by Doyle Ranstrom on Oct 14, 2019
Ken Fisher, the founder of Fisher Investments, is financially successful with a net worth in the billions. If recent comments while speaking at a money management conference are indicative, he also believes women are objects and seconds class citizens.
Two articles, one in RIABiz and the other in CNBC detail his comments and the reaction from many in the financial service industry including my daughter, Courtney Ranstrom. She is quoted in both the above articles. The reality is though Fisher's comments are repulsive, publically or privately, they are not new.
I have been in the financial services industry for over 40 years and have met and listened to many men like Fisher who make sexist comments, both publically and privately. Early in my career, though I have no data to back me up, I think they were in the majority. Again with no data to back me up, I believe it has changed, it may even mean that men like Fisher, are now in the minority. Keep mind, it was man, Alex Chalekian, who broke an implicit gag rule at the conference where Fisher spoke and brought Fisher's offensive remarks to light.
Courtney was quoted because she has become an advocate in the financial service industry for women and minorities. She along with her business partner and brother Morgan Ranstrom started their firm, Trailhead Planners LLC for many reasons, but one for both of them was to provide the highest quality financial planning services in an environment where all are welcome. They do not tolerate sexism or any of the Ism's.
Consumers today have choices. Trailhead is a firm with experienced professionals holding professional credentials providing high-quality fee-only services to their clients. Their firm is unbiased professionally having a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. They are also unbiased personally viewing all their clients and potential clients as equals. There are other firms like theirs Nationally and they are growing.
I suspect many employees at Fisher Investments were disappointed to outraged at his comments. The company is beginning to pay a price for their CEO's and founder's behavior and comments. Several pension funds have or are considering ending their relationship with the money manager. Fisher may not understand sexism, but I suspect he does understand the bottom line and the effects of losing large clients. This is a good thing.
When I started in the financial service business, Fisher's comments would not have been unusual. Today, they are costing his firm business and again, this is a good thing.
I would suggest consumers, individuals, and households, who are looking for quality financial planning services should not only do their due diligence looking for professional firms with outstanding credentials and experience, but they should also do due diligence looking for firms and individuals who are not sexist in their practices. Or accept or tolerate any of the Ism's for that matter.
I am not sure Ken Fisher has changed his behavior or views, but I suspect his firm has. Consumers, however, do not have to wait for a firm to change its behavior, they can find ones who have never expressed sexist or any other type of Ism's behavior.