The toll exacted by asset owners for Kenneth L. Fisher's sexist comments made at a conference earlier this month is $3 billion and counting.
In an age of heightened acceptance of environmental, social and governance investing principles and growing insistence that money managers increase gender diversity and inclusivity within their firms, sources said many institutional investors have a low tolerance for gender denigration by Mr. Fisher, executive chairman and co-chief investment officer of active equity manager Fisher Investments Inc., Camas, Wash.
Mr. Fisher talked about genitalia and compared winning asset management clients to "trying to get into a girl's pants" during his Oct. 8 presentation at Tiburon Strategic Advisors LLC conference in San Francisco, attendees said.
In a statement to the firm's employees obtained by P&I, Mr. Fisher admitted "some of the words and phrases I used during a recent conference to make certain points were clearly wrong and I shouldn't have used them. I realize this kind of language has no place in our company or industry. I sincerely apologize."
The firm managed a total of $112 billion worldwide in active U.S., international and global equity strategies as of Sept. 30, $35 billion of which was from 175 institutional investors and money manager subadvisory assignments, according to its website.
Despite Mr. Fisher's apology, the damage was done for some institutional investors. Ten asset owners and two money managers from Fisher's client base have terminated their investments in direct response to Mr. Fisher's remarks.
For example, investment officials of the $9.2 billion New Hampshire Retirement System, Concord, said in a statement that Mr. Fisher's comments were "not only offensive and inappropriate, they are incompatible with the values of the retirement system and bring into question Mr. Fisher's judgment."
The fund's investment committee terminated Fisher Investments from management of a $239 million active core international equity portfolio on Oct. 22. The pension fund first invested in the Fisher strategy in 2001.