Ken Fisher

Ken Fisher

Founder and executive chairman, Fisher Investments

“I started a practice, then turned it into a business,” said Ken Fisher, founder and executive chairman of Fisher Investments. “The practice [mindset] makes you a slave. You’re dependent on your own labor and a few employees.”

His business, one of the largest RIAs in the world, has grown over the past 37 years to manage about $71 billion in assets for institutions and 37,000 high-net-worth clients around the world.

Mr. Fisher, 66, a popular author and long-running Forbes columnist, is an out-of-the-box thinker responsible for some notable innovations. He introduced the world to the price-to-sales ratio, which helps investors find undervalued stocks, in his 1984 book “Super Stocks.” He also built a thriving business using direct mail to market to high-net-worth clients.

As a young man, he had an “aha” moment when he met the very successful John Templeton, who inspired Mr. Fisher to build up his own business.

“My [practice] revenue was down, so I decided, ‘Now I’ll hire some people to sell and I’ll learn how to delegate,’” he said. “I learned that a successful founder-CEO is a ‘quitter,’” or delegator.

Mr. Fisher’s father, a successful investment professional, was a strong influence on his thinking.

“My father was a very weird and wonderful man,” he said. “He was an extreme introvert. He said stuff that made me think, things that were different, such as, ‘It doesn’t really matter where you go to school, just get an education and be yourself.’ He had a unique ability to be a mirror to see inside yourself.”

– Deborah Nason