Ken Fisher's son defends his father on LinkedIn

Nathan Fisher said his dad is 'wired differently' but meant no harm with off-color comments

Oct 17, 2019 @ 1:40 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

Ken Fisher, the embattled chairman and founder of Fisher Investments, is getting public support from his son, Nathan Fisher, who posted a statement on LinkedIn Wednesday trying to put some context around his father's well-documented crude comments from last week.

The younger Mr. Fisher, who is identified on the Fisher Investments website as founder and senior executive vice president of Fisher Investments 401(k) Solutions, posted the following on LinkedIn:

"My father, Ken Fisher, made comments in a recent talk that some have interpreted as sexist, racist, or bigoted. Anyone who knows him personally will agree that he is not even close to any of these things. He is a good person and has apologized for his comments. It saddens me to see him attacked and labeled in these ways. My father's brain is wired differently from most people's, and that is part of why he's been successful at what he does. However, this also means he relates to people differently and doesn't always interpret social cues in conventional ways. As he has tried to understand how people felt about his comments, I hope others can try to understand that he didn't mean any harm and has learned from what happened."

The post, which had received 46 comments by Thursday morning, was seemingly aimed at repairing the reputational damage to Ken Fisher and the $110 billion registered investment advisory firm that has already lost nearly $1 billion worth of business in the fallout from comments made during the Tiburon CEO Summit.

Ken Fisher, who initially downplayed his comments at the summit, which included sexually explicit and crude jokes in front of an exclusive audience of more than 200 industry executives, has since issued formal apologies to employees and clients of the company.

Internal memos obtained last week by InvestmentNews show the company's chief executive Damian Ornani reiterating that, "Ken's comments were wrong," and introducing a diversity and inclusion task force.

[Recommended video: John Rogers on why the advice industry lacks diversity]

Meanwhile, the list of clients distancing themselves from Fisher Investments continues to grow.

Fidelity Investments, which uses Fisher Investments as a subadvisor for about $500 million, announced earlier this week that it is "reviewing its relationship with Fisher Investments."

"We are very concerned about the highly inappropriate comments by Kenneth Fisher. The views he expressed do not align in any way with our company's values. We do not tolerate these types of comments at our company," read part of a statement from Vincent Loporchio, Fidelity's senior vice president of corporate communications.

Fidelity's announcement followed an announcement last week by the state of Michigan pension fund, which pulled $600 million from Fisher management.

The Philadelphia Board of Pensions also announced last week that it was pulling the $54 million it had invested with Fisher and the city of Boston said this week it was pulling $248 million.

The state of Florida pension fund, which has approximately $175 million with Fisher, announced it is evaluating its relationship with the company.

Nathan Fisher, who initially responded to a request for comment, saying he would get company approval for a formal comment, did not respond further prior to publication of this article.

Many of the comments to the LinkedIn post were unsympathetic, accusing the younger Mr. Fisher of making a "political post."

Kevin Williams, an executive recruiter at A.L. Merryman, posted a comment that read, "Saying your father's brain "being wired" differently is nothing short of a lame excuse and cop out. Reminder: heavy is the head that wears the crown. It's up to your firm's leadership to set the tone and be more responsible with your team's viewpoint, stance and language. Don't hide misogyny behind the excuse of a brain that is "wired differently". That's laziness. Your father isn't a victim here. His true colors came out in a closed-door "fire side chat"... deal with the repercussions. "

John Eppy, president and chief visionary officer at The Eppy Group, jumped into the commentary by questioning a post suggesting Ken Fisher might be autistic.

"You are saying Ken Fisher is autistic? I agree with Kevin. He should say he misspoke and sincerely apologize. He's too busy slamming other professionals in his industry. His employees have clearly drank the cool aide."

Fisher Investments did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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