SCARSDALE, NY, August 1, 2010 -- When the Greek debt crisis rattled global financial markets in the spring, few saw it coming. But readers of Palisades Hudson Financial Group's blog weren't terribly surprised because Jonathan Bergman, the firm's vice president, wrote a prescient piece about Greece's woes in December.
Every weekday, Palisades Hudson's "Current Commentary" uses dry humor and tightly reasoned analysis to address (usually) serious issues in society, economics, politics, investing and financial planning.
A random walk through hundreds of posts since June 2009 reveals titles like "Alcoa Can't Wait," "Obama's White House Party Is Winding Down," "They Bet Your Life On It," "Putting Pot Over The Counter," "Exile On Wall Street," "Steve Jobs Plays Big Brother," and "Jailbreaking The iPhone, Legally."
Bergman is an occasional contributor; Larry Elkin, the firm's president, writes most of the pieces. How does he manage to write a 500-to-900 word column almost every day while heading a financial planning and investment company with offices in New York, Georgia and Florida?
It helps that Elkin was a reporter with The Associated Press in the 1980s before becoming a CPA and financial planner. "Writing a five-day-a-week blog isn't so much a return to an earlier career for me as a continuation of the same thing in another format," he says.
But it's an attitude too.
"The mission of a financial advisor requires us not only to keep up with what is happening in the wider world, but to think about it -- to consider what the news means today and what it might mean down the line," he says. "Coming up with at least five topics a week is very easy. My colleagues and I are simply sharing opinions we've been generating all along."
Talented assistants help research and write the blogs. "But every post must reflect both the views and the voice of the author," Elkin says.
The views are eclectic and don't adhere to a predictable liberal or conservative line.
"My personal views don't matter except to help someone understand what makes me tick," Elkin says. "Our staff includes liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans and everything in between, yet not a single one of us thinks one of our clients would get significantly different advice from another professional at our firm."
Elkin says he's not worried about losing business because someone might disagree with his strong opinions. For instance, he supports the family rights of same-sex couples -- a stance that might anger some potential clients. Elkin figures people who are that easily angered wouldn't make good clients, anyway.
Elkin's posts also regularly appear in "Wall Street Pit," a website providing insights about global financial markets.
Palisades Hudson Financial Group is a fee-only financial planning firm headquartered in Scarsdale, NY. It offers estate planning, insurance consulting, trust planning, cross-border planning, business valuation, family office and business management, executive financial planning, and tax services. Its sister firm, Palisades Hudson Asset Management, is an independent investment advisor with about $950 million under management. Branch offices are in Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale. Website: www.palisadeshudson.com; blog: https://palisadeshudson.com/current-commentary