“Partnership – a cooperative relationship between people or groups who agree to share responsibility for achieving some specific goal.”

The Art of a Partnership


Focused exclusively on wealth management and guided solely by our one-on-one client centered approach, one of our major strengths is the close relationship we maintain with each client. Our prime objective is to know the client well, to discover what the client expects and to help articulate a family vision as opposed to just an investment strategy. We share our experiences and expertise and make available quality solutions to achieve our client’s specific needs.

The Founding Partners

The Company founders, Doug Nunn, Dick Gates and Dave Buffington were all “trust guys” each with 20 years experience in trust departments of large banks. They watched the trust business change as big banks were forced to focus on merger after merger, with the ensuing pressure on expense control and revenue development. Staff cuts were draconian and account loads for those who survived the cuts were doubled or even tripled, leaving little time for the kind of client service they wanted to deliver. Account minimums were imposed, and clients whose assets did not meet these minimums were moved to centralized call centers. Trust came to be viewed as just another bank product – a commodity not a service.

So, the “trust guys” quit their bank jobs and founded an independent trust company that would meet their standards of client service and do so at a profit. They lobbied the Virginia legislature to enact legislation allowing independent trust powers, and raised capital through the sale of private stock. The vision for The Trust Company of Virginia was absolutely clear – the Company would focus exclusively on managing clients’ wealth and this strategy would be guided solely by the clients’ interests.

They founded the firm based on the belief that they could forge a partnership with clients that would provide a client experience superior to any that is available on the competitive landscape. This belief informed organizational decisions, business strategies, hiring decisions, compensation plans, and operational and technological platforms, in short, all the components that make up a company.

Opening the doors in 1994, the founders brought on board experienced professionals who shared the founding partners’ passion for service excellence. The formula worked so well The Trust Company of Virginia won the Rising 25 Award as the fastest growing privately held company in the Richmond area in 2000. Dave Buffington died in 1998, but Doug Nunn, CEO, and Dick Gates, Chairman of the Board, are still setting the standard for service. Doug Nunn said, “We have to distinguish ourselves. We do that through our service and experience.”

Charitable Giving

We are committed to actively support charities in our region. Here is a list of charities receiving our support.

General Corporate

• Garden Club of Virginia    • James River Foundation


• ChildHelp Foster Family Agency of East Tennessee    • Legal Aid of East Tennessee    • Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park    • Knoxville Bar Association Barristers’ Hunger & Poverty Relief


Richmond Region Speech & Debate Initiative    • Jewish Community Center    • The Richmond Forum    • The Virginia Home   • Maymont Foundation   • Children’s Hospital Foundation   • Historic Richmond Foundation   • Richmond Symphony


• Hospice House of Williamsburg   • Colonial Williamsburg Foundation – Jamestown Society   • Williamsburg Community Foundation    • Virginia Symphony    • Olde Town Medical Center    • Occasion for the Arts    • Jamestown Yorktown Foundation


• Opera Roanoke    • Apple Ridge Farm    • Greenville School    • Roanoke Valley Partnership
• Roanoke Symphony Orchestra     • The Jefferson Center


• Annapolis Opera    • Mount Vernon


• Poplar Forest    • Lynchburg Museum System for Point of Honor    • Greater Lynchburg Community Trust
• Academy of Fine Arts    • Jefferson Choral Society    • Lynchburg Symphony