Chesapeake Capital’s Jerry Parker

True to the Turtles

Hamlin Lovell

As Chesapeake Capital founder, Jerry Parker, reflects on 35 years of systematic trading, his approach remains faithful to the lessons taught by “Turtles” Bill Eckhardt (interviewed by THFJ for issue 136) and Richard Dennis. As part of Eckhardt and Dennis’s famous Turtle Trading experiment, the erstwhile accountant (and 19 other successful applicants who passed the Turtle training programme) received $1 million to trade in January 1984. At the age of 25, Parker moved from Virginia to Chicago to take part, and recalls most of the Turtles making 150% per year, four years in a row, with big risk, volatility and drawdowns.

“The great training, experience, and encouragement made this the most amazing job ever,” he recalls. “Your client was your mentor, and you did what you were taught, when you made money and when you lost money. These guys were geniuses using computers to back-test models”. He left with a track record that allowed Parker to set up Chesapeake Capital in 1988, with $3 million from the first client. “All I needed was a telephone and a quote machine, and we were fortunate to make money ten years in a row. The markets were better and more trending.”

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