Stocks & Commodities V. 23:2 (68-75): Interview: Rick Ackerman Of Rick’s Picks by Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan
Rick Ackerman started out as a newspaperman before he found his calling as a trader. How often does that happen? Not very! He went from journalism to a seat on the Pacific Stock Exchange (PSE), where he learned to trade the hard way. He has been trading stocks, futures, and options for nearly 30 years, 12 of them as a market maker on the PSE. Currently, he manages a
hedge fund and is the editor and publisher of Rick’s Picks, a daily advisory geared to traders and investors. The technical tools described in this interview took 14 years to develop and hone. STOCKS & COMMODITIES Editor Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan interviewed Rick Ackerman via telephone on December 2, 2004.
Q: How did you get into trading?
A: Growing up, I would get stock shares as birthday presents. I wouldn’t say I got hooked on the stock market then, but I enjoyed watching the stocks go up. Later, I worked as a reporter and editor for the Atlantic City Press. I came out to California in the mid-1970s looking for a job on a newspaper, but I couldn’t find
one. I had visited the Philadelphia Options Exchange a few times, and it seemed like an interesting place to work; and I realized that if I simply leased a seat on the Pacific Stock Exchange (PSE), I wouldn’t have to look around for a job in California — I’d already have one. So, sometime in the late 1970s, I became a member of the PSE and leased a seat for a few hundred dollars a month. I had borrowed about $35,000 — money that I used to trade, and also to live on. It took me about six months to run that $35,000 down to $2,000. So it really
came down to survival.
Q: What did you do then?
A: I would sit outside the exchange, eating a brown-bag lunch with my friend Frank, and we would try to figure out what had to happen, and whether some revelation
would come that would save both of us. Frank didn’t make it; he left. But I was trading in Levi Strauss options at the time, and I remember putting on
a calendar spread 40 times in Levi. I was just about out of the game at that point.