Fisher Investments’ inflows and stock market recorded gains despite recent client losses due to lewd and sexist remarks by the company’s founder Ken Fisher. The controversy over the lewd remarks by the billionaire asset manager has not stopped investors from investing more money in a company that carries his name. According to reports by Camas, a group based in Washington, by the end of October, assets managed by Fisher Investments rose to a record high of $11 billion despite the ongoing controversy.
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The Fisher Controversy
It all started on October 8 after Mr. Fisher made offensive comments at an investment conference and sparked a storm that led to close withdrawals valued at approximately $4 billion. A few US public pension plans even stated that they would cut all ties with Fisher Investments. Goldman Sachs even went ahead to terminate all contracts Fisher had been managing using their funds.
The offensive comments were said at an investment conference on October 8 where Mr. Fisher compared the practice of wooing rich and high-value clients to “trying to get into a girl’s pants”. The analogy was not taken kindly by some of the investors and led to major withdrawals. However, the highly publicized client withdrawals seem to have had little effect and were outweighed by inflows.
Possible Reasons For Fisher Investments Recent Gain
Fisher Investments’ assets have even climbed from around $110 billion that the firm managed on October 8. Speaking to the Financial Times, Fisher’s Senior Vice President, John Dillard, said the rise is a reflection of the “net inflows of new client assets” and increased asset value market.
According to Dillard, net inflows from institutional investors, retirement savings or 401(k) plan sponsors, and private clients in the last few weeks amounted to $3 billion. He further stated that the withdrawals were outweighed by the US Stock Market’s double digit gain, which recently hit a new record. Mr. Dillard also attributed the rise in Fisher Investments’ assets to the trust existing and new clients have in the firm. He says the firm is on track and expects to increase assets under their management by the end of November.
About Fisher Investments
Fisher Investments was established in 1979 by Mr. ken Fisher, who built the investment company into a key player in the asset management industry and skyrocketed his personal net worth. According to Forbes magazine, Mr. Fisher has a personal net worth of $4.2 billion. Fisher Investments seems unstoppable in its growth. By the end of 2018, the company was managing assets worth over $94 billion. Around one-third of the funds under the firm’s management come from institutional investors including government pension funds, foundations, and private endowments. However, the bulk of the funds come from individual investors.
A senior director at CFRA’s ETF and Mutual Fund Research, Todd Rosenbluth, attributed the new inflows in Fisher Investments to the fact that most investors place more value in stock market performance than anything else. In what can only be seen as damage control, Fisher has in recent weeks ran advertising campaigns showcasing female managers and employees. They even ran a full page advertisement with the headline: You Heard Their Story Now Hear Ours in which they featured 7 female members of their staff and stated that 63% of their staff was under a female manager.
Mr. Fisher had a regular column in the Financial Times which came to a sudden end after story about his sexist comments emerged. In defense of his boss, Mr. Dillard said that Mr. Fisher’s remarks were largely mischaracterized as he only meant to compare the overly salesy approach of asset managers to inappropriate lewd methods some people use to get into a woman’s pants at a bar. Mr. Fisher has since offered an apology for the words he used to make the comparison.