Ken Fisher launched Fisher Investments in 1979 as a sole proprietorship and Registered Investment Adviser. Most of the firm’s early years were spent in Woodside, a town in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco and set back in the northern-most part of the Santa Cruz mountain range. This area was a logical choice not just because Ken’s home was there, but also because we believe our location was an accurate reflection of our unique approach to investing. While many major banks and investment companies are headquartered in major cities, San Mateo County is full of giant trees and fresh air. In our view, this was appropriately symbolic of our commitment to separating ourselves from the herd-like mentality that other financial advisers and money managers sometimes adopt.
Ken Fisher was professionally trained by his father, Philip Fisher, the investor and money manager who authored Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. Ken started by engaging in different financial activities such as M&A consultancy in the then-emerging field of technology, custom research and portfolio management for institutional clients.
Since 1979, our goal has always been to put our clients’ investment needs first. Our Investment Counselors start with our commitment to understand our clients’ financial objectives and give them the confidence and advice necessary to reach their long-term investing goals. We provide personalized portfolio management tailored to our clients’ needs. Each client receives a portfolio designed to achieve his or her stated financial goals and managed with an investment practice rooted in our own time-tested, top-down investment process and philosophies.
To set ourselves apart from other investment advisers, we focus on unconventional, innovative economic and financial research, rather than the groupthink of Wall Street. Ken Fisher is an innovator in investment theory and author of numerous books and academic studies. In the 1970s, Ken’s theoretical work popularized the analysis tool known as the price-to-sales ratio, which is now an established element of modern finance curriculum. In the 1980s, Ken helped pioneer a school of equity style management called small cap value, now a major investing category for institutional and retail investors.
To continue servicing our clients with the world-class service they deserve, we decided to find another office location in the San Francisco area. In 2006, we opened an office in San Mateo, California. The Woodside office couldn’t accommodate our growing workforce and we needed to provide an easier location for client visits and our employees’ commutes. Strategically located halfway between San Francisco and San Jose, San Mateo was an ideal location because of its proximity to the San Francisco airport, the highway and Silicon Valley. Similar to our initial office location choice, maintaining a location close to Silicon Valley was in part symbolic—like high-tech companies, we approach problem solving with innovative thinking and creativity.
More office space, including offices specifically for client meetings, also was a necessity for our firm. Our clients aren’t merely an account number. They receive proactive service from our Investment Counselors who know them by name and keep them up-to-date on any important changes to their account. Our clients hear from us regularly so they understand what is going on in their account and why. At the same time, we seek to ensure our clients’ requirements are being met.
Keeping employees engaged is an important part of delivering world-class client service, and San Mateo also provides benefits in this regard. San Mateo is convenient for employees commuting from San Francisco proper, and those from other areas have easier access to public transit. Fisher Investments is now a global investment adviser with office locations in several countries, but maintains roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. We now manage money for over 40,000 private clients across the US and many European countries, and more than 175 institutional clients around the world.i
As a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are regulated by the SEC and held to the fiduciary standard, which means we are required to put client interests ahead of our own. Our investment style sets us apart from other advisers—some money managers and most mutual funds focus on narrow market categories that may move in and out of favor. Our Investment Policy Committee invests based on our forward-looking market view and clients’ financial objectives. Although no advice will be correct every time, we believe the lessons we have learned from managing investments through many market cycles give us invaluable insight.
As an investment adviser, we apply a top-down approach when it comes to engineering a portfolio. We believe approximately 70% of long-term portfolio returns are attributable to an optimal mix of securities, which we achieve by analyzing current market conditions, history and behavioral factors. We also use several indicators or “drivers” to determine our outlook and forecast. They include:
Sub-asset allocation also plays a role in selecting securities. We believe approximately 20% of a portfolio’s relative performance can be attributed to sub-asset allocation decisions. Based on the economic, political and sentiment drivers, we determine what would be the most advantageous blend of stocks and bonds.
The remaining 10% of a diversified portfolio’s total return involves selecting securities. We apply fundamental analysis to seek out companies to invest in. We also look to diversify assets across different countries.
Our objective is to choose the optimal long-term strategy and create a customized financial plan for you. To do that, we look at your financial objectives, time horizon, cash flow requirements, outside income and assets, capital gains and risk tolerance.
To learn more about Fisher Investments and our history as an adviser in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, contact us to speak with one of our local representatives about how Fisher Investments can help you reach your long-term financial or retirement goals and objectives.
i As of 04/30/2018.