Published On: Thu, Oct 17th, 2019

Billionaire Ken Fisher’s Firm Loses Nearly $1 Billion After Crass Remarks—And Much More Is On The Line

Billionaire Ken Fisher’s money management firm has been fired by three clients, representing over $900 million in client assets, since the CEO’s crass remarks at an exclusive industry conference on October 8.

The City of Boston’s retirement board is the latest to say it is ending its relationship with Fisher Investments after a unanimous vote on Wednesday resulted in Fisher losing the $253 million it managed for the city’s pension fund.

“Boston will not invest in companies led by people who treat women like commodities,” a spokesperson for the City of Boston told Reuters ahead of the decision to pull the money. “Reports of Ken Fisher’s comments and poor judgment are incredibly disturbing, and I have asked our retirement board to take a vote to end any relationship with Fisher Investments.”

The $75 billion in assets State of Michigan Retirement Systems was the first to drop Fisher following his offensive remarks, which compared gaining client trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants.”

Michigan’s chief investment officer issued a statement on Thursday, October 10, saying the state was terminating its relationship with Fisher Investments. The firm, which ended last year with $94 billion in assets, managed about $600 million for Michigan’s pension fund.

Fisher Investments shed another $50 million soon after, when Philadelphia’s pension board said the same day that it was also withdrawing its assets from the firm.

Fisher, a longtime Forbes columnist, issued a statement last Thursday. “Some of the words and phrases I used during a recent conference to make certain points were clearly wrong and I shouldn’t have made them,” he said. “I realize this kind of language has no place in our company or industry. I sincerely apologize.”

Several other clients, representing more than $1 billion in additional assets managed by Fisher Investments, have since condemned Fisher’s comments and said they’re reviewing their relationships with the firm.

Among those is Fidelity Investments. The firm said Tuesday it’s conducting a review of its relationship with Fisher, which is a subadvisor managing approximately $500 million within Fidelity’s Strategic Advisers Small-Mid Cap Fund.

“We are very concerned about the highly inappropriate comments by Kenneth Fisher,” said Fidelity spokesperson Vincent Loporchio in an emailed statement on Tuesday. “We do not tolerate these types of comments at our company.”

The Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System and Florida’s pension system, which hold about $500 million and $175 million in assets with Fisher, respectively, have also responded similarly.

A spokesman for Fisher Investments did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

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