TBH Franklin: Travis Anderson and Taylor Irwin

When Travis Anderson of the TBH Global Asset Management team began looking to purchase office space in downtown Franklin, he knew he wanted one steeped in a rich legacy. So when he stumbled upon the building at 125 Third Avenue North nearing its 200th birthday, he knew he’d found the place.

This Federal-style building just off Main Street was renovated in the fall of 2012, returning the two-story home—rumored to have hosted the likes of Andrew Jackson—back to its former glory. Anderson said they chose the location because they found a striking correspondence between its foundation and the TBH business philosophy.

“It was the history. There is a lot about this house that parallels the investment firm that we run,” Anderson said. “When you think about how it was built: three bricks thick, slow and steady. But it’s stood the test of time.

“That’s how we try to build people’s financial plans and portfolios. We want to handle them just that way.”

Anderson said that axiom is also mirrored in the company’s name. In 2008, Anderson left Fifth Third Bank with Franklin native David Merrell to found TBH in Nashville—a global investment advisory firm with a local touch. The pair came up with the name after the popular Aesop’s Fable.

“TBH stands for ‘Tortoise Beats Hare.’ It’s not initials as much as it is an acronym,” Anderson said. “So you see, the building and our philosophy really do parallel very well – slow and steady wins the race.”

Though the TBH headquarters are in Green Hills, only Anderson and Financial Advisor Taylor Irwin operate out of the Franklin division. Both natives of the area, the two chose to anchor their individual business in downtown because of the strong connection they feel to the community.

“This is a service-related industry that we are in, and it’s built on trust. In this town you want to know the person; to be able to vet them not only as a business contact, but also on their character,” Irwin said. “And I think it’s also about stability. We’ve lived here our whole lives and we plan on staying here. People want to know that this is a long-term relationship.”

Anderson agreed, explaining that Franklin demands so much more from an advisor.

“Trust is extremely important, and you really make relationships down here,” Anderson added. “We like that. We’re in Franklin by choice. We live here; our family, friends, and networks are here.”

Both have strong ties to the area—Anderson’s father is Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson—and said that they feel a certain responsibility to give back because of it. Irwin pointed to the restoration of the circa 1816 home as one indicator.

“Anyone can say ‘actions speak louder than words,’” Irwin said. “But I hope the preservation of this house solidifies that we’re involved in the community and want to maintain its history; we want to help steer it, for our future and the future of others.”

At TBH Franklin, Anderson and Irwin provide the same advisory and securities offerings as their Nashville counterparts, and each has his own clients and/or portfolios.

“We take a holistic approach, whether it’s a person’s business or an individual,” Anderson said. “Often times, the industry focuses on the investments or the planning specifically. And we do that, but we also make sure we’re sitting down with attorneys, CPAs, and other trusted advisors to create a comprehensive financial plan.”

Anderson said their business differentiates from big-bank and wire-house operations in where the allegiance lies.

“It’s a little different from working at a big bank that offers financial services. As an advisor, you work for the bank or company,” he said. “But our obligation is strictly to the client. That’s who our boss is. Ultimately, putting the client first and providing exceptional service fosters trust.

“As my family always said, ‘There’s only one thing in this world you can’t bankrupt, and that’s your reputation.’”

For information about TBH, visit them at 125 Third Avenue North. You may also learn more on their website www.tbhfranklin.com or by following @tbhfranklin on Twitter or “liking” TBH Franklin on Facebook.

This is part of a series on merchants in Downtown Franklin that runs each week in the Williamson Herald.