Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments made a series of sexist remarks at the Tiburon conference in San Francisco on October 8 and now says he doesn’t understand why people are upset. The event was being held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Ken Fisher, 68, a billionaire with a net worth of close to $4 billion, compared winning clients to “trying to get into a girl’s pants.” None of the videos of the Tiburon conference that were posted on the company’s Facebook page show Fisher’s speech.
Fisher Investments handles over $100 billion in money management for clients. Fisher founded the company in 1979, according to the company’s website. The company boasts of having over 65,000 current private clients who are all “down the path of reaching their financial goals.” Fisher Investments is based in Camas, Washington, just outside of Vancouver. In addition to his investing career, Fisher has been a columnist with Forbes magazine and USA Today, is a regular guest on Fox Business and has written 11 books. Between 2014 and 2019, his company was ranked as the Financial Times’ Top Rated Advisor. Fisher Investments has offices in Ireland, Dubai, the United Kingdom, California, Texas and Germany.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Man Who Recorded the Video of Fisher Making Sexist Remarks Symbolized Why Women Don’t Like Coming to Finance Conferences
You can watch Fisher making some of the controversial remarks here in a video posted by Lake Avenue Financial CEO Alex Chalekian.
At the time of writing, Chalekian’s video has 113,000 views on Twitter. In the clip, Chalekian said that Fisher had also talked about tripping on acid, saying that charities were immoral and recounted hanging out with Jeffrey Epstein. Chalekian went on to say, “They were disgusted by this. Many of the women expressed to me that this is one of the reasons they don’t like coming to these conferences.” Chalekian had set up the clip by saying, “It was a fireside chat with Ken Fisher. It was a true debacle.”
When a commenter on the video challenged the one-sided nature of Chalekian’s video, he responded by saying, “But if it wasn’t so bad, I doubt that the organizers of the conference would have taken the time to stop dinner with over 200 guests and issue an apology for what occurred on stage.”
2. Fisher Said That ‘Most of the Audience Knew What I Was Saying’
In the fallout from the scandal, Fisher told Bloomberg, “I have given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response… Mostly the audience understands what I am saying.”
A person who says they were present at the conference told Dealbreaker, “Ken’s a freak, everyone know he’s a freak. They just also know that he’s worth $4 billion.”
3. In 2018, Fisher Compared Direct Mail Advertising to Propositioning a Woman for Sex
Fisher was quoted in 2018 as comparing companies who brag about their success in direct mail to “walking into a bar and you are a single guy and want to get laid and walking up to some girl and saying: ‘Hey you want to have sex?’ You just turn yourself into a jerk.”
An unnamed investment advisor told Forbes that at a 2018 event he suggested that annuity salespeople should “get laid more.” That unnamed person added, “I’m more concerned with the idea that he feels totally comfortable saying these things in large groups as though no one would be horrified. Or, he just doesn’t care that he’s a misogynist.”
Fisher told Bloomberg that he regretted some of his comments but that he’s an “easy guy to dislike” because he “manages so much money.” Fisher went on to say, “I regret at this moment in time that I said any of the things I said. I regret I accepted that speech invitation because it was kind of a pain in the neck.”
4. Fisher Also Said at the Conference That He Would Abolish All Charities if He Could
Speaking to Bloomberg, Rachel Robasciotti, of Robasciotti & Philipson, said of Fisher’s comments, “I was floored. For me and some of the women sitting nearby we were kind of in shock. We were like: “Wait, did that really just happen?” Later, Robasciotti told Investment News that Fisher had said that if he had his way, he would abolish all of the charities in the world. Robasciotti also said that Fisher bragged about his “loyal, dedicated army” whom he branded on the buttocks with the words, “Fisher Investments.” Robasciotti said, “He was talking about the people who work there in such degrading terms.”
A spokesman for Fisher told Financial Planning, “While I said words he cited I don’t think he heard me correctly and clearly misconstrued my meaning and certainly my intended meaning. Most of his slant is ‘gotcha’ wrong in my view. To the extent he and any others were offended I apologize truly and sincerely.”
Forbes reports that an email sent to Fisher’s employees on October 9 said that the comments featured in the video clip were “out of context.” The email said the video “deliberately mischaracterizes” his words. The email said that the outrage was due to “second-hand inaccurate accounts” and that it was the media who was outraged and not the “hundreds in the crowd.” The email concluded with the words, “Many of you are likely familiar with my sometimes colorful means of expressing myself. I like to say whatever is on my mind. I want to you to know I am sincerely sorry if anything I’ve said in your presence offended you. That certainly was never my intention.”
5. Fisher Lives in Camas, Washington, With His Wife, Sherrilyn
According to his LinkedIn page, Fisher is a graduate of Humboldt University. On that profile, Fisher calls himself as a “self-made billionaire.”
According to Investment News, Fisher Investments is the second-largest registered investment advisor in the country, behind Financial Engines Advisors. Fisher lives in Camas with his wife, Sherilynn. The couple has three children together.