Shelby Cullom Davis, “one of the least talked about, but most successful investors,” managed to parlay a 1947 $50,000 investment into over $800 million by the time of his passing in 1994.

A 23% compounded average annual rate of return. Not too bad.​


Sonoran Desert Near Tucson Arizona

During his career Shelby advised Thomas Dewey on economic matters when he ran for president in 1940 and 1944 and served as Governor Dewey’s First Deputy Superintendent of Insurance from 1944 to 1947 for New York. Later, he served as US ambassador to Switzerland under Presidents Nixon and Ford (1969 – 1975).

A philanthropist, he was head of the Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation which disperses funds to higher education and to research on public policy and economics. Princeton, his alma mater, was one of the beneficiaries of his grants. He also served as chairman of the Heritage Foundation.

Shelby got around.

But what does this have to do with today's Fintech market?

In a previous post we noted the Tucson, AZ metro area made our Top 15 List of Fintech Securities & Investments markets on a per employee basis in 2015 (ranked 14th). Can a contributing reason for this can be tied directly back to Shelby Davis?

Securities & Investments sector in Tucson, AZ

Tucson, AZ probably does not first come to mind when thinking about hot spots of financial activity. So, what is going on in Tucson?

As we have done in previous posts, let’s start with a high-level view of Tucson’s Securities & Investments sector. As shown below, 62% of the 2015 addressable Fintech market is due to portfolio management. Another 27% is due to securities brokerage. This is generally consistent with the West regional average of 28% for securities brokerage But it reflects a much higher concentration of potential Fintech spend in the portfolio management sub-sector (62% vs 48%).

Again, our analysis uses ZIP Pointe Market Sizer. Market Sizer is our Tableau-based market sizing tool based on ZIP Code-level Census data on over 7 million private sector business locations.


Fintech S&I Market - Top 15 Metros Tucson

In terms of business location size by sub-sector, nearly 80% of the locations are small (1 – 4 payroll employees). This is a recurring theme. The sub-sector is dominated by small locations though these are not necessarily all stand-alone companies (i.e. they could be formal branch locations).

There are only 29 locations with 10 or more payroll employees. A bit over 40% of the locations are involved with securities brokerage, another 26% are portfolio management and another 18% are investment advice (see below).

With respect to “hot spots” of potential Fintech spend per employee, it is clearly the portfolio management sub-sector that stands out, with potential spend ranging from $5,337 to $7,682 per payroll employee. The top hot spot consists of 3 locations with 50 to 99 employees.


Tucson Employee Size

As we have done in prior posts, another way to drill into the addressable Fintech market in Tucson is by ZIP code. The following map shows the ZIP codes in the metro area color coded for addressable market size per employee. At the ZIP Code level, addressable Fintech market size ranges from $1k to $6k per payroll employee.

But there is a distinct hot spot in ZIP Code 85706 (circled in red) at $6k per employee. According to, the largest Tucson financial advisory firm (in terms of assets under management) is located in this ZIP Code (Davis Selected Advisors). Other top firms in the Tucson metro area (indicated by red arrows) are TCI Wealth Advisors in ZIP Code 85718; Sonora Investment Management in Zip Code 85719; Strategic Equity Management in Zip Code 85715; and Sterling Investment Management in Zip Code 85718.

Which ZIP codes account for the bulk of potential Fintech spend? We have already discussed two of the top 3: 85706 at 16% and 85718 at 20%. But these are surpassed by ZIP Code 85712 (indicated by the green arrow) which accounts for 27%. These three ZIP Codes together account for 63% of Tucson’s potential Fintech spend in the Securities & Investments sub-sector.


Metric Per Employee


Another way to drill into the addressable Fintech market is on a per business location basis. Dividing potential spend by the number of locations is another way to normalize the data. This map (shown below) looks quite a bit different and one ZIP Code stands out above all the rest: 85706. Although the ZIP code overall accounts for 16% of total potential Fintech spend, on a per location basis, it ranks at the top with $230,000 in potential spend per site.

Metric per Site

ZIP Code 85706

Turns out at there are only 3 locations in ZIP Code 85706. At least one of these (the larger one) is associated with Davis Selected Advisors. And it may be that the other sites are also associated with Davis as we could not find any other Securities & Investments firms (with at least 10 employees) in this ZIP Code (If anyone knows, please let us know).



Tucson AZ Employee Size`


Davis Selected Advisors

So, the Davis name is a major player in the Tucson metro Securities & Investments sector. Any relation to Shelby Davis perhaps?

Davis Selected Advisors was started in 1969 in New York by Shelby Davis…not Shelby Cullom Davis but his son Shelby Moore Cullom Davis. Following his father’s footsteps, Shelby M.C. Davis graduated from Princeton and rose through the ranks of the New York financial industry – specifically at the Bank of New York.

In the late 1970s the non-portfolio operations of Davis Selected were moved to Sante Fe, N.M. In 1997, a service center was opened in Tucson and personnel were hired locally and moved from Santa Fe. In 2000, Tucson became their global headquarters, specifically in ZIP Code 85706 where the company operates out of its own commercial property.

Today, Davis Selected Advisors is led by Shelby’s son, Chris Shelby, grandson of Shelby Cullom Davis. “Davis Selected controls the nine-fund Davis group, the Selected group of funds, which is a no-load, four-fund group, with private accounts of no less than $5 million, and other managed money programs.” (Inside Tucson Business). Currently, Davis Selected has about $30b in assets under management.

So, there you have it…from Switzerland to the Sonoran Desert! Ok, maybe New York to Arizona…

Part 1 - How Big is the Fintech Addressable Market?

Part 2 - Fintech Alert: A Lot of Savings and Loaning in Springfield Massachusetts

Part 3 - Breaking Down Fintech - the Securities & Investments Sector

Part 4 - Top 15 Metros - Wild in Omaha - Fintech Securities & Investments

Part 5 - Top 15 Metros – Fidelity Durham - Fintech Securities & Investments

Topics: investing, research, finance, fintech, addressable market

Kevin Duffy-Deno

Written by Kevin Duffy-Deno

Dr. Kevin Duffy-Deno, with over 30 years of experience in quantitative research and analysis, is an expert in econometric, data, statistical and predictive modeling and data visualization. Both with Bintel and prior organizations, Dr. Duffy-Deno has been engaged in numerous projects requiring data acquisition from proprietary and public sources, the normalization of such data and the integration of data into a format supporting analytic analyses and products.