High Hopes
Clients turn to Apex Financial Advisors Inc. for innovative solutions to achieving their financial goals
by Lindsey Getz

Investors have many choices when it comes to financial advisors. While there are numerous firms capable of managing investment assets, what people value most is a firm capable of going the extra mile. Beyond comprehensive financial and tax planning, Apex Financial Advisors creates inventive solutions in times of uncertainty.

Apex Financial Advisors Inc. in Yardley is a fee-only, independent advisory firm which prioritizes the interests of its clients in an environment free of brokerage commissions. Apex focuses its business on detailed financial and tax planning for the high-net-worth community. Apex also specializes in creating inventive solutions for its clients’ financial concerns. This unique approach has set the firm apart from the crowd—and that’s true now more than ever.

Solving Problems
As the economic climate shifted to one of low expected equity returns and little opportunity for income-based investing, Apex Financial Advisors pivoted in the direction of nontraditional options.  This led directly to an exploration of opportunities in the commercial real estate space, where the firm’s CEO, Robert A. Connell, has decades of experience. The results of these efforts have helped the firm gain a strong foothold in the community and endeared the advisory team to existing clients and prospects alike.

“We were in a market for an investment that could generate competitive tax-efficient yields and also offer growth opportunities for our clients,” says Connell. The firm’s research process located an opportunity to purchase a double-net-leased property in Maple Shade, N.J., currently occupied by BJ’s Wholesale Club. “We believed in BJ’s as a strong tenant and the property had the three main tenants that are important in real estate—location, location, location.”

Apex created a single-purpose LLC to purchase the property side by side with clients. The investment projects a steady income stream and upside potential without the volatility of the stock market.

“BJ’s remains as a tenant and has a lease for years into the future,” says Stuart Caplan, partner and chief investment officer of Apex. “The beauty of a net lease is that BJ’s is responsible for the lion’s share of property maintenance. Businesses such as BJ’s like to have cash to use on growing their business instead of having it tied up in real estate. It’s a win-win for all parties.” 

While an investment such as this—in a time when clients aren’t confident in the prospects of traditional investments—makes perfect sense, it’s not something that just anyone can do, according to Connell. He suggests that in addition to the necessary know-how, the transaction required a tremendous number of hours spent on research and due diligence—not to mention significant capital. In addition, securing a mortgage for $11 million at a favorable rate took significant negotiating skills.

“A typical financial advisor wouldn’t have the know-how, the scale or the desire to put together a transaction like this,” adds Caplan. “It was a lot of work without a lot of return for us, but we felt it was necessary for the client. If we wanted to continue to serve them the way we felt they deserved, it was time to think outside the box and do something different.”

Friends and Family
The BJ’s investment, which Caplan and Connell both refer to as a “friends and family” type of deal, was driven by the firm’s strong desire to serve clients.

“We wanted to be able to give our clients consistent performance, but we ran out of other courses of action,” Connell says. “This was our solution. It’s been an opportunity for our clients to work closely with us and will hopefully provide a higher return on investment than some of the more traditional paths.”

The Apex team is currently working on a second project, which they hope to close by the end of the year and generate similar results.

“Real estate is still very attractive right now,” says Caplan. “In a time when our clients aren’t able to find anything exciting, this was something to get behind—and we will do more of it.”

Connell agrees and says that he hopes to be able to enhance the “economic well-being” of even more clients through similar transactions.

Earning Trust
While the BJ’s opportunity has strengthened the trust that clients have in Apex, the firm has enjoyed a strong relationship with the surrounding community since its inception. To house a new office for Apex, Connell purchased a decrepit structure at 85 South Main Street in Yardley Borough and in its place built a brand-new building with the style and character of the historic landmark street.

Connell has long been known throughout the region, having more than 40 years of experience in the industry. In fact, he was one of the first in the country to earn the Certified Financial Planner designation in the late 1970s. Caplan, meanwhile, brings more than 14 years of diverse experience to the team. Prior to Apex, he spent much of his career with a private family office, investing in all asset classes.

With decades of professional experience in the financial services industry, Apex Financial Advisors continues to earn families’ trust. Overall, the firm offers an array of services for families and privately held businesses, including the development of customized and comprehensive financial plans, estate planning, retirement planning, gifting strategies and small-business consulting. The recent BJ’s transaction clearly suggests that the firm truly shines when it comes to creating innovative solutions that have the clients’ best interests at heart.

The current economic climate might be difficult to predict, but the experts at Apex will continue to find inventive ways to help clients achieve their long-term financial goals.

“We hope to be able to provide even more opportunities for our clients to work closely with us on real estate investments like this one,” Connell adds.

This is just one reason why Apex Financial Advisors’ clients have such high hopes—for 2017 and far into the future.

Apex Financial Advisors Inc.
85 S. Main Street
Yardley, PA 19067


Photography by Allure West Studios