A week after advisor Ken Fisher made crude remarks at an industry event, Fidelity Investments is taking him to task and reviewing its relationship with the firm, which manages about $500 million of its assets, according to a report.
The news comes about four days after Michigan’s pension fund said it would pull $600 million in assets from Fisher Investments.
“We are very concerned about the highly inappropriate comments by Kenneth Fisher. The views he expressed do not align in any way with our company’s values,” Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio told Bloomberg. “We do not tolerate these types of comments at our company and Fidelity Strategic Advisers is reviewing this relationship.”
Fidelity Strategic Advisers oversees managed accounts and lists Fisher as a sub-advisor for its $8 billion Small-Mid Cap Fund.
Meanwhile, the state of Florida’s pension fund is also looking at its relationship with Fisher Investments. The pension fund has “about $175 million with Fisher,” according to a Bloomberg report that cited spokesman John Kuczwanski.
The Florida State Board of Administration’s policies “require our employees and service providers to foster positive business and personal practices designed to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity,” Kuczwanski said in a statement Tuesday.
Plus, the Philadelphia Board of Pensions said it decided Thursday to divest $54 million held with Fisher Investments to “protect the assets of the fund from the consequences of Mr. Fisher’s inappropriate comments,” the news report added.
On Friday, Michigan Chief Investment Officer Jon Braeutigam said in a letter obtained by multiple news publications: “All were in unanimous agreement that prompt termination is the correct course of action. There is no excuse to not treat everyone with dignity and respect. We have high expectations of our managers (and staff), not just with regards to returns but also in how they exhibit integrity and respect to all individuals.”
Also in the letter, Braeutigam said that while Fisher Investments’ “performance has been good (beating the S&P 1500). …, this history does not outweigh the inappropriateness of the comments made by the founder.”
Fisher made his lewd comments at the Tiburon CEO Summit on Tuesday. The following day attendee and advisor Alex Chalekian posted a video on Twitter criticizing the remarks; it has nearly 139,000 views.
Afterward, Fisher questioned the negative attention his comments were receiving, before apologizing. He has been barred from future events organized by Tiburon Strategic Advisors.
Early Friday, Cambridge Investment Research President and CEO Amy Webber said she believed there should be a code of conduct at industry events. Others members of the industry explained that the industry should use this situation as an opportunity for change that can bring more women, younger individuals and others to its ranks.