Michael J. Nathanson, JD, LLM

Chief Executive Officer, Chair

Boston, MA
Focus Areas

Media Spokesperson
Inspirational Leader
Industry Leader


Barron’s Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors List (10 times);
Barron’s Hall of Fame Advisor;
Invest in Others Catalyst Award;
Worth Magazine Top 250 Wealth Advisors List;
Massachusetts “Super Lawyer” List (6 times)


National Brain Tumor Society (Emeritus Board; Former Chairman of the Board; Former Board Member);
Cure GBM (Former Board Member);
Pediatric Cancer Cure (Former Board Member);
Nathanson Family Catalyst Fund for Brain Tumor Research (Co-Founder);
Nathanson Family Catalyst Fund for Cardiac Valve Research (Co-Founder);
Boston Children’s Hospital (Fundraiser and advocate);
Massachusetts Service Alliance (Former Member, Investment Committee Advisory Group);
Needham Historical Society (Former Trustee; Former Board Member);
Boston Bar Association Tax Section (Former Co-Chair);
Boston University Program for Financial Planners (Former Member, Board of Advisors)

Michael Nathanson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Colony Group, is a highly respected and experienced leader in the wealth management industry. He is relentlessly dedicated to bringing meaning and joy to the lives of Colony Group clients and team members by fostering a culture that values lifelong learning, cultivates innovation, and offers opportunities to live lives full of passion and purpose.

Michael’s passion is reflected in the recognition he has received, having been selected ten times by Barron’s magazine as one of the top 100 independent financial advisors in the nation and included in Worth magazine’s list of the country’s top 250 wealth advisors. He also was selected six times as a “Super Lawyer,” as published in Massachusetts Super Lawyers. He is most proud of The Colony Group being named as one of just 50 firms as a Best Place To Work for Financial Advisors by InvestmentNews.

As a lifelong learner, he is committed to sharing his knowledge and experience with clients, colleagues, and the next generation of industry leaders and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He also has served on the Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions Advisor Council and the Schwab Advisor Services Advisory Board. Previously, he served on the Board of Advisors for Boston University’s Program for Financial Planners and as Co-Chairman of the Boston Bar Association Tax Section.

Michael is a co-author of the book, Personal Financial Planning for Executives and Entrepreneurs: The Path to Financial Peace of Mind, and has frequently been interviewed and published on a wide variety of financial, tax, and legal topics by many national and local news outlets, including CNBC, MarketWatch, Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal,  Fox Business, Chief Executive, Financial Times, InvestmentNews, Financial Planning, Advisor Perspectives, Financial Advisor, Real Assets Adviser, the Boston Business Journal, and numerous journals and industry publications.

Michael is also passionate about public service. Having served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Brain Tumor Society for over five years, he now serves as a member of its Emeritus Board and also serves on the Boards of Cure GBM and Pediatric Cancer Cure. He was the recipient of the 2016 Catalyst Award from the Invest In Others Charitable Foundation for his work with the National Brain Tumor Society. He is the founder of the Nathanson Family Catalyst Fund for Brain Tumor Research and the Nathanson Family Catalyst Fund for Cardiac Valve Research. He is a former member of the Israel Bonds National New Leadership Board and also has served as a member of the Investment Committee advisory group of the Massachusetts Service Alliance and as a Trustee and Director of the Needham Historical Society.

Previously, Michael served as President, Chief Financial Officer, and General Counsel of The Colony Group. Prior to joining the firm, he was a Senior Partner at the international law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where he held several leadership positions.

He earned his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Harvard Law School, an LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University, where he was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa and was the recipient of numerous academic honors.

*See important disclosures regarding awards and recognitions.

Published Insights

Get Ready for the Future of Advice

The Colony Group launched a novel life-enrichment platform to complement and enhance our core wealth and business management platforms.  We are offering our clients an entirely new type and level of service focused not only on meeting their broad needs but also on enriching the very quality of their...

Your Contribution with Michael Nathanson

To celebrate his 700th podcast, George Grombacher interviewed Michael Nathanson about his contributions and why aspiring to have an impact beyond yourself is so important.

Non-Profit Sector, Slammed by the Pandemic, Needs the Generosity of Investors

As Appeared in CNBC There is nothing like a precipitous decline of nearly 35%, followed by a swift rise of about 50% in the S&P 500 index — all within the span of five months — to motivate people to bust out the old cliché “buy low, sell high.” Ah,...

Inside the Edition: Michael Nathanson, CEO, The Colony Group

Our CEO, Michael Nathanson, opens up to Mike Consol in a fascinating conversation about being a lifelong learner and how that central tenet has guided his amazing life's journey from attending Harvard Law School to CEO of a national wealth management company.

Gen Z: Taking ESG Investing To The Next Level

As Appeared in Financial Advisor The continued adoption of investment strategies that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations is undeniable. Positive asset flows, new strategy innovations and growing media coverage all point to the maturation of an investing trend into a more regular fixture of portfolio construction. Some...

Profile: Michael Nathanson, CEO of The Colony Group Stresses Lifelong Learning by Travel and Tome

Michael Nathanson, Chairman & CEO, shares his journey to the helm of The Colony Group and what keeps him inspired to live a thousand lives in a candid interview.

Gen Z Is Starting To Make Their Own Money — So Pay Attention To How They’re Spending and Investing It

As Appeared in MarketWatch The U.S. is on the verge of the Great Wealth Transfer, with baby boomers expected to bestow trillions of dollars on younger generations in the coming years. To prepare for this shift, the financial services industry is rapidly adapting to serve millennials, increasingly focusing on...

Here’s how to prepare an investment plan for a Trump or Biden presidency

As Appeared on CNBC Every four years, as we approach the U.S. presidential election, we reflect on the wide-ranging implications of each potential outcome. As is always the case, much is at stake during the current cycle, including how best to address the new and old challenges facing our...

Should You File A Protective ACA Refund Claim This Tax Season?

Well, this tax season sure has been different.  Most obviously, it’s been thoroughly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it difficult for taxpayers and their return preparers to access information, assemble and transpose it into formal returns, and, for some, pay the taxes owed.  It got even more unusual when the federal and most state governments extended the traditional April...

Examining Future of Advisory Fees

As appeared in Family Wealth Report Even though stocks have rallied, the sudden and precipitous decline in the equity markets earlier this year caused many registered investment advisors to reevaluate their business models. The disclosure by many advisors that, after only a few weeks of heavy market losses, they...

Your Very Own Rock Band

Some of the most popular video games of all time allow “players” to insert themselves virtually into a legendary rock band, assume the role of a band member, and experience what it’s like to play some of the greatest music of the last 50 years.  It’s quite a thrill...

How We Can Offer Greater And More Differentiated Value To Our Organizations

As Appeared in Chief Executive Magazine As the CEO of a national company that strives to deliver value, I’ve been intrigued by a Harvard Business Review article, “The Elements of Value,” written by Eric Almquist, John Senior, and Nicolas Bloch. In this article, the authors imagine a value pyramid...

Why We DO Need to Get Back in the Office

Listen to Michael's interview with David Yas with the Boston Podcast Network.

Why coronavirus could devastate charities even more than the Great Recession did

As Appeared in MarketWatch Watch an interview with the authors discussing what inspired them to write this article and why it is important to continue supporting organizations with critical missions. The coronavirus pandemic is taking a tremendous human and an economic toll, and it’s also impacting charitable organizations in...

Beware the Long-Term Trend of Social Distancing

By now, your company probably has implemented some form of “social distancing” in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19. In addition to requiring employees to work remotely, companies have moved to virtual meetings, restricting travel, and limiting the number of designated on-site personnel who are necessary to fulfill...

CEOs: Why You Should Be Confident While Others Are Fearful

Everyone knows that CEOs need to be confident, unwavering and strong, right? CEOs have bold visions for the future, and their relentless pursuit of those visions can be so powerful that they almost force their eventual attainment, regardless of whatever may happen along the way. But the world seems...

When the Doctor Is the (Financial) Patient

Virtually all personal-service professions have moved toward specialization — and rightly so. Their clients have different needs and goals; and, to serve them effectively, these differences must be acknowledged and addressed with specificity. People with heart conditions seek out cardiologists. People with tax needs seek out tax accountants. People...

The biggest financial risk that no one wants to talk about

By now, you’ve probably heard just about every variety of prediction for the U.S. economy and financial markets. While those predictions are all over the place, I’m struck by the consistency among prognosticators when it comes to the key risks about which we should be concerned. Along with the headline...

Wall Street Is Taking Over Main Street. Morgan Stanley’s Deal for E*Trade Heats Up the Race

These are for-profit organizations that aren't looking to race to zero, said Michael Nathanson in Barron's. Price competition may be creating incentives for brokers to increase revenue in other areas. 

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Fallacies that Investors Believe in Good Times

As the longest bull market in modern U.S. history just keeps on rolling, have you noticed that many people have become less comfortable talking about their investments?  It’s almost as though the topic of personal investing has joined the ranks of politics and religion at holiday tables.  Remember the...

My Take On The Schwab/TD Ameritrade Merger

While we may not yet have a sense for its magnitude, the year 2019 will likely go down in history as one of the most significant and impactful for the independent advisory industry. It was shaped by four key developments: 1. The SEC’s refusal to impose the fiduciary standard...

The Mathematical Secret of RIA Success

Why are some financial advisory firms more successful than others? Why do some become better over time while others stagnate, eventually fading into oblivion? Is there a single secret of success for these businesses? The answers to these questions are usually complex, feature lists and go something like this:...

The Risk and Impact of Living Longer

As appeared in Financial Advisor Magazine There’s no denying that longevity is increasing in the U.S. and throughout much of the world.  Recent legislation like The SECURE Act, passed on May 23 by the House of Representatitves, is beginning to recognize this trend and the potentially far-reaching implications on...

Alimony May Still Offer a State Tax Deduction

Find out what the new alimony deduction rules are on a state-by-state basis and if they may apply to...

What They’re Not Telling You About Qualified Opportunity Funds

One of today’s hottest tax topics is the relatively new concept of “qualified opportunity zones,” created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) at the end of 2017. Many are feverishly broadcasting the potential tax benefits of investing in “qualified opportunity funds,” and, indeed, these new provisions are...

Can I expect more than financial advice from my financial advisor?

Thirty years ago, the term financial advice commonly referred to a limited subset of services, with an emphasis on investment management. Over the interim years, more advisors expanded to retirement-planning services. And, more recently, demand grew for a more holistic approach to financial advice. What should clients expect from...

Investing for Returns or Investing in ESG Strategies: A False Dichotomy

Clients are asking more than ever of their advisors. Routine conversations around having enough to retire, saving for college, or leaving a financial legacy have become more robust as individuals have come to recognize that these matters have both financial and non-financial impacts on their lives. The emergence of...

Estate Planning: It’s Not Over

As appeared in Financial Advisor Magazine Given the results of last November’s election, a repeal of the federal estate tax is now a distinct possibility faced by an entire generation of people who, only a few months ago, were planning for potential increases to the tax. President Donald Trump...

Are Some Advisors Selectively Applying the Fiduciary Standard?

As seen in Advisors Perspectives The heated nature of the rhetoric surrounding the fiduciary standard has reached a new high, focusing on whether investment advisors should offer certain investment products and how they should be compensated. We contend that firms must also consider whether their succession plans and service...

Law Firm Partners Face The Perfect Storm As They Consider Retirement

As appeared in Financial Advisors Magazine As the world has grown more complex, so too have the opportunities, challenges and conditions that comprise the environment in which we live and interact with one another. A direct consequence of this ever-increasing complexity is the manner in which professional advisory firms—particularly...

Post-Liquidity Events: Planning For Optimized Results

As appeared in Private Wealth It is, of course, most appropriate that financial advisors seek to prepare their clients in advance of a major liquidity event such as the sale of a business, a public offering, or a similar event. An experienced, knowledgeable, and creative advisor can figuratively perform...

When Suitable Advice is Less Than Suitable

Just about everyone who has read this week’s financial headlines must be wondering about all the fuss surrounding the Department of Labor and the “fiduciary” standard being imposed on certain advisors.  What does it all mean, and what specifically does it mean for investors? Well, the basic answer to...

Specializing On Specialists: Financial Planning For Lawyers

As appeared in Financial Advisor Magazine Planning for a person’s financial future without accounting for their individual profession is like planning to perform surgery without first taking the patient’s medical history. Well, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, as the dangers of failure are probably greater for the surgeon and...

A Dose Of Realism

As appeared in PrivateWealth  For many collectors, artwork can be far more than something to enjoy and display for the pleasure of others. It can be a valuable and even important component of a well-diversified investment portfolio. Indeed, in some cases, art collectors can achieve substantial, non-correlated returns if...

What’s on Your Company’s Dashboards?

As is the case in any service industry, the best advisory firms focus their efforts primarily on (1) client service and satisfaction, (2) employee development, utilization, and organization, and (3) the efficient, profitable operation of their businesses in a manner that promotes a sustained pattern of growth in that...

How to create a culture of success at your firm

As appeared in InvestmentNews As wealth advisers, we spend our days elbow deep in portfolio management, estate planning, market analysis and other endeavors important to the financial success — and ultimate satisfaction — of our clients. Yet more goes into building a truly exceptional client experience than an adviser’s...

Get Serious About Recruiting Women Advisors

As appeared in FinancialAdvisorsIQ For a client-centric practice, there is no more critical indicator of future success than the composition of its team. Thus, every advisory firm’s top priority should be acquiring, developing and retaining the best possible people, who in turn can provide the best possible service to...