Since 2016, 125 individuals have filed grievances about Fisher Investments and its aggressive sales methods with the Federal Trade Commission, according to a recent Bloomberg report. The firm’s tactics include marketing phone calls, spam emails and even impersonations of supposed friends, co-workers and government officials.
“I have emailed them as well and asked them to stop. It just seems to get worse,” one would-be client wrote to the FTC, the news report said. “It is way beyond harassment,” said another. Seven complaints were categorized by the FTC as “calls pretending to be government, businesses or family and friend.”
The investment firm — founded and led by Ken Fisher, who recently made crude remarks at an industry conference — is currently in the hot seat, with some $3.9 billion in client redemptions over the past few weeks.
While Vanguard, Fidelity and Charles Schwab had more complaints than Fisher’s firm, Bloomberg says, these three firms manage trillions in client assets versus Fisher’s $115 billion.
In an interview with ThinkAdvisor before he made the lewd comments, Fisher said the firm spends 6% of revenue on marketing and advertising each year. The firm’s 12-month sales were reported to be about about $1 billion as of February 2019 — which means an estimated marketing budget of $60 million.
On Friday, the firm dipped into that budget and ran full-page ads in The New York Times, THe Wall Street Journal and The Dallas Morning News, showcasing women who work for the firm; several PR consultants said the approach is unlikely to help its image or stem the loss of assets.
Could FTC Take Action?
Fisher Investments has not received communications from the FTC regarding do-not-call or other cases, the report adds.