Fisher Investments Fees & Performance
Many underestimate the role expenses play in portfolio performance. Every dollar kept in your portfolio is more money growing in the market; every dollar lost in expenses is a dollar not working for you. But going with the cheapest firm may not be optimal, either. And some fee structures are confusing or out of line with your interests.
Our Simple, Transparent Fee Structure
We understand the issues fees raise. Hence, ours is a simple and transparent, competitive flat fee based on your portfolio’s size. It is designed to be easy to understand and put your interests first—no hidden commissions, extra service charges or taking unnecessary risk for hedge-fund-like returns. The only additional fees you may incur are trading fees directly billed by the third-party custodian housing your portfolio. But we want to keep these as low as possible, too, since our revenue is based on your portfolio’s size.
We believe Fisher Investments’ fees are often lower than other firms’. Why? Many asset managers charge commissions on products they sell in addition to management fees. Some, like annuity commissions, can be upwards of 10%! This creates huge conflicts of interests. Often, better and more affordable products exist, but commissioned financial professionals are incentivized to sell products providing higher returns for them.
Mutually Aligned Interests
Some firms base their fees on performance, claiming it encourages mutually successful investing. But performance-based fees may mean the manager chases short-term returns to maximize fee collections—and shuns proper risk management in the process. Others determine their fees by asset class, presuming bond management should be cheaper. Yet this can incent a manager to maintain more equity allocation, which may not be appropriate. Both scenarios ignore your personal financial situation and long-term goals. Finally, going totally low cost may seem appealing. But you get what you pay for—often a no-service, do-it-yourself approach. That’s fine if managing your life savings is your forte, you are always cool-headed and rational about markets, and your idea of a splendid retirement is research and management.
When comparing portfolio management services, remember fees misaligned with your interests can jeopardize your retirement goals. We believe a straightforward investment strategy with transparent fees based on the size of your assets is the best way to help clients. When we succeed, our clients succeed.
Many investors make hiring decisions based on historical performance. That’s a dangerous practice—we don’t think you should base your hiring decision purely on past returns. No manager can promise matching past returns, consistent outperformance, or investing without downside risk potential. Markets are forward looking, not backward, and you cannot buy past returns. Selling performance is Wall Street’s way of playing to your greed. We believe that isn’t in your best interests, so we don’t lead with it.