Taking Charge of Money and Investments in the New Year
Biltmore Capital offers wealth management and financial solutions for life.
- By Euna Kwon Brossman 5:30 am
Taking charge of one’s financial situation ranks right up there with getting in shape as one of the top new year’s resolutions.
Tyler Vernon’s goal is to give his clients the best financial advice he can and give them the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have the time and money to enjoy their families and the good things in life.
Vernon is the founder and chief investment officer at Biltmore Capital Advisors, located on Witherspoon Street in Princeton. Previously, he was a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch for almost a decade and was a vice-president in the private client group.
Just a little over 10 years ago, on 9/11, he was sitting in his office at Merrill Lynch on the 40th floor of the World Financial Center, when he saw the first plane go into the World Trade Center. Because he saw the impact firsthand, he knew immediately just how bad it was. He grabbed his cell phone and wallet, yelled at people to get away from the window, and then ran outside. He made it onto the last ferry from the World Financial Center to Hoboken before the second plane hit.
Merrill Lynch relocated Vernon to the office in Livingston in Morris County, but about a year later, reopened its financial district location. It was hard returning after 9/11, but there was more to Vernon’s dissatisfaction with working in the Wall Street milieu.
“I was starting to see some of the things now evident in hindsight and many of the large firms imploded for various reasons,” he said. “I saw the conflicts of interest and how sometimes what was right for the client wasn’t what was right for the firm. I decided that if you always put client interest first, it would be a much better platform and revenues would follow.”
In 2007 after years of thinking about it, he and his wife, Molly, decided to move out of New York City. Compounding their desire to leave the city was the birth of their first child.
“Molly and I both grew up on farms and we both knew we did not want to raise our own children in a big city,” Vernon said. “Having grown up in Princeton, Molly still had a lot of connections here and we decided it was the perfect place to raise our family.”
It was also the perfect place for them both to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. His wife owns Luxaby Baby and Child, a clothing store in Palmer Square, and he set up shop with his own independent financial services firm.
“Because we are independent, we can shop around and find the best products from all different firms and decide what best suits our clients needs,” Vernon said. “We saw the value of what we were building with an independent structure and environment.”
Besides financial advice, Vernon thinks outside the box and offer services not ordinarily offered by traditional firms.
“We understand that money is valuable but time with family is also precious and limited, which is why we try to make our clients’ lives more simple with something we call the Biltmore concierge,” Vernon said. “For example, you can call and have a gift wrapped and mailed out or let us know that your car needs to be serviced and we can do that.”
Vernon believes in having a close relationship with his clients and to have meaningful conversations to understand their real goals.
“What are you trying to achieve? What do you really need in retirement? What is going to let you sleep at night? These are the kinds of questions that help us understand what our clients’ needs are,” Vernon said. “Maybe our client is awake at 2 a.m. because of worries about an elderly mother. For some people, it’s the ability to help other family members; for others it’s the ability to live a certain type of lifestyle. Ninety percent of clients will tell me that family time is one of the best investments you can make.”
Vernon’s own life reflects that same sense of priority, and one of the things he loves about his job is that it’s close enough to home that he can take his two daughters to school every day at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart.
“We love to sing and we love the Beatles, so we blast Yellow Submarine on the way to school,” he said. “I know how long it takes to get to school by how many times we play Yellow Submarine and that’s three and half times.”
His wife, who also went to Stuart, is on the school’s board and Vernon serves on the board of Trinity Counseling Service in Princeton.
Although Biltmore Capital serves a national clientele and also has offices in Atlanta and Dallas, Vernon loves the idea of being the hometown financial advisor for Princeton and he’s thrilled that Biltmore Capital is growing locally.
“Clients who know we are here stop by and we have people who have been
referring some of their friends,” he said. “The best reputations spread by word of mouth and we want people to know we are here and looking out for them.”
It helps that Vernon has been a spokesman in the financial services industry and his firm has received media coverage on CNBC, the Wall Street Journal and the Fox Business Report, among others. He is often tapped to serve as a guest analyst on the business news broadcasts, especially when there is breaking news in the financial sector.
But Vernon’s main priority is his firm’s clients and managing and growing their assets even in these tough economic times.
“Our big value-add is to take dependence on the stock market out of the equation, given the high level of volatility there over the last few years,” he explained.
Vernon believes that with the roller coaster economy, many people are in positions where they need to take a good look at their money and put their financial house in order no matter how painful that may be.
“A lot of people have been nervous about opening their statements because they are so worried about what has been going on with the wildly fluctuating markets,” he said.
“People who were laid off may have their 401ks floating around, without a proper strategy for rolling them over and maximizing their opportunities,” he said. “So our job is to say ‘let’s get eyes on this’ and ask is there anything you should be doing differently. And January is a great month to do that. Our goal is for our clients to leave here saying, ‘their service was impeccable, they really do have a different approach to handling assets; nobody else is like that.’”