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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CVS or Walgreens? Feb 13, 2019

Dear Mr. Berko: I can't make up my mind whether to buy 500 shares of CVS or 500 shares of Walgreens. — PW, Wilmington, N.C. Dear PW: CVS, which stands for Consumer Value Stores, began life in 1963 as a health and beauty aids chain with $863,000... Read More

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McDonald's and Verizon Feb 13, 2019

Dear Mr. Berko: My stockbroker thinks that the recent viral confrontation between a McDonald's customer and a McDonald's employee will be used as an excuse to cause large strikes at units all over the country, in which employees will demand higher wa... Read More

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SAIC and MO Feb 06, 2019

Dear Mr. Berko: I have 28 shares of Science Applications International Corp. in my account and don't know how they got there. If they're mine, should I keep them or sell them? I've changed brokerage firms six times in the past 12 years, and my curren... Read More