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If you’ve spent much time on investment sites, you’ve no doubt heard of Fisher Investments or at least its founder, Ken Fisher. As of January 12, 2018, the firm managed over $100 billion in assets for more than 40,000 private clients and 175 institutions, and it has been called one of the largest independent wealth managers in the U.S.
If you haven’t heard of Fisher or his company — or if you have and you’ve never investigated further — here’s our Fisher Investments review.
Our Rating – 9.5
Fisher Investments is designed for investors who are looking for traditional full-service investment management, including live contact with real investment counselors.
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What Is Fisher Investments?
Founded in 1979, Fisher Investments is an independent, privately-owned money management firm. The company currently serves more than 40,000 high net worth individuals, as well as more than 175 institutional clients. “High net worth” is generally defined as individuals with a liquid net worth of at least $500,000.
The firm employs more than 2,500 people and is based in Camas, Washington, with additional US offices in California, and Texas. It currently offers its services to clients in several different countries across Europe, as well as Japan, Dubai, and Australia.
Who Is Ken Fisher?
Ken Fisher was an investment columnist for Forbes magazine from 1984 to 2017. He has written 11 books, as well as research papers in the area of behavioral finance. He currently writes for several publications including USA Today, Financial Times, Borsen in Denmark, DE Telegraaf in The Netherlands, and Focus Money in Germany.
In 2018 he was determined to be worth $3.6 billion and is on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. Investment Advisor magazine has listed him as one of the 30 most influential people in the investment advisory business for the past 30 years.
15-Minute Retirement Plan – Is It Good?
Running out of money in retirement is one of the biggest risks investors face. Working your whole life to gather enough wealth for retirement, only to realize too late it’s just not enough, can be devastating.
The company created a valuable guide to help you understand the important considerations when planning for retirement. The guide answers important questions like:
- How long will your portfolio need to provide for you?
- How do you establish a primary investment objective?
- How can cash distributions and inflation impact your retirement savings?
- What trade-offs might you need to make to meet your goals?
Compared to the length of retirement, 15 minutes is no time at all. But that’s all some experts say you need to learn the basics of developing a plan to make your savings last as long as you need them. Still, many investors don’t take this time, putting their retirement in jeopardy.
Investors’ most significant errors often occur long before any buying or selling takes place. They tend to have poorly defined objectives, no real sense of time horizon and don’t quite understand that any investment has risk/return tradeoffs.
To get a better idea, consider your heredity — your family’s history of health and longevity. Be sure to consider advances in health care and technology. Merely because your father died at 70 doesn’t mean you’ll do the same. Most people outlive their ancestors, hence rising average life expectancies. Planning early for a longer life is smart.
The guide goes on to explain how cash distributions and inflation can impact your portfolio over time.
Many investors underestimate the impact of inflation. Maintaining your lifestyle becomes much more costly if your expenses are heavily tilted to categories of goods or services with fast-rising prices — like health care. Overall inflation has averaged about 3% annually, according to Global Financial Data Inc. A retirement plan that doesn’t account for inflation has a significant hole.
These are just a few of the topics covered by Fisher Investments 15-Minute Retirement Plan.
How Does Fisher Investments Work?
Fisher Investments manages every aspect of an individual’s investment portfolio. The Fisher team creates a tailored portfolio comprised of assets from the U.S. and international markets, including stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cash and/or other securities.
The firm does not take custody of your investments. The accounts are titled in your name at a reputable third-party custodian where Fisher has discretionary control.
You are assigned a dedicated personal Investment Counselor, who will regularly review your individual situation with you and keep you advised of important developments related to your portfolio.
How Your Portfolio Is Determined
Fisher Investments uses several factors to determine your personal portfolio, including your investment time horizon, investment objectives, cash flow requirements, outside assets (those that are not managed by Fisher), outside income, capital gains situation, risk tolerance and any specific personal restrictions or customizations that you require.
Once that information has been determined, Fisher will provide you with a personal portfolio recommendation. You‘ll also be invited to participate in several types of exclusive client events, including regional seminars, investment roundtables, and Fisher Friends gatherings.
The Investment Policy Committee (IPC) makes all strategic investment decisions for client portfolios. The IPC includes five individuals who collectively bring more than 130 years of investment experience to the table.
Although individual and joint accounts are the main focus, Fisher Investments can also work with personal equity plans, self-invested personal pensions, funded retirement benefits arrangements, trusts (including charitable trusts), corporate accounts, open-ended investment company accounts, and generic offshore investments.
Fees and Pricing
Fisher Investments does not charge any commissions for trades, nor do they apply any hidden fees or extra service charges. Instead, the firm charges a competitive fee that is based on the size of your portfolio. The fee is between 1% and 1.5%, depending on the number of investments under management. This fee structure aligns Fisher Investments’ incentives with client interests — when clients do well; Fisher Investments does well.
At 1% to 1.5%, this makes Fisher Investments comparable to fees assessed by typical non-robo-advisor investment management companies. However, this is well above fees typically charged by robo advisors. For example, Wealthfront and Betterment charge just 0.25% to 0.30% of assets under management.
Is Fisher Investments Right for You?
Fisher Investments actively manages investment portfolios through different market environments. If you have no experience managing investments or lack the time, the company will handle the entire process for you.
You’ll also have the availability of a personal investment counselor. The counselor will know your investment situation intimately and help you stay on track. You’re free to talk with him or her at any time. There’s no limit to your access to this resource.
There are no trading commissions charged by Fisher Investments. This is more important than it seems at first glance. When an investment advisor works on a commission basis, there’s an incentive to “churn the account” – trade for the sake of generating commission income. That doesn’t happen with Fisher Investments. Their simple fee arrangement is aligned with your interests.