David S. Waddell

CEO, Chief Investment

The Fog Cutter. Leader. Visionary. Trailblazer. Global Economics Maven. Writer. Speaker. Father. World Traveler.

David is W&A’s fearless leader. As the firm’s Chief Investment Strategist, David chairs the W&A investment committee and, pulling from his 20 years of experience, combines macro-economic forecasting, macro market analysis, and macro risk assessments to design portfolio strategies for clients utilizing public market securities worldwide.

David is gifted with the ability to take complex topics and ideas and present them in a compelling manner that everyone can understand. He essentially cuts through the fog, hence the name “Fog Cutter”, and encourages his team to push the standards of what it means to be a financial planner. David has been featured as a global economics and investment expert in national media outlets such as Business Insider, Medium, and Barron’s, and continues to be a speaker at a variety of clubs and organizations in the Memphis and Nashville areas.

David earned his BA in Economics at University of the South and his MBA with a concentration in finance and investments from Babson College in Boston. He began his career at Charles Schwab & Co., Inc and was soon recognized for his outstanding business development record and promoted to the Institutional Strategic Accounts Team, which interfaced with the Big 5 accounting firms and Schwab’s largest customers.

David is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Epicenter Memphis, Alliance Abroad Global, and Connect Music. He also holds a seat on the New Memphis Institute Board of Governors and is serving as the Memphis Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair of Finance as well as the current Treasurer.  He previously served as Chairman for The Leadership Academy, the RISE Foundation, and the Economic Club of Memphis and chaired the capital campaign to build the “Live” stage at the Memphis Botanic Garden. David has been recognized as a “Most Admired CEO” by the Nashville Business Journal in 2020 and 2022. Additionally, David was honored as a ThinkAdvisor 2021 LUMINARIES Award winner*.

Planning your next bucket list trip? You might want to give David a call. He has traveled to more than 32 countries with no plan of stopping. He’s made connections all over the world and learned from immersing himself in different cultures. David also lived in Hong Kong for 18 months studying Asian economies and the long-term prospects for the “Chinese miracle”.

David stays just as busy outside of work keeping up with his two children and their doodle, Ripley. He is a skilled guitarist, and yachtsman, and dreams of captaining his own boat in the not-too-distant future – a passion that inspired his own father to start the W&A business. Read the full W&A story here.


* Waddell & Associates did not pay to participate in any of the listed awards or recognition programs.

*More Information and Disclosures on Award Listings


How Waddell & Associates is changing the Financial Planning landscape:


“At Waddell & Associates, we are in the relationships business, not the transaction business. This company was started by my parents with the belief that there was a void in the personal financial services industry. Instead of focusing on extracting money from clients, they created a model that placed an emphasis on building relationships with their clients. They wanted every client to feel like family as achievements take time, collaboration and flexibility while requiring trust, common values, and commitment.”



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