Fisher Investments Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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Fisher Investments Review 2022

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Fisher Investments is a fee-only registered investment advisor (RIA) with locations in the U.S. and across the globe. The firm has over 1,100 investment advisors on staff, and the team manages $159.6 billion in assets, including for its subsidiaries, making it one of the largest fee-only RIAs in the U.S. Its focus is investment management for institutions and high net worth individuals, and it also offers financial planning.

The bottom line: Fisher Investments features a customized, flexible investment approach, but doesn’t go as deep as some firms on financial planning, and requires a fairly high minimum investment.

  • One of the largest fee-only RIAs in the U.S.
  • Focuses on investment management for institutions and individuals
  • Generally requires a minimum investment of $500,000, but has an account option for those with less

All information included in this profile is accurate as of December 6, 2021. For more information, please consult Fisher Investments’ website.

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Overview of Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments is a privately held investment advisory firm launched by Ken Fisher in 1979. Today, it has over $159.6 billion in assets under management (AUM). Fisher Investments has office locations in the U.S. and across the globe, and clients both domestic and international.

Fisher Investments has more than 3,500 employees in total across 30 countries and six continents. In terms of expertise, Fisher Investments promotes its global investment focus as well as guidance from its Investment Policy Committee.

A look at the founder of Fisher Investments

Founder Ken Fisher is well-known in the investing space. He currently serves as Fisher Investments’ executive chairman and co-chief investment officer, and previously served as CEO for 37 years. Fisher is the author of 11 financial books, including four New York Times bestsellers, and is also the longest-running columnist in Forbes’ history.

Fisher owns more than 75% of the shares of Fisher Investments.

Fisher Investments’ pros

  • Awards for its performance and size: The Financial Times has named Fisher Investments as a top investment advisor for the past seven years. Fisher Investments was also No. 2 on the InvestmentNews’ ranking of U.S.-based, fee-only RIAs based on their assets under management for 2020, and No. 128 (out of 500) on Pensions and Investments’ list of the largest money managers worldwide for 2021.
  • Customized and flexible investment approach: If you sign on with Fisher Investments, the firm will design your portfolio based on your goals and situation. It’s not just one strategy for everyone, or a so-called cookie-cutter experience. Rather the firm adjusts its investment approach in response to market conditions, and promises to communicate with clients on a regular basis.
  • No recent disciplinary actions: Fisher Investments has not had to make any legal, civil or criminal disclosures for disciplinary issues. The firm has a clean record.
  • Guidance from high-profile investment team: Ken Fisher himself leads the firm’s Investment Policy Committee, which sets the standard for investment recommendations and makes investment decisions.
  • Educational resources provided: Fisher Investments produces quarterly investment reports, online commentary and videos and investment training books for its clients. The firm also holds seminars around the country, where you can hear from the senior management team about the market.

Fisher Investments’ cons

  • Fees on the higher side that aren’t reduced much for large accounts: Fisher Investments charges a fee of 1.25% of assets under management on the first $1 million invested in its equity and blended accounts, plus whatever costs come from executing trades. This is on the higher side, as the standard annual fee ranges from 0.50% to 1.25% of assets under management. While Fisher slightly reduces rates for larger accounts, you need over $5 million to qualify for the lowest rate. Its income-only accounts do offer lower management fees for accounts over $5 million, with the lowest rate being 0.28% for assets over $45 million.
  • Minimum investment may be out of reach for some: You typically need at least $500,000 to open an account with Fisher Investments. The firm states that, in some cases, you can open for a lower amount, though it’s not guaranteed. For example, there is a WealthBuilder account for private clients who can invest at least $200,000. You would be charged a 1.50% fee for these smaller accounts, however.
  • Controversy with Ken Fisher: In October 2019, Ken Fisher made some controversial jokes during a presentation at a conference. Upset investors pulled out over $4 billion in assets under management at the time. Business has recovered since then, though the firm’s reputation did suffer a blow.

What types of clients does Fisher Investments serve?

To open an account with Fisher Investments, you typically need to invest at least $500,000. However, the firm states that, at its discretion, it may be willing to work with clients who have less. The firm also offers a WealthBuilder account that targets investors with at least $200,000 in investable assets.

Nearly half of Fisher Investments’ assets under management come from high net worth individuals. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines high net worth individuals as those who have at least $750,000 invested, so it’s possible to meet Fisher Investments’ $500,000 minimum, or to have a WealthBuilder account, without technically being a high net worth individual.

Clients are based across the globe, in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

Services offered by Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments primarily focuses on providing investment and portfolio management services. As part of setting up your account, Fisher Investments may offer a financial plan at no additional cost. This service is offered as part of the firm’s client onboarding process, and you can then decide whether you want to implement the plan.

Here is a full list of services offered by Fisher Investments:

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management
  • Financial planning services
  • IRA and 401(k) rollovers
  • Annuity evaluation and conversion
  • Quarterly reports, seminars, workshops, videos and free e-books on investing

How Fisher Investments invests your money

Fisher Investments is a discretionary investment firm that uses an active management style. Rather than selling broad portfolios that try to match an index like an S&P 500, the firm’s analysts closely study the market for opportunities to earn a higher return versus its benchmarks. The firm does so using qualitative and quantitative tools such as:

  • Software
  • Computer databases
  • A centralized portfolio management system

The firm’s Investment Policy Committee, chaired by founder Ken Fisher, helps guide this research and sets the foundation of these investment strategies.

Fisher Investments does not offer just one fund to every client but instead tries to personalize investment recommendations based on a client’s goals, time horizon, cash flow needs and risk tolerance. The firm’s portfolio recommendation will be a mix of equity, income or blended funds that best fit a client’s goals.

Fisher Investments takes a top-down approach to portfolio management, meaning broad economic analysis and forecasts drive decisions. The top-down approach comprises:

  • 70% asset allocation
  • 20% sub-asset allocation
  • 10% security selection

Fisher Investments puts client money in assets including:

  • Domestic and foreign common stocks
  • Fixed-income securities
  • Structured products
  • Other derivatives that can include leverage

The firm also may use hedging strategies such as short equity positions and options when appropriate.

Beyond that, Fisher Investments promotes its flexibility. It can adjust the types of asset classes, sectors and geographic regions represented in a client’s portfolio depending on its predictions. If the firm is worried about a potential downturn, it takes defensive strategies to mitigate losses.

Fisher Investments takes a global approach and will consider investments beyond the United States to fit a client’s goals.

Fees Fisher Investments charges for its services

Fisher Investments makes money by charging a fee based on a percentage of assets under management. The firm deducts a percentage of your portfolio every quarter to cover this fee. The amount you owe depends on the size of your portfolio, with lower rates offered for larger portfolios. The firm also offers an additional rate discount for portfolios over $5 million that only invest in fixed-income assets, not equities. See the tables below for the firm’s current rates.

Fisher Investments typically only accepts clients with $500,000 or more in assets. However, if it takes on a client with less than $500,000, it will charge a flat 1.50% fee on the portfolio. In addition, if you sign up with $500,000 or more, but market losses push your portfolio to below $475,000, you would also owe the 1.50% fee, rather than the rates outlined below.

Fisher Investments’ Fee Schedule for Equity and Blended Accounts
Equity and Blended Accounts Size Annual Management Fee
First $1 million 1.25%
Next $4 million 1.125%
Additional amounts over $5 million 1.00%
Fisher Investments’ Fee Schedule for Income-Only Accounts In Excess of $5 Million
Income-Only Account Size
(In Excess of $5 Million)
Annual Management Fee
First $5 million 0.75%
Next $10 million 0.50%
Next $10 million 0.43%
Next $10 million 0.38%
Next $10 million 0.33%
Next $45 million 0.28%

Besides its asset-based fee, Fisher Investment clients may also owe fees associated with handling their investment strategy, including brokerage commissions, custodian fees and expenses from investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and structured notes. This money doesn’t go to Fisher Investments, but instead to the brokerage firms processing the investments.

While Fisher Investments does offer financial planning to some clients, it does not charge for this service, which is instead covered by the asset-based fee charged for investment management.

Fisher Investments’ disciplinary disclosures

Fisher Investments has not faced any disciplinary events or material legal events, nor has any action been taken against any management person at the firm. The firm currently has a clean disciplinary disclosure record.

When a firm registers with the SEC, it needs to report any criminal charges, regulatory actions or legal actions like liens or civil judgments that have been taken against them within the past decade. These are called disclosures and must be listed on a firm’s Form ADV filed with the SEC.

For more information, visit Fisher Investments’ Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

Fisher Investments’ onboarding process

If you’re interested in working with Fisher Investments, you can:

  • Contact one of its branches
  • Call the firm’s line for new clients, 888-823-9566
  • Request a meeting through the website

The firm will then connect you with a regional vice president so you can learn more about the firm.

After the initial discussion, the firm will partner you with an investment counselor, who would become your point of contact and the person who manages your money. The investment counselor will ask you about your:

  • Retirement goals
  • Income
  • Living expenses
  • Other relevant financial information

With this information, they can put together your customized investment recommendation. If you’re happy with the recommendation, you can fill out the paperwork to transfer over your savings to launch the account.

Once you’re a client, Fisher Investments states that your investment advisor will meet with you to go over your portfolio and make sure it’s still appropriate. The firm also says that you are free to contact them any time with questions or concerns.

Where Fisher Investments is located

Fisher Investments has locations in the U.S. and across the globe, including in Canada and several European countries such as France, Germany and Denmark. The firm’s U.S. office locations are in the following cities:

  • Camas, Wash.
  • Bellevue, Wash.
  • Phoenix
  • Woodside, Calif.
  • San Mateo, Calif.
  • Irvine, Calif.
  • Greenwood Village, Colo.
  • Houston
  • Plano, Texas
  • Atlanta
  • Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
  • Northbrook, Ill.
  • Vienna, Va.
  • New York City
  • Tampa, Fla.

Is Fisher Investments right for you?

If you’re looking to invest at least $500,000 and want an advisor that will actively manage your portfolio, Fisher Investments could be a good choice. If you have at least $200,000, you could also try applying for the firm’s WealthBuilder account. Just know that you aren’t guaranteed to be accepted and the fee will be higher for smaller accounts. But this could be worth it to access the firm’s customized investment recommendations, flexible strategies that react to market conditions, and highly experienced team.

Regardless of account size, this extra service does come at a cost, as Fisher Investments charges relatively high fees in comparison to median advisory fees. But if investment management is your top priority and you’re willing to pay a little more to get its support, Fisher Investments could be worth considering.

When searching for a potential financial advisor, what’s important is to do your research in order to find an advisor who is right for your unique needs and preferences.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.