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.