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Any experience of Fisher Investments?
Powerful Pierre
Posted: 29 December 2011 23:52:13(UTC)
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I'm considering putting some significant pension funds with Fisher Investments, the US/UK investment manager. Their focus is very much on global equities with a US bias, plus bonds as and when necessary. The investment strategy is still greatly influenced by their founding guru and CEO, Ken Fisher.

Do you have any experience of Fisher Investments? Is their investment performance and client management as good as they say it is? Any comments or advice would be welcome.

Thanks
Pierre
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Pat Stubbs on 28/12/2013(UTC)
TJL
Posted: 30 December 2011 09:06:37(UTC)
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I downloaded one of their free reports from a financial website, mistakenly believing they were an IFA, as opposed to a supplier of their own products (aren't they?), which is not what I wanted. In the process I had to supply my details of course, and an unexpected phone call followed (perhaps I am naive).
The gentleman was quite persistant and seemed reluctant to accept that I was not interested; he kept asking quite technical questions (which, as an amateur I couldn't answer very eloquently) and I suspect his intention was to undermine my confidence and scare me into submission; he was polite, but I don't go for 'hard sell' and didn't appreciate the experience. I have had one further (similar) phone call since and recently several further attempts to make contact with me.
I cannot comment whatsoever on anything else to do with this outfit.
Probably not greatly helpful, but thought I'd chip-in anyway just in case.
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alangb on 03/01/2012(UTC), Powerful Pierre on 03/01/2012(UTC), Chris Marsden on 03/01/2012(UTC), Guest on 07/01/2012(UTC), chazza on 19/01/2013(UTC)
Powerful Pierre
Posted: 03 January 2012 13:01:23(UTC)
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Thanks TJL - the Fisher salesmen certainly seem persistent (but professional).

Pierre
Bharat Unia
Posted: 03 January 2012 13:53:44(UTC)
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I have had dealings with Fisher Investments and tried to carry out a "due diligence" exercise which proved to be frustrating and futile as there is no means of directly comparing their product (an OEIC) with a benchmark. Needlessy to say I did not invest with them.

As this is a direct marketing organistion one has to surmise that the sales/advisor representaive has strong motive in selling the product for which I would venture to suggest he receives a fair whack in commission and possibly trail commission as well. This cost is charged to the Fund and will have the effective of diluting the investment made by you and your fellow OEIC investors.

Caveat emptor.


Once burnt twice shy.
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Powerful Pierre on 03/01/2012(UTC), PQR on 03/01/2012(UTC), Guest on 04/01/2012(UTC)
charles goody
Posted: 03 January 2012 15:05:10(UTC)
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Hi , I used Fishers some while ago and they cost me a ot of money. Their investment selections were poor and even when results confirmed that, they failed to make changes. Fisher himself speaks elouently about investements but during my time with them he was consistently wrong. Their sales people are professional however the investment informatuion that they work with is not good. I've steared well clear of them since my experiences. However you should do your own research to vaidate my commnets.

Very good luck and Happy New Year
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Powerful Pierre on 03/01/2012(UTC), PQR on 03/01/2012(UTC)
Steve Hayes
Posted: 03 January 2012 15:13:03(UTC)
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Fisher is a genuine guru, but not always perfect, in particular he kept on denying the crash when it happened, "it's a blip" etc. But he does write for Forbes mag, so he has some clout.
As I remember they sell one particular fund, so if you hassle you will be able to see their performance and compare.
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Powerful Pierre on 03/01/2012(UTC)
gilbert dines
Posted: 03 January 2012 15:27:34(UTC)
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I was looking for an expert company to look after my portfolio and pension money.
Whatever my heading was in a search engine online, Fisher investments always came at the top of the page.
Two charming men came to see me, one was a directer, looking after a new adviser??.
They presented facts and charts which painted a rosy picture of the company, I am not wise but I am old, and I do not decide life changing decisions without carefull scrutiny.

There charges where quite high, but this is okay if the results are high as well, but when I looked into the units that the founder of this company was running it did not look too good
I asked for names of customers that had invested large amounts of cash so I could contact
them, no luck, I went on line to any financial groups, but all received was tales of losses.or poor results.

So I declined the offer, they where still quite insistant but very polite, and this was 18 months ago, I still get an enquiry from them to see if I have changed my mind..but I have not...

G F Dines


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Powerful Pierre on 03/01/2012(UTC), PQR on 03/01/2012(UTC), Guest on 07/01/2012(UTC)
steve templeton
Posted: 03 January 2012 18:15:46(UTC)
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Hi Pierre,

I went with Fisher during the middle of the bear market in 2008. At first I dropped along with the market and was concerned i had made an error but bounced significantly higher than my wife did with SJP in 2009 and early 2010. Since then its been up and down with the market as they are heavily into equities.

I am surprised people are saying they could not get access to performance as they happily provided me with total performance breakdown as i had self managed for years and have to admit am a bit of a performance junkie. i did a lot of due dilligence on them myself. i spoke with an existing client who lived close to me and attended an annual client event that they had in london.

I can tell you their performance so far has been better than the market - but only be a few % but their service is very good. They actively call me regularly which is more than my wife gets from her guy and they couldnt be nicer/more professional.

All in all i am relatively happy with my choice.

Steve
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Powerful Pierre on 03/01/2012(UTC), PQR on 03/01/2012(UTC)
PQR
Posted: 03 January 2012 20:30:40(UTC)
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I have an introductory meeting next week with Fisher staff. Anybody got any advice after their dealings with them?
Thanks
Chris Marsden
Posted: 03 January 2012 23:24:19(UTC)
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I found them a hard sell. Interesting comments also to that effect.

If you down load a 'free report' you will get endless calls.

Expensive and no convinced of their performance.

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Powerful Pierre on 04/01/2012(UTC), PQR on 04/01/2012(UTC)
A C Wiltshire
Posted: 04 January 2012 10:25:49(UTC)
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I always work on the basis that if a firm supplying financial products / services is any good they don't need to advertise.
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Chris Marsden on 04/01/2012(UTC), Powerful Pierre on 04/01/2012(UTC), PQR on 04/01/2012(UTC)
steve templeton
Posted: 04 January 2012 15:34:06(UTC)
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PQR;13377 wrote:
I have an introductory meeting next week with Fisher staff. Anybody got any advice after their dealings with them?
Thanks



i would make a list of what is important to you - not them. that way you drive the conversaton.

make sure you get clear answers to your questions. if you want to know all the charges get them to go over all the charges

same with performance etc


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PQR on 04/01/2012(UTC)
PQR
Posted: 04 January 2012 16:17:12(UTC)
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Steve,
You seem happy with your choice anyway. Do your still get enough active involvement with them?
Thanks
Peter
steve templeton
Posted: 04 January 2012 16:21:58(UTC)
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I do Peter yes.

When i took them on i had been managing the portfolio myself so it wasnt an easy decision for me to make so i stipulated quite clearly that i wanted regular contact. I speak with my guy every other month for a regular update and he called me every month or so during the banking crisis and also just after the japanese sunami hit. I have to say i was pretty impressed by that.

I have no idea how things are working for you currently but my wife is with sjp and i was with a local ifa for a long time and the general feeling was their service was more reactive than active.

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Powerful Pierre on 04/01/2012(UTC)
PensionsManager
Posted: 04 January 2012 19:36:55(UTC)
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On the institutional side I have been contacted by them and have reviewed their various equity funds which, from what they showed me, were reasonably impressive over 10 years and 5 years (I think from memory), but these were Global Equities, Global Small Cap equities, etc. only.

The funds are charged with an annual management charge which was negotiable because we have millions to invest (pension scheme), but the main investment consultants in the UK don't seem to recommend them.

They are based just outside San Francisco and don't sell 'products' with trail commission or similar. They aim their consumer offering at £250k+ investors after a wealth management service, but I personally wouldn't use them as I prefer to do my own research and invest accordingly via platforms and direct via Selftrade.co.uk or iii.co.uk.

We have just appointed Ruffer for a small brief (absolute return) and I like Vanguard Equity Income (passive) but economical at circa 0.2% AMC (consumers price)..

Much depends on your time horizon, income/growth requirements, patience and appetite for risk (or volatility) and performance depends when you first invested to a great extent. It's so easy to get cold feet after a couple of bad years, but if you can get under the bonnet and understand what's going on it can help you appreciate the reasons for any under performance. Remember Philips and Drew in 1999 - they looked very foolish until 2001/2 when the Internet bubble burst.
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Powerful Pierre on 04/01/2012(UTC), Clive B on 04/01/2012(UTC), Guest on 11/03/2013(UTC)
Chris Marsden
Posted: 04 January 2012 20:31:04(UTC)
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Follow link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/...Fisher_Investments_Inc.


"Fisher Investments pressured Silverstein, aged 64, into liquidating all of her fixed income investments, and investing them in equities. In the arbitrator's words,
Fisher simply made the same recommendation to Ms. Silverstein that it makes to the vast majority of its clients: 100 percent equities benchmarked to the MSCI World (MXWO) index.
Silverstein reportedly lost about $376,075 of her initial investment of $876,357."

But may be no worse than any other?
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Powerful Pierre on 04/01/2012(UTC)
Powerful Pierre
Posted: 04 January 2012 21:45:38(UTC)
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This is a helpful discussion - thank you all.

Steve: for how long have you invested with Fisher? Long enough to see them perform through both good times and bad?

btw, I'd asked the Fisher sales chap about the Silverstein case and his reply was that one case in 10 years wasn't bad and that was in the US, not UK.

I'm still trying to contact the single reference that Fisher have given me. They wouldn't provide more ...

Pierre
Gramacho
Posted: 04 January 2012 21:46:00(UTC)
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I invested a fairly large proportion of my early retirement/redundancy package with Fisher at the beginning of 2010. The rationale was to get exposure to a wider range of companies than a fund focused on UK companies but not to limit the investment to just the BRICs.

I went with Fisher because at the time I did not trust myself to self select all of my equity investments. I had not invested since the mid to late 80s and had a few bad experiences at that time.

It utilises the Purisma Investment Fund, an open ended investment company based in Jersey and regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. I split my investment 50/50 in one sub fund that did not provide any currency hedging and another sub fund that attempted to reduce my exposure to currency other than Sterling. The funds are designed for capital gains.

The holdings were held by Raymond James Investment Services, independent of Fisher Investments. The Fisher annual fee was set at 0.5% of the value of the funds and there was a RJIS custody fee of about £20/mo.

At the time the funds invested in the following sectors:
Consumer discretionary
Consumer staples
Energy
Financials
Healthcare
Industrials
IT
Materials (commodities)
Telecoms
Utilities

Each fund had about 140 companies mostly well known in the UK but also a few unknowns (at least to me). There were 37 countries represented and the funds were most overweight in the US, Brazil and Switzerland and most underweight in the UK, Japan and Canada versus the MSCI World (Sterling) Index, which is the benchmark Fischer uses.

At the same time I chose to invest a smaller portion of my investment pot in AIM oil stocks having worked in the oil E&P industry for many years. After about 9 months I realised that my own investment in a handful of AIM “oilies” were doing substantially better than the Fisher funds. I was up about 50% whereas one of the two funds was actually down about 7% (2.25% of which was the initial fee). I elected to withdraw about 55% of the total funds which took me well below the minimum investment amount; you require £250k to become a client. There was no problem doing so.

I retained 45% invested primarily because of weekly and quarterly commentaries that Fisher provided. The quarterly reviews contained, in my estimation, very high quality research and quantitative insights into the world’s financial situation. There was also a quarterly client portfolio valuation report.

I put the funds that had been withdrawn into existing and new AIM oil stocks and continued to achieve remarkable capital growth. By January 2011 the AIM portfolio was up over 80%. I elected to close the Fisher account despite some concern that this would mean losing the commentaries but at the time they did not appear to be directly relevant to the AIM market. Again there was no problem withdrawing the funds. There had been a strong recovery in 4Q 2010 so by the time I exited in Jan 2011 I was able to so at a very small profit of 1% after taking into account the initial fee, which was effectively about 3% due to my earlier withdrawal.

As luck would have it the markets turned in 2011 and AIM oil companies in particular suffered a big down turn in 2011. Do I regret the initial withdrawal? No, the Fisher funds are extremely large and I did not feel they were nimble enough to capture what upside there was in the first half of 2010. Do I regret closing the account? Yes, my overall investment portfolio became unbalanced and I over committed to AIM at the wrong time. Having said that I remain ahead by having invested in AIM but I am carrying greater risk going forward.

My history with them was brief but my sense is that they will deliver steady returns. I was shown a graph showing fund performance to be significantly ahead of the MSCI World Index over the period 1995 – 2009. Average annualised return was 9%, however the vast majority of the absolute returns were obtained up to 2000.

As well as the weekly and quarterly publications there is an annual client seminar with a meal and presentation by Ken Fisher and his senior analysts. They run it at lunch and dinner to provide flexibility. I also had a client advisor based in California who would ring me from time to time for a chat about the market and how things were going.

I will finish with an extract from the 4Q2010 Quarterly Review which included a discussion of the outlook for 2011.

“After two years of above-average global equity market returns, we believe 2011 will continue the bull market but with more flattish results – up a bit or maybe even down a bit. This would be typical of a bull market’s third year – which is set to begin in March. Further, we expect increasing dispersion of returns through the year with a potential change in leadership categories. (The review went on to discuss how they expected health care, utilities and consumer staples would play a more prominent role than emerging markets, commodities and energy shares in 2011.) We believe 2011 will be in many ways reminiscent of 1960, 1977, 1994, and 2005 – a pause that refreshes before the next major up-leg, and not unusual in the course of a full bull market.”

The review showed a table of 12 separate bull markets from 1932 and the S&P 500 price level return averaged +3.7% in the third 12 month period. This period finishes in early March 2012 so strictly speaking we would have to wait until then to judge the outcome. However the comments with respect to 2011 appear slightly optimistic as the Index fell about 9%, which is worse than all bar one of the 12 previous bull markets. But then many of 2011 events were unpredictable.

So in conclusion I think they are client focused, do offer a broad exposure to world markets and have consistently outperformed the MSCI World Index. It is a pity that you have to make such a large initial commitment. I wish I could read their comments on the outlook for 2012 lol!

Hope this helps,

Regards,

PW

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Powerful Pierre on 04/01/2012(UTC), chazza on 05/01/2012(UTC), Guest on 11/03/2013(UTC), Guest on 31/10/2013(UTC)
Powerful Pierre
Posted: 04 January 2012 21:48:21(UTC)
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Whoops - sorry, Steve. Just seen that you went with Fisher in 2008.
Powerful Pierre
Posted: 04 January 2012 22:05:15(UTC)
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Gramacho/PW

This is very helpful. Much of what you say is in the standard Fisher propaganda, but I'm interested to see the 0.5% annual charge (they quoted me 1.5% pa and an initial fee of 1%. Also glad to see that they seem flexible when you wanted to withdraw cash below their threshold.

At least they don't sound like charlatans!

Pierre
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Guest on 17/01/2013(UTC)
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