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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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Fisher Investments Launches Diversity Task Force

FYI: (This is a follow-up article.)

Fisher Investments is launching a diversity and inclusion task force in the wake of crude comments made earlier this week at an industry conference by company founder Ken Fisher, according to internal memos obtained by InvestmentNews.

The documents, which were delivered to the more than 4,000 employees of the $110 billion RIA, included an apology to employees by Mr. Fisher as well as comments from chief executive Damian Ornani reiterating that, "Ken's comments were wrong."


  • edited October 2019
    There is no relationship between money and power and ethics and morality. Put more simply: Poor people can be alpha-dog jerks similar to Fisher or incredibly sensitive, considerate, ethical, generous and open-minded individuals. Likewise, the very rich can exemplify these fine qualities - or conversely can be antithetical to everything most of us stand for.

    We can all point to examples of rich and powerful individuals on both sides of the “decency spectrum” - likely because many attain celebrity status - while the loud jerk who lives down the block, chases kids out of his yard, curses / insults your family members behind their back or runs you off the road while in a hurry to get nowhere doesn’t normally make it onto the pages of Forbes. Wouldn’t sell many copies or elicit the same number of clicks.

    I really thought the earlier Forbes exposé was yet another poor post by @Ted - and avoided commenting at the time. However, I recognized that many good contributors found it worth their time. It’s the sensationalized story of a powerful and wealthy financial figure who has gone “rogue” and openly / flagrantly violated our standards of decency and personal conduct. Worthy of condemnation, but hardly the type of financial question MFO is dedicated to pursuing. Yes - people of this deplorable nature exist. They can be found in most professions including sports, entertainment, politics, and business. But why waste time and energy excoriating them in this forum devoted to helping average investors make sound financial decisions?

    If there’s any lesson here, I think it provides one more good reason to avoid the “strong man” cult of individual leadership and stick with long-standing highly respected organizations in investing. This means going with a sound long-proven firm like VG, D&C or TRP. I’d venture to guess that jerks of the Fisher variety have from time to time made it into their ranks, but that their tenure was short-lived once they showed their true stripes.
  • Another spin on sin investments. Some people would claim that it makes no difference if Fisher is a misogynist, a racist or even a white supremacist, if he is a brilliant investor.

    This is a little different than a similar person running a company you want to invest in.

    Behavior and comments like this usually do hurt the performance of a company ( ie UBER WEWORK) but I am not sure it will make a lot of difference to Fisher's client's returns, as most of them are separate accounts, as I understand his investment process. Consequently if he looses 10% of AUM in a week it will have less of an impact on the stocks in other's portfolios as only those accounts will be liquidated. If FIsher holds a large % of some individual position it might matter.

    I have never wanted to invest with someone whose ego is so domineering and who presents what seem to be schemes that no one else has thought of. Nor have I wanted to contribute, even in a small way, to the self aggrandizement and massive fortune of such an egotist.

    But that is my personal opinion and some other people who have sent him 1000 Billion Dollars obviously feel different.

    It would be interesting to see what others think, especially people who have used his firm in the past.
  • edited October 2019
    This thread was posted over a year before the scandal with Fisher broke:
    The thing is Fisher’s public investment vehicles didn’t have great returns and were liquidated as a result. And I don’t buy there are bad people in every strata of society argument. Yes there are plenty of “bad” poor people, but they have environmental conditions that tend to make people bitter and mean. What’s Fisher’s excuse? People who are born wealthy are supposed to behave better. In fact, that’s where the whole concept of the refined and gracious gentleman in Europe comes from. Noblesse oblige doesn’t really exist in the U.S.
  • Most notably at the presidential level.

  • Too late.
  • edited October 2019
    LOL - Those are great posts / discussions about Fisher @LewisBraham linked.

    I recall 20 or more years ago a good friend commented to me he had been receiving “invitations” in the mail to invest with Fisher. At the time we both deemed it something of a compliment to have reached the point where Fisher was willing to consider you as a potential client.

    Fortunately, the friend didn’t invest with him. And I didn’t have enough $$ back than to have made an an attractive “catch”. (sucker variety.)

    Edit / Added:

    “People who are born wealthy are supposed to behave better. In fact, that’s where the whole concept of the refined and gracious gentleman in Europe comes from.”

    That’s an interesting concept and very much at the heart of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Geographically, the “born rich” and “newly rich” are situated opposite one another on opposing points of land jutting into Long Island Sound. The “born rich” of East Egg, exemplified by the Buchanans, live a more sedate refined life style, their days occupied by afternoon tea, polo, horse back riding, and discrete “affairs” cloaked in secrecy. From Daisy Buchanan: “Sophisticated. God I’m sophisticated!” Across the bay on West Egg stands Gatsby’s newly acquired palace of extravagance and decadence with its drunken nightly celebrations of debauchery and indifference to the norms of civilized society.

    I think there’s a shred of truth to Fitzgerald’s observation that those born rich tend to be more “sophisticated” (and less crude) than those who have more recently fallen into wealth. I haven’t missed that Lewis’ point pertains more to European tradition. Just musing here that some of that viewpoint is reflected (perhaps in distorted fashion) by an American writer.
  • edited October 2019
    No question there are differences between nouveau riche folks and old money, but that is not the case with Ken Fisher. He is the son of a legendary, and I might add, much better investor Philip A. Fisher:
    The question again is, what's his excuse? And when I think of old European money, of course there are hypocrisies and an undercurrent of brutality there, but at least a tradition of educating children and teaching them manners and to be charitable to the poor. It is of course a fiction that characters like, say Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey or Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice ever existed, but the idea of the gentleman squire who has an admittedly patronizing but paternalistic concern for his fellow less fortunate human beings was one of the few things I imagine that made such ossified wealth bearable in the old country. When the ultra-rich behave as disgustingly as the worst of everybody else, the whole notion that they in any way deserve their wealth falls apart.
  • edited October 2019
    Thanks @LewisBraham. Always value your insights. I admire a lot of things British.

    Without waxing too political (I hope), it will be interesting to see how the different British Parliamentary system of government and the U.S. Representative Democracy / Separation of Powers system deal with their respective heads of state, both of whom bear some similarities in terms of “executive over-reach”.

    A lot has been made of the fact that Britain doesn’t have a written constitution. Of course that misses the point that their constitution is based on laws, court rulings, precedent, and to some extent public acceptance. And, when you get right down to it, so is ours.

    (Apologies for straying folks. It won’t happen again.)
  • @hank and I, and maybe other MI residents receiving retirement benefits from our state, will now have about $600M of the pension fund administered in house. I have no idea if Fisher's company did well for us or not (see Lewis' comment above about performance) nor will I be able to assess how the new managers will do with that chunk of change.
  • Fisher, not unlike other active equity managers, has struggled mightily on a relative basis across its laundry list of product offerings.
  • edited October 2019
    Say what? As in "headline"? If so, which one?
  • edited October 2019
    Fisher Investments Launches Diversity Task Force
  • edited October 2019
    'It's exactly like getting in a girl's pants', said financial guru Ken Fisher of client relationship-building ...

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