Fisher Investments’ CEO Ken Fisher Puts $600 Million Foot in Mouth

Erik Bernstein crisis management


It is the year 2019.  Anything we say or do can end up being captured live and/or as a recording by virtually anyone around us, and then shared globally.

Apparently Fisher Investments’ CEO Ken Fisher didn’t get the word.  At the Tiburon summit conference this past week, according to CNBC, Fisher compared his wealth management strategy to picking up women for sex, made explicit remarks about genitalia and mentioned Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who was charged with trafficking girls this year before hanging himself in prison.”

In audio obtained by CNBC, Fisher said, explaining why you need to be careful when trying to win new clients, “Money, sex, those are the two most private things for most people. It’s like going up to a girl in a bar…(inaudible)…going up to a woman in a bar and saying, hey I want to talk about what’s in your pants.”

Mic drop.

But wait, there’s more.  When the story broke and there was predictable public backlash, Fisher then pulled a rabbit out of the Donald Trump “What did I do wrong?” bag of tricks and said he had “given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places, and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response.

That’s right.  He admitted to repeatedly demonstrating his status as a misogynist.

The State of Michigan was one of the many unamused parties and pulled $600 million of its pension fund from Fisher Investments.  Others are sure to follow.

Eventually, through a representative, Fisher released a non-apology apology.

Some of the words and phrases I used during a recent conference to make certain points were clearly wrong and I shouldn’t have made them,” he said. “I realize this kind of language has no place in our company or industry. I sincerely apologize.

In other words, he apologized for his language and not for his sexist beliefs.

A line from Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” comes to mind.  “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”

UPDATE: October 22, 2019.   The pain continues for Fisher!   $1.8 billion and counting.



Jonathan Bernstein