Our Team

Meet Our Team

Departments

  • Operations

Locations

  • Bellevue

Roles

  • Executive Team

Matt Sonnen

Chief Operating Officer

Matt Sonnen has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. As Chief Operating Officer, Matt manages all aspects of Coldstream’s operational platforms to identify opportunities to scale and systematize processes ensuring capacity for the firm’s continued growth. In addition, Matt will also oversee the firm’s Information Technology, Performance Reporting, Client Service, and CRM efforts.

Before joining Coldstream, Matt was the Founder and CEO of PFI Advisors – a firm dedicated to consulting registered investment advisor (RIA) owners on best infrastructure and culture practices. Matt has been a thought-leader in our industry – publishing over 270 practice management articles, research papers, and podcasts. In June 2021, he launched The COO Society to create a community of RIAs centered around coaching operations professionals.

Matt learned the ins and outs of the wirehouse model at Merrill Lynch in the late 1990s.  Matt left Merrill in 2005, and a few years later he was introduced to the RIA marketplace, helping build the infrastructure for Luminous Capital prior to its founding in 2008.  As COO and CCO at Luminous, he navigated technology and compliance challenges as the firm grew from $1.7 billion in assets to nearly $6 billion in less than five years.  Luminous Capital sold to First Republic Bank for more than $100 million in 2012, after which Matt headed to Focus Financial Partners in New York City where he helped partner firms streamline operations and improve back-office efficiencies.

Matt graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He currently resides in California with his wife, Reese (Larissa), and son, Luke.

THE MOST TREASURED THING I OWN

When our son, Luke Edward Sonnen, was born in 2013, my wife managed to get our birth announcement in Eddie Van Halen’s hands and she let him know that Luke’s middle name was in honor of Eddie. She asked him to sign a baby onesie for Luke, which she included with her note. Not only did he sign the onesie, but he also grabbed a vinyl copy of Van Halen I (the band’s debut album, released in 1978) and he and his brother Alex signed it with the inscription, “To Larissa, Matt, and Luke – All the best!” While it technically was a gift for Luke, the album proudly hangs on my office wall!

ONE PIECE OF ADVICE

For COOs looking to streamline their firm’s operations, I always advise to focus on process, not technology. Replacing a technology system will not make the firm more efficient if you apply broken processes to the new technology tool that you were hoping was going to be the easy fix for the firm’s productivity issues. For example, if advisors are complaining about your firm’s chosen trading/rebalancing software, focus on how clients are assigned to models or the tolerance bands assigned inside each model, rather than looking to replace the software.

HOBBIES

With an active 10-year-old at home, my main hobby is playing Uber driver as I shuttle Luke from one activity to another, whether that be karate, swimming, coding, or soccer. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, watching documentaries (usually about musicians), listening to classic rock, and playing guitar (poorly).

COLDSTREAM SHAREHOLDER

coldstream shareholder logoColdstream is an employee-owned wealth management firm. We believe that by having broad employee ownership, we can attract and retain the industry’s best talent – in turn furthering our mission of enhancing people’s lives.

Recent Article Contributions

  • February 7, 2024

    The COO Roundtable: Episode 61

    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 [...]

    Contributions from: Matt Sonnen
  • January 17, 2024

    The COO Roundtable: Episode 60

    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 the 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 [...]

    Contributions from: Matt Sonnen
  • December 6, 2023

    The COO Roundtable: Episode 59

    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 [...]

    Contributions from: Matt Sonnen