Corporate Eye

Northern Trust: An Excellent Resource For Investors

Earlier this year Northern Trust took some flak.

No, it wasn’t that they were in deep financial trouble. They got $1.6 billion in TARP funds but they already paid it back. It was during the period that they held these funds that the flak exploded.

It was about golf — specifically their sponsoring of the Northern Trust Open.

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) — U.S. lawmakers are asking companies to repay taxpayer money spent on private jets and other perks after Northern Trust Corp., the Chicago-based custody bank that got $1.6 billion, hosted a golf tournament this month.

This hair trigger served to do one thing — expose the hypocrisy of the U.S Congress (from House Head Pelosi’s government provided jet to exclusive dining rooms and the robust menu of nontaxable benefits, all paid by taxpayers).

Fay Vincent writing in the Wall Street Journal says it best —

This is the age-old story of those in sin throwing the first stones. And they do so without shame because they assume we are so ignorant we will not see them as the hypocrites they are.

Hype put aside, the real story about Northern Trust, in terms of financial matters, is a good one. They were not exposed to subprime loans and they were insulated from the declining U.S. economy since they wisely put 50% of their assets in foreign securities. But wait, there’s more. Take a look at their home page.

A few things to note–see “Stable” prominently displayed so you can’t miss it. A wise attempt to distance themselves from the toxic banks.

More importantly a large section of the page is dedicated to providing financial and economic information. Click on Insights & Research and get even more useful information–

You see extensive Financial and Economic intelligence–

Click on these topics to obtain even more information.

The Financial Glossary is a feature that should be on every financial services website.

Go to Podcasts The personal podcasts are good for casual investors but the institutional topics are a storehouse of information for advanced investors.

Kudos to Northern Trust for offering visitors, even if they are not clients, a source of very valuable economic and financial intelligence.

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Ed Konczal has an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business (with distinction). He has spent the last 10 years as an executive consultant focusing on human resources, leadership, market research, and business planning. Ed has over 10 years of top-level experience from AT&T in the areas of new ventures and business planning. He is co-author of the book "Simple Stories for Leadership Insight," published by University Press of America.