
*Answers have been edited for clarity and length.