Updated with clarification
Kansas City (Mo.) Public School Retirement System formally placed Fisher Investments on watch following offensive remarks made in the fall by Kenneth L. Fisher, the firm's founder, executive chairman and co-chief investment officer, confirmed Christine Gierer, executive director of the pension fund, Tuesday.
Fisher Investments manages an $83 million international equity portfolio for KCPSRS, which has total assets of about $645 million, Ms. Gierer said in an email.
So far, fallout from sexist comments made by Mr. Fisher during an Oct. 8 presentation at a San Francisco conference has resulted in several institutional investor clients pulling nearly $4 billion in assets from the firm in recent months.
Mr. Fisher talked about genitalia and allegedly compared the process of winning money management clients to "trying to get into a girl's pants" during the conference, an attendee told Bloomberg at the time.
Regarding the mandate with Kansas City, a spokesman at Fisher Investments said Tuesday the firm does comment on client relationships.
But in an emailed statement the spokesman said Mr. Fisher's comments had been "twisted" by the media.
"At the investment conference, Mr. Fisher compared the sales approach of some asset managers to a lewd and inappropriate proposition in a bar. While he has since apologized for his choice of words, the intent and meaning of those words have been twisted beyond comprehension by the media," the spokesman wrote.
On Monday, the Kansas City Public School Retirement System's board of trustees voted to formally put the firm on watch in light of Mr. Fisher's comments, Ms. Gierer said.
According to Ms. Gierer, the board sent a letter to Fisher Investments that stated: "Our fiduciary duty is to prudently invest the KCPSRS assets for the purpose of providing retirement benefits to our plan participants. As fiduciaries, we must act in the best interest of the system and our members. Following Mr. Fisher's recent public comments, we had to question whether the firm, Fisher Investments, has the cultural respect and diversity we look for when hiring investment managers."
The board has also asked Fisher Investments to provide monthly updates on its assets under management and any personnel changes at the firm, as well as regular updates on its newly created task force to address diversity and inclusion at the firm, Ms. Gierer said.
When asked whether the pension fund's investment consultant Segal Marco Advisors recommended the watchlist status for Fisher Investments, Ms. Gierer wrote, "the KCPSRS Board made (this) decision on its own."
Fisher Investments had more than $121 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, up from $112 billion as of Sept. 30.