Fisher Investments: The Complete Guide for 2019

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This article has been reviewed and deemed factual by our content auditor with 8 years of banking experience.

Article Approved By Banking Expert

This article has been reviewed and deemed factual by our content auditor with 8 years of banking experience.

Headquartered in Camas, Washington, Fisher Investments is a privately-held, fee-only (fiduciary) global money management firm founded in 1979 by Ken Fisher.

They offer financial advisory services to clients across the U.S., Europe, Canada, Asia, and the Middle East.

Fisher has authored the “Portfolio Strategy” column in Forbes magazine for more than 30 years. Fisher has published 11 books and was named one of the 30 most influential figures in the investment advisory business.

He’s currently a regular columnist for various publications, including USA Today, Financial Times and Interactive Investor (UK,) Dagbladet Børsen (Denmark,) De Telegraaf (the Netherlands,) and Focus (Germany.) He now serves as the firm’s executive chairman and co-chief investment officer.

As of Q2 2019, Fisher Investments has more than $94 billion in assets under management (AUM) on a discretionary basis. It has 898 advisors serving more than 60,000 private clients and over 175 large institutions, divided into four business groups:

  • Institutional Group,
  • Private Client Group,
  • 401(k) Solutions Group and,
  • Fisher Investments International Group

fisher investments

Understanding Fisher Investments

With a $500,000 account minimum, Fisher Investments targets high net-worth individuals. Although it sometimes selectively accept a lower minimum of $200,000 for its WealthBuilder accounts.

This are evaluated on a case-by-case basis though. The firm also works with:

  • Pooled investment vehicles,
  • Charitable organizations,
  • Foundations, endowments,
  • State or municipal governments,
  • Corporations, retirement plans,
  • Public/multi-employer pension funds,
  • And other investment advisors/companies

As well as offering institutional services such as institutional investing and 401(k) solutions for businesses.

How Does Fisher Investments Work?

Working with Fisher Investments starts with your dedicated financial advisor.

Then, they work with the Portfolio Evaluation Group to provide the client with written portfolio analysis and a personalized investment strategy.

In most cases, the firm recommends a long-term portfolio strategy that can meet the clients’ financial goals while providing for their needs over time.

It regularly reviews each client’s personal situations, adjusts the investment strategy, and keeps the client apprised of its changing views on capital markets and other important developments related to the clients’ investments.

Fisher Investments advocates a flexible investment strategy and takes an active approach to wealth management by adjusting client portfolios in response to market changes.

It also determines strategies based on projected market conditions using a framework called the Four Market Conditions to meet clients’ long-term objectives.

The advisors use the framework to construct clients’ portfolios, manage risk, and monitor performance while using a combination of dissimilar securities to balance risk and reward.

The firm focuses on using asset allocation, which is customized according to personal factors such as clients’ time horizons, risk tolerances, cash flow requirements, and outside assets, to drive portfolio performance.

Fisher Investments’ services include financial planning, portfolio management, annuity evaluation, and retirement planning.

There are three categories under its portfolio management services — equity accounts, fixed income accounts, and blended accounts — to help clients maximize return while respecting their personal risk parameters.

Fees Charged By Fisher Investments

Clients are charged on a tiered schedule based on the type of account and the asset value under management, with accounts under $500,000 billed at an annual rate of 1.50%.

Fees for equity and blended accounts start at 1.25% for the first $1 million and drop down to 1% for over $5 million while those for income-only accounts start at 0.75% for the first $5 million and go down to 0.28% for $50 million and up.

In addition, clients may have to pay brokerage commissions, other custodian fees, and expenses associated with investing in ETFs or structured notes.

Pros And Cons Of Fisher Investments

Here’s what to consider if you’re planning to invest with Fisher Investments:

Fisher Investments: Accolades 

  • Ranked number two on InvestmentNews’ list of top 10 U.S.-based, fee-only registered investment advisors in 2017.
  • Listed among the 300 top-ranked financial advisors and named one the top retirement advisors for four consecutive years by Financial Times, which evaluates firms based on AUM, AUM growth, industry certifications, online accessibility, etc.
  • Ranked No. 164 on the Pensions & Investments /Towers Watson list of the world’s 500 largest money managers.
  • Included in the National Association of Plan Advisors’ 2017 list of top defined contribution advisor firms.

Pros: Fisher Investments

  • The firm is a fiduciary, which is required by law to put its clients’ best interests first at all times. In addition, it doesn’t have any disclosure, which is quite rare with large wealth management firms.
  • Fisher Investments offers the same comprehensive investment management options as many robo-advisors, along with personalized services from dedicated investment counselors.
  • Investment management is provided by the firm’s Investment Policy Committee (IPC). The committee is comprised of five people, including Ken Fisher himself.
  • The firm takes an active and flexible approach to monitoring capital markets on a global scale. It considers market conditions, economic developments, political issues, global macroeconomic, and sentiment factors in its portfolio management process to balance opportunities with risks. Rather than simply investing in passive assets that track the markets, such active management can yield better performance.
  • Fisher Investments seeks opportunities globally to mitigate risks through diversification and help clients benefit from investments many other financial advisors may have overlooked. The firm performs extensive research and has the resources to access opportunities worldwide.
  • Private client portfolios are separately managed accounts consisting of individual securities. These provide more tax flexibility than a mutual fund. This setup also allows the firm to better manage clients’ potential tax exposure via tax-loss harvesting.
  • The firm hosts exclusive client events (e.g., forecast seminars, investment roundtables) in more than 60 cities nationwide. Clients can attend as many of them as they want with no additional costs to get involved in the investment world and expand their knowledge base.

Cons: Fisher Investments

  • Fisher Investments’ fees are generally higher than the national median advisory fee. For example, it charges an estimated $6,250 for $500,000 worth of assets for its Equity and Blended accounts, compared to the $5,000 national median.
  • As a privately-owned company, Fisher Investments isn’t part of a larger institution like many other financial management firms are. As such, it doesn’t offer access to services such as banking or trusts in its packages.
  • Fisher Investments doesn’t have as many offices located across the country as many other wealth management firms. Currently, it has offices in Atlanta, California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

Conclusion: Is Fisher Investments Right For Me?

Fisher Investments is a great wealth management option for high-net-worth individuals seeking long-term, personalized investment strategies.

Its global presence and investment philosophies also make it a good choice if you’re seeking diverse opportunities worldwide.

With the service of a dedicated investment counselor, you can expect personal attention tailored to your individual financial needs. However, the firm has a limited number of branches so you need to be comfortable working with your investment counselor remotely.

While you can turn the investment portfolio over to your investment counselor completely, Fisher Investments offers many educational materials and resources, such as quarterly reviews and capital markets update videos if you want more details about the market and your portfolio — making it a good option for investors who want to stay informed without being bogged down by the day-to-day management of their investments.

Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts

Editor at CarefulCents
Featured in The Washington Post and published in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business Insider, Time, Inc., CNBC and others.