Report: #1070700

Complaint Review: Fisher Investments

  • Submitted: Sun, July 28, 2013
  • Updated: Sun, July 28, 2013
  • Reported By: Markus Robinson — Tunkhannock Pennsylvania
  • Fisher Investments
    13100 Skyline Boulevard
    Woodside, Select State/Province

Fisher Investments 3.5 Year Performance consistently below FI's own benchmarks Woodside Californial

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The following review of my 3.5 year Fisher Investments experience along with three other negative Fisher reviews were all mysteriously deleted from  within the last week. Only one positive reveiw remained.  I have reproduced my review here in its entirety.  - Markus Robinson 7/28/2013



I was an investor with Fisher Investments (FI) from early 2010 to July 2013.  FI consistently underperformed the market benchmarks that it set for my account the entire time.  Following further abysmal performance in 2012 I moved half my assets to Janney as a hedge against further poor performance.  Initially I intended to give FI one year to turn things around.  However first half performance continued substantially down and I chose to cut my losses.

On 7/16/2013 I sent FI this email:

[my adviser], Ken Fisher, et. al.,

After almost three and one half years of having FI manage my portfolio I am terminating my relationship with your firm.  As you know, over the ENTIRE period that you managed my account you consistently underperformed the benchmarks established.

With continued under-performance in 2013, I have chosen after six months not to continue losing money with your firm.

*   First half 2013 performance of my FI account is up 4.07%.  The [FI] benchmark is up 4.99%
*   First half 2013 performance of my Janney account is up 6.87%.  The [J] benchmark is up 5.84%

Two factors motivate my decision:

1) At the end of the day, performance is what counts and your firm's performance over this long period gets a failing grade.  We all know that assertions by your representatives about "making up the loss" are unfounded based upon the fundamentals of the time value of money and investment.

2) My experience with my first FI adviser, [name deleted], who provided me with erroneous information about the performance of my account very negatively effected my confidence in your firm.

Please work with my Janney adviser [name deleted], to expedite transfer of my account to Janney at your earliest convenience.

Thank you.
Markus Robinson

Note that the target benchmark FI set for my account was lower than the benchmark target set by Janney. Over the six months Janney outperformed FI by 70%.

A demonstration of FI hubris is evident in the format of their Weekly Financial Report to their clients. At the head of each weekly report, they provide a statement of whether they have over performed or underperfomed the market THAT WEEK.  Thus one is reminded WEEKLY that the people charging you 1.25% to manage your account are losing you money relative to the company's benchmarks week after week. The FI "let's look how we performed THIS week" metric flies in the face of one of the cardinal rules In the financial world; to wit, the importance of having the long view since markets and performance go up and down.  Having the company rub its clients' noses in FI's underperformance week after week after week was something I found utterly unfathomable.  When I wrote a letter to senior management making this point, I was told that my attitude only represented a minority of FI's clients.  

What is unfathomable is that FI would embrace a reporting policy that over a very long  period of underperformance by FI, also negatively effects the psychological well-being of their clients.  Thank you Ken Fisher.  Thank you FI. NOT!

Another striking demonstration of the way the FI investment counsel appears to have been flailing around occurred in 2012.  Towards the beginning of the year, the company made a shift to investing in large cap companies.  Then a few short months later, just as the market was correcting down significantly, the company almost completely sold those positions and opted for a position entirely comprised of even larger megacap companies.  The effect of the double change of strategy in 2012 was what my late FI investor described to me a couple of days ago as "catastrophic" for FI client 2012 annual results since the double churn in the accounts negatively effected overall portfolio performance quite dramatically.

Over the six month period of my direct comparison of FI and Janney performance, each managing half of my portfolio, not only did Janney significantly outperform FI on the upside, but it also outperformed FI on the downside.  That is, as the market experienced pull-backs in 2013, the amount of the pull back in my Janney account was less than the amount of the pullback in my FI account.  What I've learned by the sad experience, is the importance of having a more diversified portfolio investment strategy.  That is a significant component of the Janney strategy and appears to be only a secondary component of the FI strategy.  The timing of the 2012 FI decision was unfortunate.  But their strategy of putting ALL their investors' assets into this megacap bucket strikes me as too "all or nothing."

This is a company experiencing a deep and prolonged slump in performance.  Ken Fisher may have had the magic "back in the day."  But to this investor's significant loss, he and his firm haven't had it for the last 3.5 years.  That is a very long slump, and it cost me very dearly.

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