We are excited to announce the addition of Jay Veale and Sandra Saldana to the PFI team!
Jay recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Political Economy and Film Studies. Previously, Jay interned at CWSWG, a real estate investment firm in Newport Beach where he performed bond and real estate market research.
As an associate at PFI, Jay will report directly to CEO Matt Sonnen and will learn about and support all areas of our business, working with client projects spanning from Breakaway/RIA Set Up to M&A Integrations. He will assist RIAs in setting up or modifying their technology systems from the custodian to the client portal. Jay will also support PFI’s industry education efforts by producing infographics, blog posts, videos, and podcast episodes.
Outside of the office, Jay, a Southern California native, spends his time relaxing on the beach, reading, hiking, or catching the latest film. He also looks forward to beginning his Master of Science in Business Analytics this Fall.
Sandra previously worked at the Culver City Chamber of Commerce where she helped businesses communicate and create long lasting relationships with their clients and surrounding communities. She graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Creative Writing. As an administrative assistant, Sandra has a strong focus on marketing and branding efforts, curates social media content, provides assistance to all PFI team members, and works diligently to leverage Matt’s time to its fullest extent.
Sandra was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Outside of the office, she enjoys training in Muay Thai, reading James Baldwin, and running the Woodchip Trail with her newly rescued dog, Nova.
Please meet Jay and Sandra!
PFI: Welcome, both of you! Jay, how has the transition from school life to work life been? And Sandra, how has the change in industry treated you?
Jay: Thankfully, rather smooth. I loved to pack my school schedule through a full course load and by getting involved in several student organizations and extracurriculars, the fast pace of which I feel prepared me well for life at PFI where I can be comparing custodian pricing one minute, running podcast and website analytics the next, and be developing a presentation right after. I’m very excited that I’ve been able to find an opportunity where I can be a core part of the team and my input and contributions are taken seriously and impact the success of the firm.
Sandra: Stepping into an industry in which I had no prior experience or background was definitely intimidating. From the nomenclature, to the history of key stakeholders, to the ever-evolving trends, I was worried it would be overwhelming. However, I’ve always enjoyed a good challenge and seeing how dedicated everyone in the industry is motivates me to reach that level of mastery. It’s also been great to see that the PFI Team practices what they preach as they have an organized and seamless onboarding and transitioning process. They have curated an impressive resource library and there is no shortage of information to turn to whenever I have a question.
PFI: What attracted each of you to PFI Advisors?
Jay: I have a commitment to be a lifelong learner and one of my priorities in my job hunt was finding an environment where I could develop and grow. The environment at PFI is one of constant learning and every team member brings their own perspective to the table that allows for not just the learning of new information, but also for the sharing and understanding of new points of view. This means that I am not just gaining a comprehensive understanding of the technology and procedures of the RIA industry, but of the people and ideas that drive those operations.
Sandra: What drew me to PFI Advisors was the team. I remember in Episode 9 of The COO Roundtable, Susan Dickson and Suzanne Williamson of Private Ocean discuss the importance of company culture and its cascading effects on company reputation, client experience, and even profitability. I couldn’t agree with their insights more. When leaving the Chamber world, I didn’t restrict the industries I was looking to join. But one of my top priorities was an environment that would allow me to learn new skills and develop professionally. As soon as I met the PFI team, I knew they were something special that I needed to be a part of. The fact that no one is too high up to crawl under a desk, or troubleshoot your tech, speaks volumes to me about the integrity and work ethic they have.
PFI: What do you hope to accomplish in your respective roles?
Jay: I really am excited to support and grow PFI’s industry education media efforts. Whether it is producing The COO Roundtable podcast, videos, blog posts, or other educational resources, I hope I can use my background working in creative efforts to continue to improve PFI’s multichannel informational offerings.
Sandra: To use a baseball metaphor, I see myself as a utility player that can cover different positions. It’s my hope that my efforts can help aid in PFI’s scalability. By lending a helping hand, I hope to allow others to take on bigger projects and help Matt multiply his efforts and time.
PFI: As children, what did each of you want to be when you grew up?
Jay: When I was little, I was always fascinated by tall and interesting buildings and naturally wanted to be an architect. I had a little yellow hard hat and spent my time dreaming up skyscrapers or mansions with Lincoln Logs or Legos. My interests may have changed over time, but I hope I still have retained that creativity and build-it-myself attitude that I did back then, and I definitely will be taking the opportunity to explore some of the more interesting buildings in Los Angeles in my free time.
Sandra: I think a better question for me is “What didn’t you want to be when you grew up?” I was a pretty imaginative kid; I wanted to be everything from a mechanic, veterinarian, teacher, chef, ice skater, actress, and even a crime-fighting superhero. But when those dreams were crushed by the realizations that I’m a terrible cook, a bit squeamish, and have zero coordination, I realized that all throughout my life I had been doing one thing— writing. Whether it was poems, poorly drawn comic books, or short stories, I’ve always loved the limitless possibilities writing offers. That’s why I enjoy the marketing aspect of my current position and am particularly excited to write many blog posts in the future!
PFI: Of PFI’s four main service offerings (Breakaway/RIA Set Up, Ops & Tech Consulting for Existing RIAs, M&A Support for RIA Buyers, COO Resource), which interests each of you the most?
Jay: I really like the idea of the Breakaway/RIA Set Up. Being able to help build a firm from the ground up and help the advisors be the architects of their own technology and workflow infrastructure really sounds like an incredible opportunity. I look forward to being able to dive deep and find out how to best support our clients by matching them up to the solutions that will set them up for success.
Sandra: Given the time I entered the industry, I would have to say M&A. It’s booming right now, and I’m fascinated by its complexity. Matt has a saying that as a buyer, “You have to offer more than a check because everyone can offer that.” A firm needs to have a unique value proposition to attract a seller. They must be scalable, have efficient infrastructure, and communicate through the entire process to alleviate both parties’ fears. Aside from being a fan of Scott Slater’s podcast, I’m currently waiting for my copy of The Financial Advisor M&A Guidebook to ship (with highlighter and sticky notes at the ready!).
PFI: We could not be more excited to have you join our team/family! We have so much planned for the horizon and both of you will be key in expanding PFI. Thank you, Jay and Sandra!