BOSTON (Reuters) – Fidelity Investments on Tuesday said it was reviewing its relationship with money manager Ken Fisher and Philadelphia’s board of pensions said it terminated its business with his firm after Fisher allegedly made disparaging remarks about women at a conference last week.
FILE PHOTO: A sign marks a Fidelity Investments office in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
Known to investors through frequent ads on television for his investment advice, Fisher already lost Michigan as a client last week.
The setbacks for Fisher come in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which has exposed widespread patterns of sexual harassment or abuse of women in multiple spheres of American life and ended the careers of dozens of powerful men in media, politics, entertainment and business.
Philadelphia’s board of pensions terminated Fisher Investments as an investment manager because of “inappropriate statements” made at a conference last week, a city spokesman said on Tuesday. The city’s retirement system had roughly $54 million under management with Fisher, the spokesman said.
Fidelity Investments criticized the money manager over the remarks, saying it was reviewing the $500 million Fisher’s firm manages for the mutual fund giant.
“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,” Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio said. “We do not tolerate these types of comments at our company.”
In a memo to his firm’s employees sent to Reuters by a spokesman, Fisher said “It pains me to know that my comments have caused you grief, concern, and indignation. I sincerely apologize.”
Fisher Investments manages money within the $8 billion Fidelity Strategic Advisers Small-Mid Cap Fund (FSCFX.O). His firm manages more than $100 billion, including at top U.S. public pension funds.
An attendee at the conference, Alex Chalekian, chief executive of a financial advisory firm, called attention to the comments Fisher made at the October 8 conference in a video he posted on Twitter a day later that went viral.
He said Fisher had made derogatory comments about genitalia, picking up girls and financier Jeffrey Epstein, among other topics. Epstein committed suicide in August while being held in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Charles Roame, managing partner of conference organizer Tiburon Strategic Advisors, said in a note on the firm’s website that comments made at the conference on October 8 “lacked the dignity & respect that should be expected by any Tiburon CEO summit speaker or attendee.”
Although he did not name Fisher, Roame praised Chalekian for going public “with his views of offensive behavior.”
On October 10, Michigan’s $70 billion retirement system dropped Fisher Investments over the remarks, according to a letter sent to the state’s investment board. Fisher had managed $600 million for the retirement system, money that will now be managed internally.
Fisher Investments is also a sub-adviser on the $600 million Goldman Sachs Multi-Manager Global Equity Fund. (GSEQX.O) Goldman Sachs spokesman Patrick Scanlan declined to comment.
Reporting by Ross Kerber. Additional reporting by Tim McLaughlin; Editing by Megan Davies and Edward Tobin