DealZone

Lenny Dykstra likes his options

May 29, 2008

baseballbat.jpgLenny Dykstra, the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies legend who got 1,298 base hits during his career, loves options.

Speaking at a feel-good event in New York featuring a group of former sports pros to discuss how sports informed their approach to business, Dykstra, who counts television stock picker Jim Cramer among his admirers for his investing prowess, likens pursuing a buy and hold strategy for stocks to “being hit with an idiot stick.” Options, on the other hand, spare you from margin calls, he explained before launching into the finer points of calls, puts, and straddles.

Dykstra’s advice didn’t end there. When a star-struck member of the audience at the Thomson Reuters newsmaker event asked about the value of financial advisors, Dykstra animatedly dismissed them as “Wally Wall Streets.”

That provided the only moment of tension in what was otherwise a towel-snapping hugfest between the graying jocks. TD Ameritrade’s outgoing chief executive Joe Moglia, who coached college football for 16 years before starting his business career, quickly rushed to the defense of his profession. After all, TD Ameritrade’s game plan is to ramp up financial advice and management…so its bottom line depends less on trade commissions.

“It’s not that complicated, but investors underestimate their sophistication,” Moglia told his fellow panelists, which also included New York Ranger Rod Gilbert and Carl Banks of the New York Giants.  “We only exist to help clients achieve financial goals.”

And with that, the old lions resumed imparting nuggets of their business acumen to the audience, such as “You’ve got to be dedicated,” (Moglia), “Get dirt on the umpire” (Dykstra), “I’m a case study in niche marketing” (Banks) and “The restaurant business is the hardest.” (Gilbert)

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