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Ken Fisher-Dominated Stock ETNs See $3.5B Withdrawals

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Bloomberg chart of FLGE ETF flows

The investment firm owned by the money manager Ken Fisher appeared last week to pull a record amount of cash out of three ETNs in which it’s the largest holder.

Roughly $1.4 billion was yanked out of the Credit Suisse FI Large Cap Growth Enhanced ETN, ticker FLGE, a fund that uses leverage to deliver twice the return of the Russell 1000 Growth Total Return Index.

Two different large-cap, leveraged exchange-traded notes in which Fisher is the biggest investor also saw record outflows this week.

While it’s impossible to know for sure who withdrew the assets, Fisher is the only firm that had reported stakes of that size in the funds.

The outflow coincided with a sweeping market rotation from large-cap shares into value-oriented stocks, but it’s more likely that the money was yanked as part of more general portfolio management, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

“Given all the money is via Fisher itself, I suspect it was to deal with client outflows or lessen the leverage of their clients’ portfolios,” said Eric Balchunas, an exchange-traded fund analyst at BI.

“These ETNs are essentially instruments used by Fisher to add a little bit of leverage to client portfolios,” he added.

John Dillard, a senior vice president at the $121 billion asset management firm, declined to comment.

Fisher Investments saw clients including Fidelity Investments and Goldman Sachs Group withdraw almost $4 billion from the company one month last year after lewd comments the firm’s founder made at a conference — such as comparing wooing clients to “trying to get into a girl’s pants.”

Fisher said his words had been taken out of context.

Fisher ETN Moves

After plummeting amid the coronavirus-fueled sell-off, FLGE has soared 85% since a trough on March 23. Still, the ETN is nursing losses of roughly 1.4% for 2020, while its benchmark has gained 4.2%.

FLGE saw two block trades of 2 million shares a piece hit the tape on Tuesday just before 5 p.m. in New York, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The Goldman Sachs Finance Large Cap Growth Index-Linked ETN, ticker FRLG, saw a $1.3 billion withdrawal on Thursday, while more than $800 million exited from the UBS FI Enhanced Large Cap Growth ETN, ticker FBGX, last week.

The size of the trades suggests that it was Fisher Investments withdrawing money, according to WallachBeth Capital.

“The only person who holds that much is Fisher,” said Mohit Bajaj, WallachBeth’s director of ETFs.

See What Advisors Think of Ken Fisher’s Comments 

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