citybiz interview with james davidson
Citybiz Interview With James Davidson, Chairman & CEO of Coral Gables Trust Company
By: Edwin Warfield - June 21, 2021
James W. Davidson is a co-founder of Coral Gables Trust Company, the largest independent and privately held trust company headquartered in South Florida. He began leading the management team following the financial crisis increasing Assets Under Management from $200 million in 2011 to over $1.7 billion today. CGTC has become recognized as a complete firm for advising owners of private companies facing management and family ownership transitions, divestitures, liquidity investments, and estate planning. Jim began his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in New York and moved to Miami in 1991, to satisfy his entrepreneurial ambitions.
He then started an M & A boutique firm, and five years later became a partner for the leading VC firm in the State. After working with early stage companies for five years, he felt motivated to work hands-on with smaller mid-sized, cash flow positive growing companies and taking them to the next level; and this led him to become a co-founder of an SBIC mezzanine firm, while serving as Chairman of CGTC. The founding management team at CGTC endured the lean start-up years, and survived the 2009-2010 financial crises. He was asked to become part-time CEO of CGTC in 2001, and recruited senior wealth management, trust, and business development professionals with decades of experience at leading national competitors. Jim's early strategy continues to focus on providing responsive, creative, flexible, and high level client services with decisions made locally. Clients at CGTC, as well as prospects, have found the Firm's flexible client-driven strategy to be unique in Florida. Jim has advocated for developing opportunities for women in business, and in 2019 launched CGTC's Women & Wealth Seminar Series, which has become a foremost local community initiative designed to empower women by building financial confidence and wealth strategies.
Those who have the privilege of working alongside Jim would say he is a great leader and mentor. He is a member of the Board of Overseers, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, and the Board of Trustees and Advisors, Marion Military Institute, Marion, AL. He served as a Director of the Florida Venture Capital Forum from 1995 to 2000 and as its Chairman in 1998. In addition, he also served as a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of Palmer Trinity School, Miami; Board of Directors of the Plymouth Congregational Church Foundation, Inc. Miami; and as a Board member of Informed Families, Miami. Jim holds a B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He also served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant, including a tour in Vietnam. Jim and his wife, Deborah are involved in champion causes for the homeless and are major supporters of Chapman Partnership, as well as Informed Families.
Introduction to Coral Gables Trust |Can you provide an introduction to Coral Gables Trust - Assets under Management, offices and other key metrics?
Career | Your career included 20 years at Goldman Sachs & Co., established Davidson Capital Partners, founding Banyan Investment Partners in 2003 and became affiliated with South Atlantic Private Equity in 1993. Please walk us through your career prior to founding Coral Gables Trust.
Milestones | What have been some of the key milestones of Coral Gables Trust?
Team | Who are the key members of Coral Gables Trust?
Our Advantage | Please outline the primary advantages for Coral Gables Trust? How do you compete?
Growth Strategy | Is your growth strategy organic or inorganic? Are there any new offices planned? Any acquisitions on the horizon?
Asset Allocation | What are your thoughts on the allocation of growth versus value in today's market?
Banyan Investment Partners | You were one of the co-founders of Banyan Investment Partners. Can you tell us about the fund and the other partners? What are some of the investments from the recent fund?
Florida Venture Forum | Please tell us about your role in the Florida Venture Forum and its impact on capital in South Florida?
Connect with James
About Coral Gables Trust Company
Coral Gables Trust Company (CGTC) is the largest independent and privately held trust company headquartered in South Florida, and a leading provider of Wealth Management, Trust and Financial Planning services throughout the State. Founded in 2004 as a locally owned and operated independent trust company, CGTC services clients with assets ranging from $500,000 to more than $50 million - inclusive of affluent individuals and families, small to medium sized companies, foundations, and pension and endowment funds. Devoted toward putting our clients' interest first, CGTC strives to provide conflict-free services, personalized advice, open-architecture (no proprietary products), and asset based fees.
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