Ken Fisher Taking Out “Women Friendly” Ads As Redemptions Near $4 Billion
It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for him.
Embattled money manager Ken Fisher, who has seen almost $4 billion withdrawn from his firm after making lewd sexual jokes at a financial conference about a month ago, is now “fighting back” by taking out advertisements that feature women, according to Bloomberg.
“You Heard Their Story. Now Hear Ours,” the headline to one of his ads reads. It features 7 female employees at Fisher Investments and statistics that put the company in a favorable light. “Over 800 women strong, with women leading 63% of employees,” the ad reads.
Fisher may feel as though the blowback from his recent comments may not just go away on their own, especially as redemptions and withdrawls from his firm continue. They now total about $3.9 billion.
John Dillard, a Fisher spokesman, said: “Over the past few weeks, numerous women at Fisher Investments expressed their desire to share their stories in reaction to recent, inaccurate media reports. The women in the ad were asked if they wanted to participate, and were eager to do so.”
We bet it was a real tough decision – either participate or let the firm go under and risk losing their jobs.
One testimonial from a VP at Fisher says:
“The stories out there don’t feel like who we are, and if they were, I wouldn’t be here.”
Fisher has also launched a website, which for some reason has a toll free number on it. We wonder if the women are standing by, working the phones, eager to reassure callers of how un-oppressed they are.
Recall, we have been following the sustained outflows from Ken Fisher’s firm over the last few weeks. We recently noted that the firm had seen more than $3 billion in redemptions since Fisher’s comments.
The latest to cut bait was the Employees Retirement System of Texas, who announced last week that it was going to pull $350 million from the asset manager.
Mary Jane Wardlow, a spokeswoman for the pension system, said: “Texas ERS has completed its due diligence. With respect to our fiduciary duty, we are defunding Fisher Investments, which had served as an external manager in the international equities portfolio with $350 million [as of Sept. 30] under management.”
Recall, just days after the $70 billion state of Michigan retirement fund pulled its assets from Fisher Investments, the city of Boston also did the same.
Fisher managed $600 million in retirement funds for Michigan and the state’s exit ends a 15 year relationship with Fisher’s firm.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said at the time: “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.”
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.