The state pension fund of Texas is pulling $350 million from Fisher Investments as more investors flee the firm following vulgar comments from its founder.
“With respect to our fiduciary duty, we are defunding Fisher Investments,” the pension said in a statement Friday. Fisher had served as an external manager in the international equities portfolio with $350 million under management as of Sept. 30.
The move by the Employees Retirement System of Texas brings the total reported withdrawals from Fisher to more than $3.1 billion. The Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions board on Thursday voted to yank about $500 million and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a filing Friday it was dropping Fisher as the underlying manager of a global equity fund.
The firm’s founder, Ken Fisher, is suffering an intensifying backlash from his remarks on Oct. 8 in which he compared the process of gaining a client’s trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants,” and then failed to immediately understand the gravity of his words. He later apologized. In the ensuing days, pension funds in New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, Boston and Philadelphia decided to cut ties with his firm.
In Los Angeles, the nine-member fire and police pensions board debated the costs involved with firing Fisher before voting to divest.
“Fisher’s words reach millions and only do damage,” board vice president Brian Pendleton said at the meeting. “Other pension funds are going to come to the same conclusion and we shouldn’t be the last ones to turn the lights off.”
Lorin writes for Bloomberg.