Tyler Vernon: Relentless Service
By Kathleen Biggins
Tyler Vernon watched both planes fly into the World Trade Center on 9/11, one from his office at Merrill Lynch, and one as he was fleeing Manhattan.
Like many New Yorkers, he thought about what would have happened if the plane had veered slightly to the left and into his building, and began reevaluating his own path. While already a Vice President, he felt he was “grinding” through his work day, and after 9/11 he began to plan for a change of life, and a change of venue. But first, he changed his marital status, quickly becoming engaged to Molly, who he had been dating since meeting at the Subway Series in 2000.
Like Molly, Tyler had grown up on a farm. His father was a veterinarian who owned a vineyard in Tewksbury, NJ. Tyler loved rural settings and dirt roads, as well as great restaurants, theaters and clubs. Molly’s love of Princeton and The Stuart Country Day School swayed him towards the Princeton area. Because his father had worked such long hours, Tyler was committed to headquartering Biltmore Capital Advisors in Princeton and avoiding the commute to New York City so he could spend more time with his family.
Tyler’s approach to business is straight forward: work hard, do what you say, and do it when you say you are going to do it. He believes many people “don’t do the follow through,” even on the simple common courtesy things. Tyler follows this approach, but his success may be due in part to something else — his ability to deliver more than is expected.
When Tyler recounts how he got his first position on Wall Street, it is clear he has the buckle down, outperform mentality that helped him launch a successful new business.
As a college student attending Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, he realized engineering was not the right career path for him despite the fact math and science came easily. He wanted something more people centric, and like many ambitious young students, cast his eyes towards Wall Street. He felt handicapped as his family did not have personal contacts to help get an initial interview. He applied for an unpaid internship, but the hiring manager didn’t respond to multiple emails and calls. That didn’t stop Tyler. He hopped a bus for the two hour trip to Manhattan, walked into the World Financial Center and announced he was there to see the hiring manager who had ignored him. Not surprisingly, the manager was impressed and Tyler got the internship.
Perhaps equally telling, once he had secured the internship, Tyler did not let up. He made sure he was the first intern to arrive in the morning, awakening at 4:30 am every Friday during the school year, taking the bus two hours in and two hours back. During summers he continued with unpaid internships while working at restaurants at night and weekends to pay for his walk-in-closet sized apartment in Queens. ”I was pretty much working 24/7. But I knew that’s what I had to do. I had to create my own path,” he says with a shrug.
Tyler continues to buckle down and outperform. “Everyone calls themselves ‘Financial Advisors,’ including CPA’s and insurance brokers. We are looking for ways to set ourselves apart from the competition, thinking about what we can to do make clients lives easier, better, more confident in their investment and retirement plan,” he explains.
“The stock market has done nothing in ten years. We want to give people a new direction, a new way of living in retirement. Not the same old thinking about investing in stocks, but strategies to approach other markets,” he explains, adding with a smile, “Our approach is catching on quickly.”
Indeed. Biltmore Capital Advisors signed on its first clients in early 2008, right before the meltdown leading to the Great Recession. At a time when many financial firms were imploding, Biltmore Capital Advisors has been “catching on” — doubling its revenue in 2010 and growing 30% over each of the last two years, expanding to 15 employees, and opening offices in Dallas and Atlanta. In fact, most of its high net worth individual and institutional clients live outside of the Princeton area, something Tyler would like to change long term so he and his employees can stay off airplanes and closer to home.
To that end, Biltmore Capital Advisors has started to focus its marketing efforts in the tri-state area, and reaching out to make more local connections. Tyler has introduced clients from around the country to several local businesses, such as banks, mortgage companies and insurance firms. He is also holding events to showcase Biltmore Capital Advisors to local investors. The last one, held at the Nassau Club, was so popular invitees had to be turned away.
Tyler has grown to love Princeton, making good friends and reveling in the cooperative spirit among businesses here. In fact, Tyler believes personal relationships in Princeton helped his firm survive and thrive. As Biltmore Capital Advisors was launching in 2008, Tyler gave a presentation where he predicted the investment market was about to become “frothy” and advised investors to move towards cash. News of Tyler’s investing wisdom created buzz on Wall Street and newsmakers from Fox Business News and CNBC quickly asked him to share his investing insights with their international audiences. Tyler became a regular commentator on both business news networks, and Biltmore Capital Advisors‘ name recognition soared.
Not surprisingly, when asked to reflect on his own success and to provide advice for others, Tyler’s answer sounds a lot like Molly’s, “Find a passion, run with it, and it will all work out in the end.”