Billionaire Ken Fisher’s wealth management firm lost the state of Michigan as a client on Thursday following Fisher’s sexually-charged speech at the Tiburon CEO Summit in San Francisco last week.
Michigan Chief Investment Officer Jon Braeutigam wrote a letter to the state’s investment board announcing the decision to withdraw $600 million of the state’s pension fund from Fisher Investments.
“[A]ll were in unanimous agreement that prompt termination is the correct course of action,” he wrote. “There is no excuse to not treat everyone with dignity and respect. We have high expectations of our managers (and staff), not just with regards to returns but also in how they exhibit integrity and respect to all individuals.”
Braeutigam characterized Fisher’s remarks as “completely unacceptable comments” and said Michigan was cutting ties even though Fisher Investments’ “performance has been good (beating the S&P 1500).”
“In our opinion, this history does not out-weigh the inappropriateness of the comments made by the founder,” Braeutigam wrote.
An in-house investment team will manage the money now.
The State of Michigan Retirement Systems has more than $70 billion in assets, a spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business.
Forbes estimates Fisher’s net worth at $3.8 billion. He was at first mystified by criticism of his comments, including comparing wooing money-management clients with “trying to get into a girl’s pants,” before apologizing last week.
Alex Chalekian, the founder and CEO of advisory firm Lake Avenue Financial, attended the Tiburon conference and was the first person to go public with Fisher’s remarks.
I'm truly disgusted. pic.twitter.com/SKb3dYLV5h
— Alex Chalekian (@AlexChalekian) October 9, 2019
“It was a true debacle,” Chalekian said in a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday. Fisher talked about tripping on hallucinogens, and compared money managers bragging to prospective clients with men showing their genitalia to women they’re trying to pick up, Chalekian said.