Travers J. Bell, founder and owner of the only black-owned brokerage house in the New York Stock Exchange and the leader of Mayor Tom Bradley's national fund-raising drive when the mayor sought the California gubernatorial nomination in 1986, is dead of an apparent heart attack.
Bell was 46 when he died Jan. 25 at his home in Manhattan.
In 1971, with only $175,000, Bell formed Daniels & Bell Inc., a Wall Street securities firm. At his death the firm's net worth had passed $15 million, primarily through underwriting securities of minority-owned businesses, which at first were reluctant to deal with him.
As recently as 1976 he told The Times that the endowment funds of the nation's black colleges, which he estimated at $500 million, were out of his reach. From force of habit the schools placed their funds with white firms only, he complained.
The firm's co-founder, Willie E. Daniels, left the company in its early years to go into the restaurant business, but Bell went on to become chairman of the New York district of the Securities Industry Assn., Wall Street's chief lobbying group.