Jeff Petersen to Officially Retire after more than 35 Years of Service

Images of Jeff Petersen through the years at Petersen Hastings

A Note from CEO, Scott Sarber

In 1986, James Petersen, the founder of Benefits Northwest (now Petersen Hastings) asked his son Jeff to go on a “ride along” with him to a client meeting.  That experience propelled Jeff into a career lasting more than 35 years of helping businesses and people achieve their financial goals. In those 35 years he witnessed and helped advise people through:

  • The Tax Reform Act of 1986, which among other things reduced the top tax bracket rate from 50% to 28%.
  • Black Monday of October 19th, 1987, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.6% in one day.
  • The Savings and Loan crisis and ultimate bail out.
  • The Persian Gulf War.
  • The 9/11/01 attack on the World Trade Center.
  • The great recession of 2007-2009.
  • The global COVID-19 Pandemic.

Jeff is a believer in continuous improvement.  His desire to keep learning and to improve both himself and his business was evidenced by the things he participated in, such as:

  • Helped Petersen Hastings join Zero Alpha Group (ZAG), a study group of like-minded advisors from around the country.
  • Served on Vanguard’s Advisory Council.
  • Served on Ascension Health’s Investment Committee.
  • Earned a Certified Financial Planner designation (CFP®).
  • Responsible for all advisors at our firm to attain the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation (AIF®).
  • Leader in Socially Responsible Investing.
  • Rebranded Benefits Northwest to Petersen Hastings.
  • Helped grow the firm from a few million in assets under management to the $1 billion we manage today.

Jeff is a believer in teamwork, and he used that belief to train and mentor employees as they joined our team.  He knew that clients needed a team of experts around them to help them achieve their financial goals.  When clients were confident with the “team,” Jeff would slowly step away and encourage the team to take over.  This is a very different approach than what we normally see in the financial industry – where advisors are very protective of their clients, so they don’t get stolen by other advisors.  Jeff had a good understanding that broadening our advisors in the client experience aspect, would ultimately help both our clients and our advisors in the long run.

It is exactly this philosophy that has enabled Jeff to gradually reduce his responsibilities and his ownership of Petersen Hastings over the last few years.  He named Scott Sarber as President in 2013 to run the day-to-day activities of the company.  In 2020, Jeff went to what he termed “part-time.” Now, we are announcing his official retirement. His mentorship, leadership, and ability to let others grow provided the pathway for a successful transition of the business into the hands of the next generation.  With this transition in place, he has the confidence that he can be “fully retired” and spend time doing other things for the community, his family, and his friends.

It is strange to say, but Jeff’s last official day with Petersen Hastings is March 31, 2022.  He has impacted our clients, team, community, and many other people along the way. If you would like to drop him a note, you can do so at I know he will appreciate it.

Scott Sarber, CFP®, AIF® | CEO

A Note from Jeff Petersen

A wise person once said that it is a CEOs job to determine when the next generation is ready to take over the reins and not wait until they are personally ready to pass the torch. It is not very common for both company and personal timing to align which did in fact happen at the beginning of 2020 (semi-retirement) and in 2022 (full retirement). With my good friend and colleague, Scott Sarber, already handling most of the leadership responsibilities, and a strong leadership team in place (including our 3rd generation shareholder, Matthew Petersen), I knew our clients, team members and community were in good hands. My wife, Marj, and I also were ready to take on the next chapter in our lives by spending time with family, friends, and continuing our legacy of giving back to the community.

When I asked my father why he started Benefits Northwest (prior to becoming Petersen Hastings), he told me he wanted to help others and felt his skills were aligned best to the financial field. If you ask Scott Sarber today what our primary mission is at Petersen Hastings, he always responds that it is our mission to help others. When you ask him why it is important for Petersen Hastings to grow, he emphasizes that we can help more clients with growth, help more families through additional employment opportunities, and to give back more to the community. Simple, but impactful!

I want to thank my family, especially Marj, our team at Petersen Hastings, our clients, our friends, and the community for 35 plus years that have been very special.

Jeff Petersen