Says he’s ‘impressed’ by young investors

By Ira Kantor
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 -

The budding entrepreneurs of the Herald’s StoxSmart program received words of praise from State Treasurer Steven Grossman yesterday during an ice cream social and financial roundtable discussion at the State House.

“I’m going to tell you I want to hire every one of you here to be interns,” an awed Grossman told the eight high-schoolers, adding he was “enormously impressed” with the “thoughtfulness” and “maturity” each student conveyed when describing why they picked their stocks.

Inspired by terms used by the students, Grossman, along with the state pension board’s Chief Investment Officer Stanley Mavromates Jr., emphasized the importance of being patient and risk-tolerant, and exploring a company’s history and consumer behavior before investing in the stock market.

“My father always said you were born with one mouth and two ears. Be a good listener,” Grossman said. “You have to learn by going out and talking to people.”

Mavromates offered StoxSmart a tutorial on how the state’s $50 billion pension plan for state employees and teachers conducts its investments in everything from stocks and bonds, to timber and hedge funds.

He said it’s essential for the young investors to understand company performance from a global perspective, especially in countries such as China, Brazil and Russia.

“Don’t think about what it is right now or was. Think about what it is around the world,” Mavromates said. “Those markets are very volatile. You’ve got to make sure you can stomach that.”

StoxSmart participants said they were inspired by the session.

“I wish we were able to do this over a long period of time so I can see how well we’re doing in the stock market,” said Madison Park student Ashley Pirone of The Madison Millionettes. “I want to stay with my stocks to see how wise my research was. I want to keep learning.”

Herald Business Editor Frank Quaratiello urged the StoxSmart participants to keep their financial heads held high.

“I hope you’re not getting too discouraged,” he told the students, referring to the stock market’s disappointing second-quarter returns. “You guys are doing a great job and everybody’s struggling.”