OUR ROLE

The world's wealthiest individuals establish family offices in order to have a professional team solely dedicated to serving their family's best interests. Vernal Point Advisors was founded by former family office executives to bring this level of transparency, alignment, and focus to its clients.

Our clients typically use us as their outsourced family office. In this role, we become our clients' most knowledgeable trusted advisor, and are charged with leading the family's other team members to deliver consistent, high quality service.

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Paul Morelli, CFA, CFP, CAIA

Managing Partner

Paul Morelli founded Vernal Point Advisors. He previously established and ran a single-family office in San Francisco for the family of a top ranked investment manager. Paul has also worked as a family office specialist at Silver Bridge Family Office Partners, and as a strategy consultant to start-ups and private foundations.

In previous roles, Paul was the lead investment advisor to families, trusts, and foundations with complex portfolios. Paul has continued this focus at Vernal Point by leading relationships with the firm’s most complex clients and those undergoing significant transitions such as liquidity events. His areas of investment research include custom indexing strategies, after-tax asset allocation frameworks, and portfolio volatility management. He collaborates with the wealth strategy team to structure the integration of tax and investment strategies, and to implement goals based portfolio management.

Paul is a Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst and a CFA charter holder. He received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. His volunteer time is dedicated to developing educational content on financial topics, both for the Redwoods Initiative, and as chair of the Financial Services Alliance of San Francisco.

Leigh Shimamoto, JD, CFP®

Managing Director of Wealth Management

Leigh is a principal and the Director of Planning at Vernal Point Advisors. Leigh is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and California Bar licensed attorney with 15 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Most recently, Leigh spent over 8 years at Aspiriant, an $8+ billion independent wealth management firm in San Francisco. She worked with high net worth individuals and their families, most of whom are corporate executives of companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs and professionals. Much of her focus was on assisting executives with concentrated stock positions, implementing 10b5-1 stock sales plans and executive compensation. While at Aspiriant, she also managed one of their corporate engagements with a Fortune 500 company, overseeing the firm’s wealth management services to the Company’s top-level executives.

Before joining Aspiriant, Leigh worked at Merrill Lynch as a financial planning specialist. She worked with financial advisors, introducing and implementing financial planning into their practices. She eventually joined a team of advisors to provide comprehensive wealth management to the team’s clients.

In addition to working at Vernal Point Advisors, Leigh is active with the Financial Planning Association (FPA). She has served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco chapter and is currently serving as the Chair of the FPA Northern California Conference, a nationally recognized professional conference.

Richard Faw, CFA, CAIA, FSA

Director of Quantitative Research

Richard has nearly two decades of experience in the consulting and investment advisory business. Before joining Vernal Point Advisors, he founded Setarcos Investment Advisors in 2011 to work with families, trusts, and other taxable clients. Prior to then he worked for Mercer, a major multinational consulting firm, serving as the lead investment advisor to institutional investors with assets totaling more than $3 billion.

Richard's role at Vernal Point is to lead the development of the firm's capital market forecasts and its core asset allocation strategies. His varied professional training and experience allows the firm to bring quantitative rigor and consistency to the construction of the highly customized portfolios characteristically required by Vernal Point's client base.

Richard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of the South, is a CFA Charterholder, a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, a Certified Financial Risk Manager, and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. His volunteer time is focused on the arts as a board member of Green Art Workshop.

Eric Mendez

Director of Investment Research

Eric has dedicated his career to finance and investing, first as an adviser to companies in public offerings and mergers and acquisitions, and then as an investor analyzing companies, markets, and economies. Prior to joining Vernal Point, Eric was an analyst, trader, and portfolio manager at Bowman Capital Management where he covered long/short equities, fixed income, real assets, and manager selection. Before then he was an equity analyst at Artisan Partners, and a high yield debt analyst at Franklin Templeton Investments covering pipelines and utilities. Eric began his career at WR Hambrecht + Co in the investment banking group.

At Vernal Point, Eric leads fundamental investment research, and in this capacity contributes to manager selection and monitoring. He works closely with Vernal Point's client advisors to help them construct portfolios that reflect both market insights and individual clients' objectives. Eric becomes involved in implementing investment strategy through his role overseeing trading operations and execution.

Eric received his BA in Economics at UC Berkeley and his MBA at Stanford University. He is a mentor and adviser with Students Rise Above, a Bay Area non-profit organization helping high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds advance to college, many of whom are the first in their families. Eric is also involved with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and the Latino Business Student Association at UC Berkeley.

Angeles Gottheil

Chief Operating Officer

Angeles has 6 years'€™ experience managing operations for boutique wealth advisors. She previously worked as an analyst and client service associate for high-net worth clients, moving to a director role once her prior firm doubled in size. Her focus is implementing investment management technology solutions and working with other financial service providers to improve clients' experiences. Separately, she is the volunteer CFO for Land Action, a local nonprofit focused on mobilizing unused property for social benefit, including a current campaign to construct urban microfarms. She received her B.S. in International Economics from Georgetown University.

Michael J. Lewis, CFP®

Director of Wealth Strategies

Michael is the Director of Wealth Strategies at Vernal Point Advisors, and also serves as a client advisor. Michael previously worked at Aspiriant, where he served as a wealth manager for over 50 high net worth and family office clients, and was deeply involved in developing the firm’s systems and intellectual property. Michael is also contributing author of the book “Managing Concentrated Stock Wealth: An Advisor’s Guide to Building Customized Solutions, 2nd Edition,” published in January 2016.

In his role as a client advisor, Michael focuses on clients with needs in the areas of concentrated wealth management, executive compensation optimization, and family office services. As Director of Wealth Strategies, he’s involved in the development of the firm’s financial decision making tools, customized portfolio construction methods, and systems. He is instrumental in helping Vernal Point deliver deep customization cost-efficiently to our client base.

Michael graduated from UC San Diego with a BA in Literature in 1997. He also attended the UC Berkeley, Personal Financial Planning program, and earned a Certificate Awarded with Distinction in 2009. He is a Certified Financial Planner as well, and has created leading educational programs for the local financial planning community through his volunteer work at the Financial Planning Association.

Liz Wu

Director of Financial Operations

Liz is the Director of Financial Operations at Vernal Point Advisors. She began her career in the financial services industry over 10 years ago as an independent advisor to individual and small business clients. Liz worked with clients to develop comprehensive financial plans, addressing areas such as concentrated stock positions, tax efficiency, and retirement and estate planning strategies. Over time, she shifted her focus to operations, where she could help effectively execute complex plans and transactions.

Prior to joining Vernal Point, Liz worked in Investment Operations at Aspiriant, collaborating closely with over 60 households and their Wealth Managers. She also helped manage the internal trading platform and innovate operational workflows for greater efficiency. She received her B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®).