“L’dor v’dor,” from generation to generation, is the perfect phrase to sum up the relationship between Gerald Davis and his son, Grant.
Jerry just celebrated his 90th birthday on Sept. 28, 2020, but is still working as senior vice president of investments at the Beachwood branch of the Davis Frayman Financial Group of Raymond James, where Grant, 56, leads the group’s investment selection process.
Both father and son attend The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, and live in Orange Village and Moreland Hills, respectively.
“Getting out of the service in my 20s, I had to get a job and I happened to have a few uncles,” Jerry Davis said. “One was a bartender, one was a pawn broker and one was a bookie. And I said, which of these things do I want to follow up on? And then the fourth uncle happened to be what they call a stockbroker these days.”
In 1957, Jerry said his uncle Eddie Siegler was happy to bring him on board at Bache & Co. in downtown Cleveland, where he worked for eight years, gathering his initial experience in the industry. By the time he left in 1965, Jerry explained that he had started a family and wanted to work in closer proximity to them in the suburbs. He contacted several local firms about building new branches in wealthier communities like Chagrin Falls or Pepper Pike.
He said he first reached out to a firm called Paine Webber Jackson & Curtis (now known as Jackson & Curtis), who promised Jerry and his recently earned investment license an office in the east side suburbs. Regrettably, he said, the company rescinded the offer in 1970 and Jerry pivoted to working with J.N. Russell and Company to found their former location in Shaker Heights, where he stayed for just shy of a decade.
“Unfortunately, we had some very good disappointments which caused my partner and I to say we need to join a more reputable firm where we could build a career and a future,” Jerry explained. “And that’s when we got together with McDonald & Co. in 1978.”
A reputable firm at the time, Jerry said it remained that way for the next 20 years, with Grant coming on board in 1993.
McDonald & Co. merged with KeyBank in 1998, and after eight years the team chose to move to Raymond James in 2006.
Throughout 63 years of brokering and investing, Grant said his father saw the industry change from a specialized provision to the more service-oriented position it holds today, as technology gives investors more control over their finances than ever before.
“So now you have a quote on your phone, you can buy stocks on your phone or computer,” Grant said. “You (previously) had to walk in and buy stock and pay for it. And they were the only ones who even knew what they were trading, so if you wanted a quote on GM you had to go in and see what the price was. He’s seen the entire scope of the business change from transactions and no technology.”
More recently, Grant said COVID-19 has upset the entire industry following a 34% loss in the New York Stock Exchange between May and June 2020, requiring him and his father to shift their approach to their work. Even though Grant has taken over some of his father’s duties at the Davis Frayman group, Jerry said he still puts in about 30 hours a week, researching and communicating with clients from home.
According to Grant, Jerry’s work-from-home setup includes a secure office and terminal – impressive for a man born in 1930 at the height of the Great Depression. Grant said his father’s desire to learn how to use technology is indicative of the perseverance that has allowed him to succeed in the business and pass the torch down to him.
“Integrity is the word most people think of when they think of Jerry, so I try to be like him and be thoughtful,” Grant said. “People usually don’t focus as much on performance as you think. It’s more about service and making people trust you. He does all those things very well.”