Michael J. Nathanson, JD, LLM

Chief Executive Officer, Chair

Boston, MA | Naples, FL | Wellesley, MA
Focus Areas

Media Spokesperson
Author
Inspirational Leader
Industry Leader
Coaching

Recognitions

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)

Community

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, Chair 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

The tax gap is a real problem but so, too, is the ‘reverse tax gap’

As our elected officials debate how best to address a national debt approaching $30 trillion while simultaneously increasing spending levels and addressing wealth inequality, it should not be surprising...

Leading RIA Adds Array of Life-Enrichment Services

As appeared in Rethinking65. When The Colony Group, a Boston-based national financial advisory, wealth and business management firm with more than $13 billion in regulatory assets under management recently...

How Executives And Entrepreneurs Can Achieve Financial Peace Of Mind

Last week, three of the book’s 11 authors—Jeffrey T. Craig, senior wealth advisor for The Colony Group, Nadine Gordon Lee, president of The Colony Group Family Office and managing director of The Colony Group’s Metro NY Offices, and Michael J. Nathanson, chief executive officer and chair of The Colony Group—sat down with Worth to discuss the importance of goals-based financial planning, how to achieve financial peace of mind and why reaching financial independence can be even more complicated for business executives and entrepreneurs.

It’s Time To Peel Off The Labels Of Our Past

As appeared in Chief Executive. I applaud the efforts of organizational leaders who take well-considered steps to promote the core values of respect and inclusiveness. But can we agree...

A World of Higher Capital Gains Rates

As appeared in Financial Advisor Magazine. We have known for some time that the Biden administration and its allies in Congress want to raise capital gains taxes on high...

Evolving Beyond Being ‘The Leader’ To Real Leadership

As appeared in Chief Executive. Within the field of organizational studies, it seems well-settled that there is a difference between being a “manager” and a “leader.” Equally well-settled is...

The Enterprise Game: Why Some Service Organizations Evolve And Some Don’t

As appeared in Chief Executive.  For many years, I have been thinking, talking and writing about the evolutionary path of service organizations. By “service organizations,” I mean organizations that...

Bouncing Back from Adversity

Life can be unpredictable, so how can a CEO cultivate resilience in an organization? "Every life event that happens to us is an invitation to ask if we are able to adapt ourselves and evolve," said Michael Nathanson in his interview on All Things Work podcast.

Biden’s Capital-Gains Tax Plan Would Upend Estate Planning by the Wealthy

"Donating appreciated assets to charity could become an increasingly appealing way of minimizing a tax bite," said Michael Nathanson, in his WSJ interview — 'Biden’s Capital-Gains Tax Plan Would Upend Estate Planning by the Wealthy.'

In A Year Like No Other, Advisors Race To Keep Pace With New Business Trends

"This was unlike anything we've experienced before," said Michael Nathanson. ""It was a one-in-100-year event." Even so, Nathanson added that they were able to adapt somewhat seamlessly to working in a remote environment.

Eight Traits Extraordinary Leaders Have In Common

As appeared in Chief Executive. I’ve always been interested in the growing convergence between individuals and their businesses. One particular trend in this growing intersection is a type of...

A Realistic Version Of A ‘Culture Of Abundance’

As appeared in Chief Executive. It’s a buzzword that pops up in hundreds, if not thousands, of articles, speeches, and books: “culture of abundance.”  But what exactly is it?...

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...

Webinar Recording – Caution: Tax Changes Ahead

The Biden Administration has proposed sweeping changes to the tax code that could affect your taxes in many areas, including personal income, employment, estate, gift, and corporate taxes. With...

8 Steps to Greater Accountability

As appeared in Chief Executive. Behind the buzzword is a basic human value—one that can’t necessarily be incentivized through traditional reward but can be cultivated as part of a...

Wealth Talk: New Approaches to Client Segmentation

How does The Colony Group approach segmenting clients? Michael Nathanson shares how prioritizing clients' needs and delivering differentiated services is the right approach for them.

Yet Another Hazard to Avoid: Unexpected State Taxes

As appeared in Financial Advisor Magazine. While the year 2020 will be remembered primarily for the Covid-19 pandemic, social and racial injustices, and political division, it also will be...

How to Turn a Performance Dashboard into a Crystal Ball

As appeared in Chief Executive Magazine.  Several years ago, I wrote an article called “What’s on Your Company’s Dashboards?”  At the time, I had been thinking quite a bit...

Private Foundation, Donor Advised Fund, Other? Know Your Options to Maximize the Impact and Fulfillment of Your Charitable Giving

As appeared in WealthManagement.com. With many charities struggling to raise funds and meet expanding demand during the pandemic, philanthropy, a term that literally means “love of humankind,” has become...

The Iconoclastic Career of Michael Nathanson

Read Michael Nathanson's fascinating cover story featuring his "iconoclastic career as a change agent.'

A Little Secret to Being Happier at Work

As Appeared in Thrive Global On average, I work about 56 hours per week.  Coincidentally, I also sleep (or try to sleep) about 56 hours each week, leaving me...

Bringing Lifelong Learning To Your Organization

As appeared in Chief Executive  The world is too complex and too large for anyone to understand all its wonders. But if we are willing to settle for a...

Colony Group’s ‘Peace of Mind’ Services Arrive Just in Time

“To make it simple, clients wanted emotional wellness, physical wellness and financial wellness” and to focus on “helping their families live better lives and happier lives,” says Michael Nathanson.

Should you plan for higher taxes now? Yes, say tax professionals.

With the election just around the corner, we thought it would be helpful to alert you to some of the tax planning ideas we are currently considering for clients....

Barron’s Advisor

“Evolution is the key word,” says Michael Nathanson as he talks about the future of financial advice and The Colony Group's Curated by Colony platform on The Way Forward podcast.

‘The entire community will suffer’ — Breast cancer nonprofits feel the effects of Covid-19

“We’ll find a cure faster with the help of the nonprofit community,” says Michael Nathanson regarding the devastating effects that nonprofits and grassroots organizations are feeling due to the pandemic.

Seize the Moment on Holistic Advice

As appeared in Barron’s. I recently did an internet search for the “evolution of advice.”  The results were telling.  Most of them related to technological advances and the growing...

A Distinctly American Corporate Culture

As Appeared in Chief Executive As a CEO who spends countless hours studying, nurturing and yes, obsessing, over every nuance of our company’s culture, I was intrigued when I...

Methods of Motivation

As appeared in Financial Advisor  Employers need good employee incentive plans so that the interests of their firms and companies are aligned with the needs and wants of their key...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

Navigating The New Reg BI World

Regulation Best Interest or Reg BI may add more confusion for consumers of financial advice. Michael Nathanson unpacks the important details that consumers need to know in his article.

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...

Seeing Your Company (And Yourself) In 2020

In Michael Nathanson's latest Chief Executive magazine article, he challenges the leadership of companies to reflect on their own code of ethics during these tumultuous times by asking themselves some tough, yet revealing questions. How will you and your company respond to your answers?

They Are All Perfect: Why We Need to Celebrate Our Imperfections

How can an organization take advantage of their differences to improve their future survival and success? Michael Nathanson shares how embracing imperfections can create a stronger, happier culture.

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...

Stimulus 4.0 needs to kick off a real, sustainable recovery. Here’s how to make it happen

What could the next stimulus package look like if it's designed to stimulate the economy? Michael Nathanson, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of The Colony Group, lays out a more sustainable approach to stimulate hiring, investment, and spending using targeted tax policy in his Fox Business article.

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...

How To Avoid Making The Blow Of A Pay Cut Even Worse

Lawyers are not immune to pay cuts during this pandemic. Michael Nathanson, CEO of The Colony Group, shares what you should and should not do to adapt to your new normal if your income has been cut.

According to Matt Ilteris, Senior Wealth Adviser of The Colony Group, not only is withdrawing from a retirement account a bad move but refraining from reducing deposits to such accounts may be in a lawyer's best interest if they're able to do so.

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...

One Title That’s Not on My List of Favorite Business Books

In the midst of a pandemic, you might have more time to read. Michael Nathanson shares his top 20 business books and why one popular book didn't make his list.

Why We DO Need to Get Back in the Office

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

The Top Questions Investment Advisors Are Getting Asked Right Now

Dawn Doebler and Michael Nathanson share the top questions clients are asking right now via Worth Media.

25 Best Books to Read During Coronavirus Lockdown, According to Business Leaders

Business leaders tell Worth Media what books they're reading while in quarantine. Guess what book Michael Nathanson is recommending for business owners.

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...

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...

Business books advisors are turning to amid the coronavirus crisis

Great books to help inspire during challenging times. Michael Nathanson shared his choice with Financial Planning magazine.

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...

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...

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. 

Top Advisors Weigh In: Zero Commissions Now. New Fees Later?

“In short, it’s had little short-term effect on us, but it has further inspired us to innovate at the fastest rate in our 34-year history,” said Michael Nathanson about zero commissions of online brokerages. 

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

Why Corporate Executives Need Specialized Financial Planning

As Appeared in Advisor Perspectives. As financial planning evolves from a practice into a science, there is growing recognition that its main subject matter – people – is a...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 —...

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...