Financial news

Goldman latest to dump Ken Fisher after lewd remarks

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Via Financial Times

Goldman Sachs on Friday joined a wave of investors withdrawing assets managed by Fisher Investments following lewd remarks about women made by its founder Ken Fisher, bringing the total removed from the company beyond $2.5bn.

The Wall Street bank’s asset management arm will drop Fisher Investments from its multi-manager global equity fund by the end of the month, according to a Friday filing submitted to the US securities regulator. The fund oversees $425m, according to Morningstar, across 10 external fund managers.

Fisher Investments manages emerging markets stocks for the Goldman fund but the precise size of the mandate is unknown. Goldman declined to comment, as did Fisher Investments.

The redemptions came after Mr Fisher drew crude parallels between winning asset management clients and sex, and made inappropriate comments about women at a private investment conference this month.

Goldman Sachs is the latest of its influential institutional clients to claw back assets from Fisher Investments, joining US state and city government pension funds and Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest fund managers with $2.5tn in assets.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Police and Fire pension fund announced it would remove a $522m investment mandate from Mr Fisher’s Cabas, Washington-based firm. The fund had requested Mr Fisher attend an investment committee meeting via a video conference but he did not appear, according to the pension.

Michigan’s state employees’ pension fund dropped Fisher Investments from a $600m mandate, while Iowa’s state fund pension has cut the firm from a $386m investment deal. Boston’s city pension has taken back $248m and Philadelphia’s city pension pulled $54m.

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The total withdrawn so far from Fisher Investments represents a small portion of the $112bn the company managed at the end of June, but marks a growing chunk of the $11bn it oversees for government funds, which account for a third of the fund manager’s overall assets. In total, Fisher manages roughly a third of its total assets for institutional investors with the remaining assets representing retail investors, according to regulatory filings.

Mr Fisher’s comments come as the MeToo movement casts a spotlight on sexual harassment and sexist attitudes in the workplace.

His remarks showed “a profound lack of judgment” and “run counter to our values”, Martin Walsh, the mayor of Boston, said in a memo to the pension’s board members when it fired the fund manager. The comments “have damaged the credibility of the firm and its leadership” a spokeswoman from Iowa’s state pension said.

Last week Mr Fisher said through a spokesperson: “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.”

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