By Kate Helm
In 2008, Tyler Vernon ’00 was catapulted into the national spotlight when he accurately predicted a 20 percent drop in U.S. stocks on Fox Business News. Since then, his keen market sense has landed him a monthly spot on Fox and made him the “go to” source for respected media outlets, including Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney, and CNBC’s Power Lunch.
Shortly before his Fox appearance, Vernon co-founded Biltmore Capital Advisors, a private, SEC-registered investment advisory firm in Princeton, N.J., that delivers customized financial solutions for affluent families nationwide. After years of working for a large Wall Street investment firm, Vernon started his own business after growing frustrated with the firm’s philosophy of placing its interests before those of its clients.
“I’ve always believed that if you do what’s right for your clients—put their interests first, work hard for them, treat them like family, and be smart and tactical about their financial planning and asset management—that revenues and success will follow,” says Vernon, who is Biltmore’s chief executive officer and chief information officer.
According to Vernon, Biltmore doesn’t simply funnel clients into an umbrella set of services to make the firm and its shareholders wealthier, but rather tailors its services to each client’s individual needs. The firm has posted annual revenue growth even in uncertain economic times and opened offices in Dallas and Atlanta.
Vernon traces his strong work ethic back to Lafayette, where he worked hard to stand out, always sitting in the front of the classroom and putting in extra study time to really grasp concepts. An economics and business graduate, he conducted an independent study with Don Chambers, Walter E. Hanson/KPMG Professor of Business and Finance, who continues to mentor Vernon and his firm.
“Don and I really hit it off,” he says. “It speaks highly of Lafayette that Don continues to help and work with me more than a decade after my graduation for no pay other than the satisfaction of continuing to help a former student. He’s the kind of person, teacher, and mentor that makes Lafayette a special place.”
Courses such as Financial Markets allowed Vernon to apply what he learned in the classroom to the real world. That knowledge, which many gain only through on-the-job training, impressed prospective employers and led to multiple offers from Wall Street firms early in his career.
“Lafayette was on the cutting edge in providing courses that prepare students for what lies ahead in the job market,” he says.
Vernon, in turn, lends a hand to Lafayette students. It’s his way of giving back after Rick Gallos ’92 helped him land an interview for his first job at Merrill Lynch. Biltmore sponsors student internships, and Tyler Chromey ’10 was hired as a client service associate after his internship.
Vernon helps people outside the financial arena as well. He serves on the board of Trinity Counseling Service, Princeton, N.J., which serves clients regardless of financial means. He and his wife, Molly, also serve on the executive committee of Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s charity that helps treat facial deformities.