Just days after a $70 billion retirement fund pulled its assets from Fisher Investments, the city of Boston is following suit, pulling $248 million in pension funds from the asset manager, according to Bloomberg.
Mayor Martin Walsh said:
“Boston will not invest in companies led by people who treat women like commodities. Reports of Ken Fisher’s comments and poor judgment are incredibly disturbing.”
Days ago we reported that the state of Michigan pension fund had ended its relationship with Fisher’s fund. Fisher managed $600 million in retirement funds for Michigan and the state’s exit ends a 15 year relationship with Fisher’s firm.
Michigan’s chief investment officer, Jon Braeutigam, notified the state investment board of the termination on October 10. In his letter, he said that Fisher’s comments were “unacceptable” and that although employees at his fund hadn’t witnessed similar comments, “history does not outweigh the inappropriateness of the comments.”
Fisher was managing about $10.9 billion on behalf of 36 state or municipal government entities at the end of 2018, down from $13.2 billion at the end of 2017. That number will likely be sizeably lower at the end of 2019.
And as we stated days ago, the blowback may not be over: it was about a week ago that we reported that other clients of Fisher’s were “reevaluating” their relationship with the firm after the manager’s sex jokes at a financial conference.
Shawna Lode, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, had said late last week: “Fisher’s remarks are obviously concerning. Although our investment management contracts do not include a conduct policy, we hold our partners to the highest standards and reserve the right to amend or sever any contract at our discretion.”
Maxwell Rule, chief financial officer of Hames, a company who has their 401(k) managed by Fisher, said last week: “It certainly taints their reputation. I wouldn’t comment at this point whether this would lead us to take our business elsewhere, but I will certainly have a conversation with the ownership regarding that. As a fiduciary I have an obligation to have that conversation.”
About two weeks ago we reported that at a conference in San Francisco, Fisher – whose firm manages more than $100 billion – shocked attendees when he compared gaining a client’s trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants.” Fisher also said at the same conference that executives who were “not comfortable talking about genitalia should not be in the financial industry.”