Ken Fisher Calls ‘New Normal’ Concept ‘Idiotic’

Comment puts him at odds with PIMCO CEO El-Erian, who coined the term

Bucking high-profile fund managers and their supporters, Ken Fisher said the next decade will be as good for investors as the 1990s.  At the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney, Australia, the founder and chief executive officer of Fisher Investments dismissed the widely held belief that developed countries face below-average growth.

According to Bloomberg, Fisher said the concept of a “new normal” is “idiotic,” pitting him against money managers, including Mohamed El-Erian, the CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co., who coined the term to describe a world of high unemployment, more regulation, and the shrinking importance of the U.S. in the global economy.

“We are chimpanzees with no memory,” Fisher said at the conference. “The next 10 years are going to be just as good as the 1990s. The problems in this current environment we think are so different, and so new and so unique. It’s the same stupid old normal we’ve always had. We’ve got a great future.”

According to Bloomberg, Fisher said any revaluation of China’s currency against the dollar is unlikely to have a long-term effect on investors.

Skepticism and pessimism are normal sentiments for investors 18 months after the bottom of a bear market, according to Fisher, who said in July 2007 that the global credit crunch was “just all minor volatility” and “just fears of much ado about nothing.”

PIMCO, based in Newport Beach, Calif., used the phrase “new normal” last year, forecasting an extended period of lower-than-average economic growth. Bond and equity strategists, bankers and economists adopted the term as concerns grew about Europe’s debt crisis and the strength of the global recovery.

“We can quibble about details, but right now, we’ve got the world snarky, skeptical, pessimistic, which is normal a year and a half after the bottom of a big bear market,” said Fisher. “It’s what we always get.”

According to Bloomberg, Fisher said in October 2008 that U.S. stocks were close to the bottom. The S&P 500 fell about 30% from October 2008 to a 12-year low in March 2009.

He oversees $35 billion from Woodside, Calif.

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