What is the most distinctive item of decoration in your office?
We have a wall of annual reports from companies we bought for our portfolios over the years. All of these investments represent positions that appreciated over 100 percent. We call it the 100 Percent Wall.
What does your dream retirement look like?
I will never retire. Retirement is bad health or a pine box.
Have you ever made an “emotional” investment?
The only emotional investment I ever made was the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank. In 1989, after the Tiananmen Square student massacre in China, people were convinced there was going to be a war and that upheaval was my motivation to look at the stock. That year the bank was voted the No. 1 Bank in the world by a financial magazine, but the price of the stock was in the pennies. Not knowing much about China, I called a professor at a local university who did. He told me the Hong Kong currency was dollar denominated. Knowing there would be no currency risk, we bought an enormous amount for our clients. These shares appreciated substantially. Then, in February 1990 the students announced there would be another march. This was my sell signal.
Who is your biggest business hero?
My Mom. She raised 10 children, with me, the last child, being the “perfect one.” She always had an Uncle Ramos philosophy. “What you do with what you got is what pays off in the end.”
What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Last night I was working through some new technical formulas using penny stocks. My model gave me an annualized rate of return of about 12 million percent. Talk about fantasy with penny stocks.
Cold Call: Ralph Parks
Interview with Ralph Parks, founder of Ralph Parks Investment Group in Pittsford NY