The Bravery in Figuring out What you Don’t Want to do with Chris Johnson of Tailor Ridge Capital

Chris Johnson is the co-founder and managing partner of Tailor Ridge Capital Management, a specialty lender focusing on construction and bridge loans secured by sub-institutional residential assets.

“I am a law graduate from the University of Zurich in Switzerland and decided to move to New York for a job in corporate law. It was a great experience, but I realized that it wasn’t what I was passionate about, so I went back to business school. After that, I worked for a family office with a merchant banking business and then transitioned into wealth management. When I was at Merrill Lynch, that is when I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own firm in 2017.

Go to podcast: Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.

When I first learned about real estate lending as an allocator and later on as a consultant to a firm in the space, I saw it as a great opportunity. It's a super decentralized market. Many things can go wrong, but if you do it correctly, it's a good risk-adjusted return.

We started Tailor Ridge in March 2020, and we believe in building everything out to scale and testing while we are still small. This helped us figure out the problems and fix them before they become big problems. When you ask me about my clients, I think about both sides of the business: Our borrowers and our investors. With respect to our borrowers, we take a very high-touch approach and view ourselves as both their lenders and a business partner. We really want to see them succeed, and repeat business is key in this space. As for our investors, we have high and ultra-high net worth clients to whom we're essentially a bond replacement. Looking at it more from a portfolio perspective, it's uncorrelated and difficult to replicate alpha, which our more institutional investors tend to appreciate. Especially with the Fed, having rates as low as they are, many asset classes are much more correlated than they used to be.

In life, overall, figuring out what you don't want is a crucial thing. My journey from Switzerland to law and wealth management led me to realize that my passion is building a