As investors push redemptions to over $3 billion in assets, Fisher Investments founder and Chairman Ken Fisher — whose crude remarks at an industry event earlier this month prompted the withdrawals — says that employees at his locations in Camas, Washington and elsewhere need not fear losing their jobs.
“As our town’s largest private sector employer, I want to assure you: none of this will have any measurable impact on any of you,” he said in a column for a Camas paper late Friday. “The firm, overall, is strong, vibrant and continuing to grow despite these stories.”
The investment group had about $114 billion in assets under management as of September — meaning that the loss of $3 billion represents just shy of 3% of total AUM.
Public pension holdings, though, totaled about $11 billion last year; some $2.4 billion of withdrawals have been from these entities — and thus account for a 22% decline in this segment.
In his remarks, Fisher also explained that the firm leads will keep hiring.
“Our headcount will continue to increase. … What is true in Camas is also the case for our facilities in California, Texas, London, Germany, Japan, Australia, Dubai, Ireland and Luxembourg. The past few weeks will not adversely impact our employees or any of the communities in which we are based,” he wrote.
His argument for that growth is based on the fact that only one of the five main client segments — U.S. institutions — “has seen headline-grabbing terminations, which the media has covered extensively.”
Fisher refers to the other “91% of the firm” as growing. “In fact, we have more assets under management today than we did before the headlines began. We have no long-term debt and a strong financial position by any standard. That is the simple truth.”
He also defends the firm’s leadership team, which has seven men and four women, and its all-male investment policy team by stating that 85% of the firm’s employees report to executive vice presidents “who are women, people of color and/or identify as a member of the LGBTQ community.”
As for the overall future of Fisher, the chairman seems upbeat — though he did not directly address rumors of his possible exit from the firm: “I can assure you that the company remains strong and growing. Our future as Camas’ largest private employer is bright.”