At a financial services conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, billionaire Ken Fisher – whose firm manages more than $100 billion (for now, at least) – shocked attendees when he compared gaining a client’s trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants,” according to Bloomberg. Rachel Robasciotti, a founder of wealth manager Robasciotti & Philipson said: “I was floored. For me and some of the women sitting nearby we were kind of in shock. We were like: ‘Wait, did that really just happen?’”
Doubling down on his jarring remarks, Fisher also noted that executives who were “not comfortable talking about genitalia should not be in the financial industry.” (Maybe because it’s inevitably going to come up when discussing long-term wealth building strategies, right?). Robasciotti also said Fisher referenced dropping acid and likened his employees to cattle who needed to be branded.
Alex Chalekian, founder of Lake Avenue Financial, posted a video on Twitter calling the remarks “absolutely horrifying.”
Chalekian conceded that “the way the summit is set up, it’s meant to allow many of these icons in the industry to be comfortable, and talk among their peers” before continuing by saying “But I just had to open up and mention how disgusted I am.”
I’m truly disgusted. pic.twitter.com/SKb3dYLV5h
— Alex Chalekian (@AlexChalekian) October 9, 2019
Sonya Dreizler, a consultant who attended most of the fireside chat, added: “Since this content is not about business issues, I’m choosing to break that code of privacy to confirm that the comments from the stage indeed were outrageous.”
Fisher responded in a statement on Wednesday: “While I said words he cited I don’t think he heard me correctly and clearly misconstrued my meaning and certainly my intended meaning. Most of his slant is ‘gotcha,’ wrong in my view. To the extent he and any others were offended I apologize truly and sincerely.”
After reports of Fisher’s comments made their rounds on Wednesday, Fisher followed up by telling Bloomberg: “I have given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response. Mostly the audience understands what I am saying.”
“I regret I accepted that speech invitation because it was kind of a pain in the neck,” he continued. “I wonder if anybody will be candid at one of these Tiburon events again.”
To some degree, Fisher has a track record of making similar comments in the past. He was quoted at an investing conference in California last year as saying: “The most stupid thing you can do is what every mutual fund firm in the world always did, and that’s brag about performance in a direct mail piece. That’s a little bit like walking into a bar and you are a single guy and want to get laid and walking up to some girl and saying: ‘Hey you want to have sex?’ You just turn yourself into a jerk.”
At the same conference, when asked what he would have done differently in his life, he said he would “have more sex.”
Regardless, while Fisher may have turned off conference attendees this week, he still has an estimated worth of $3.6 billion to help keep him company.
One astute Twitter observer did a great job summarizing the key points of Fisher’s presentation:
3. Discussed dropping acid.
4. ‘Employees are like cattle. They need to be branded.’
— Value Trap (@Valuetrap13) October 9, 2019
Nice guy, indeed.