About Malcolm Berko

Malcolm Berko

Malcolm Berko

After finishing high school in 1956, Malcolm Berko toured the United States for 10 months on a reconditioned Harley-Davidson before beginning his investment career as a margin clerk for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Bean. Merrill fired him two months before completing his degree in 1959, so he spent the next two years in graduate school. In 1962, Berko sold his Harley, got married and joined Thomson McKinnon Securities as a stockbroker. In 1982, Berko began writing Taking Stock, a syndicated financial column.

In 1990, Prudential Securities purchased Thomson & McKinnon. Several months later, Prudential asked Berko to resign because his column continued to speak unkindly of the many private-equity, real estate, limited partnerships sold by Prudential to trusting clients.

Berko quickly joined Advest Securities, which was subsumed 15 years later by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. However, because his column was critical of Merrill's mutual funds and selling practices, Merrill declined Berko employment. Berko immediately segued to Moors & Cabot, a boutique New York Stock Exchange brokerage founded in 1881. In January 2007, John Thain, then president of the NYSE, insisted that Moors & Cabot terminate Berko’s employment because his column’s comments were offensive to the honor of the Big Board. Berko continues to write his columns from his offices, which he occupies with his secretary in Boca Raton, Fla. By invitation, he will share his humorous and pithy comments about the stock market, politics and social events with audiences around the country.

Berko is a published poet and nature photographer. He was a ranking handball and racquetball player, has climbed Mount Everest twice (unsuccessfully) and occasionally backpacks the Himalayas. Berko collects old stock and bond certificates, first edition signed books and is a firearms enthusiast. He admires Winston Churchill, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein and William F. Buckley. He hosted a two-hour, call-in radio talk show for a dozen years and enjoys playing a poor game of golf. He has a son who is a physician, a daughter who practices law and four grandchildren.

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Hold HSBC Holdings May 24, 2017

Dear Mr. Berko: My father died last year, and the assets from his will have been distributed. Among the stocks he left to my brother and me are 250 shares each of HSBC Holdings. The other investments are mutual funds, pharmaceutical stocks, utility s... Read More

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Is Starbucks a Safe Investment? May 24, 2017

Dear Mr. Berko: Please tell us your thoughts on Starbucks. We are retired and have a good income from our investments, though we still must be careful. We don't want to make investments that might be aggressive and lose money. There's a Starbucks nea... Read More

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Sell or Hold TCF? May 17, 2017

Dear Mr. Berko: I bought 600 shares of TCF Financial at $13.95 in early November of last year. The shares had zoomed to $20 within two months. So I asked my broker whether we should sell any of the shares. He said no and recommended that I buy anothe... Read More