Coral Gables Magazine - Guardians of Wealth
Coral Gables Magazine - Business Quarterly October 2021
Guardians of Wealth
Mention "private wealth management," and some people think about picking investments that can earn them a high return, fast, with little regard for the long-term. That view makes Jim Davidson shudder.
As a wealth manager, Davidson thinks first of financial planning. He helps people map out goals to build and safeguard assets for themselves and future generations. He helps them decide where best to put their money, keeps tabs on investments and goals, and stays in touch. He earns a fee for continuing services, not a commission for selling or managing products. He gains as the client's assets grow.
"The field is becoming more sophisticated, and it's extremely competitive," says Davidson, co-founder and CEO of Coral Gables Trust Co., which now has some $2 billion in assets under management.
Today, wealth-management firms in the Gables oversee tens of billions in assets for families locally, nationwide and abroad. They're benefiting from a big influx of capital from tech and finance executives moving to Florida from California, New York and other high-tax states. Coronavirus also has raised awareness of the need for financial planning, prompting more folks to seek their services.
Yet the firms face challenges too: A younger generation seeking a more "hands-on" approach; entrepreneurs too busy working to properly plan their finances; "do-it-yourselfers" who eschew professional help; and a headache common in many industries - finding talent in today's tech-driven age.
"Newer graduates, millennials and Gen Z are not that interested in the finance industry," says Davidson. "They're looking to create that next great app."
Coral Gables Trust, founded in 2004, largely focuses on South Florida, operating from the Gables, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. It differs by accepting clients with assets of less than $1 million; many firms require larger amounts. It also differs by managing estates and trusts - separate accounts that hold assets to minimize inheritance taxes and ease transfer of wealth after the client dies, says Davidson.
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