Kenneth Fisher, chief executive officer of Fisher Investments. Photographer: Gillianne Tedder/Bloomberg
Billionaire money manager Ken Fisher has come under fire for crass comments he was said to have made Tuesday as part of a closed-door fireside chat in front of financial services executives at San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton Hotel.
In a video that’s amassed nearly 70,000 views within 16 hours of being shared to Twitter on Tuesday night, financial advisor Alex Chalekian called Fisher’s comments, which were made on the second day of an invite-only summit hosted by Tiburon Security Advisors, “absolutely horrifying.”
According to Chalekian in the video, Fisher inappropriately referenced genitalia, Jeffrey Epstein and “tripping on acid.” Wealth manager Rachel Robasciotti attended the event and told Bloomberg that Fisher, a former longtime Forbes columnist, compared building client trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants.”
In the video, Chalekian, the CEO of Pasadena, California-based Lake Avenue Financial, noted that other summit attendees felt the same way he did. “They were disgusted by this,” he said. “Many of the women expressed to me that this is one of the reasons they don’t like coming to these conferences.”
The three-day summit’s lineup of speakers included c-suite executives at financial services firms like Pendo Systems, Dimensional Fund Advisors and NewSpring Capital, among dozens of others.
On Twitter, some users noted hearing similar comments from Fisher when he spoke at another industry event, EBI West, in May 2018.
“At EBI, he called annuity salespeople ‘rat f*ckers’ & when asked what he would do different, said ‘get laid more,’” recounted an investment advisor who attended the 2018 conference and asked to remain anonymous when reached for comment.
“I’m more concerned with the idea that he feels totally comfortable saying these things in large groups as though no one would be horrified. Or, he just doesn’t care that he’s a misogynist.”
Fisher’s Camas, Washington-based independent money management firm ended last year with $94 billion in assets.
Shortly after 7 p.m. ET, a Fisher Investments employee shared with Forbes an email Fisher sent to his firm’s employees on Wednesday evening in response to a request for comment. In it, he wrote:
“A video was recently posted on social media by the owner of small advisory firm that attacked me for my comments at an industry event. The video sparked some media coverage, so I’m writing today to make sure you have the facts. The video takes a few parts of comments I made completely out of context and deliberately mischaracterizes them. It attributes views to me that I neither expressed nor endorsed. As often happens, social media posters seized on these second-hand, inaccurate accounts. The media also reported comments from a couple others (out of hundreds in the crowd) who appear to have felt the same way. I’m confident if you were there you would have understood what I said in context was nothing like what is being currently reported.
“Many of you are likely familiar with my sometimes colorful means of expressing myself. I like to say whatever is on my mind. I want to you to know I am sincerely sorry if anything I’ve said in your presence offended you. That certainly was never my intention.”