I am Clay Parker, co-owner and president of Southport Capital. I have had a passion for helping people with their investments for quite some time. It started when I was in the minor leagues as I helped teammates with their investment decisions. There was a huge need with many of them having very little investment knowledge and even less in developing any type of financial plan. I enjoyed helping, as my advice worked well for them and was appreciated. Soon many of our conversations turned from balls and strikes to earnings and PE ratios. It was during this period that I began preparing for my life after baseball, even as I was in the very early stages of my playing career.
Growing up in rural North Louisiana, there wasn’t a lot to do. Never to be confused with the entertainment capital of the world, my hometown of Pistolthicket had fewer than 50 people and most of those were my relatives. The nearest fast food restaurant was roughly forty miles away, and it seemed to take about an hour and a half to get there. Though opportunities were few, there were many advantages of growing up there that I learned to appreciate later. With so few options for entertainment, I developed a passion for sports at a young age. I played a lot of ball and early on decided that I was going to play professionally. I had big dreams and I never once let the odds against that happening be a factor. I had a focus, I was disciplined, and with a lot of hard work, luck and sacrifice, I managed to reach my goal of playing for LSU and later as a professional.
After leaving the game, I moved to Chattanooga and began the career for which I had been preparing for years. I first gained experience at a major brokerage firm, then moved up to a position with a large commercial bank at the urging of a church friend and mentor who was president of Trust Investments. There I was responsible for managing money for high net worth investors and served as vice president and a Trust Investment Officer for five years. I gained valuable experience, but realized that there was a better, more personal way to help individuals than working from within the constraints of a “big box” platform. And now, as president of Southport Capital, I feel I’ve reached the big leagues in Wealth Management.
We truly are a client-focused company. We have many wonderful people and have expanded our footprint with offices in seven states and over $300 million under management. As an independent firm -and I feel this is important -we’re not tied to any one company’s research or products, as our access to such is not limited. Our research comes from a blend of sources, including Wall Street firms, Morningstar, Standard & Poor’s, etc. This blend gives us the best, unbiased ammo to help our clients.
Regardless of our size, my focus will always be at the individual level. I was an investor before I got into this business, and I know the importance of individual attention. I feel blessed in my role today with Southport. It is gratifying to know that I am making a difference in the lives of my clients.
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