Kenneth Fisher

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Kenneth Fisher
BornKenneth Lawrence Fisher
1950 (age 63–64)[1]
San Francisco, California, United States
ResidenceWoodside, California
Alma materHumboldt State University
OccupationFounder, chairman, and CEO of Fisher Investments
Net worthIncreaseUS $ 2.3 billion (est.)
(September 2013)[2]
RelativesPhilip A. Fisher (father)
FamilyMarried, 3 children
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Kenneth Fisher
BornKenneth Lawrence Fisher
1950 (age 63–64)[1]
San Francisco, California, United States
ResidenceWoodside, California
Alma materHumboldt State University
OccupationFounder, chairman, and CEO of Fisher Investments
Net worthIncreaseUS $ 2.3 billion (est.)
(September 2013)[2]
RelativesPhilip A. Fisher (father)
FamilyMarried, 3 children

Kenneth Lawrence Fisher (born November 29, 1950) is an American investment analyst, and the founder, chairman, and CEO of Fisher Investments, a money management firm with offices in Woodside, California, San Mateo, California, and Camas, Washington. Fisher writes a monthly column in Forbes magazine, contributes to other financial and news magazines, has written seven books, and has written research papers in the field of behavioral finance. Fisher is on the 2011 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans[3] and Forbes list of world billionaires, and as of 2011 was worth $1.7 billion.[4] In 2010, he was named to Investment Advisor magazine's "30 for 30" list of the 30 most influential people on the investment advisory business over the last 30 years.[5] As of 2010, Fisher’s firm manages $41.3 billion in 38,521 customer accounts[6] and has been called the largest wealth manager in the United States.[7]

Life and work[edit]

Kenneth L. Fisher was born in San Francisco, California, the third and youngest son of Dorothy (née Whyte), from Arkansas, and Philip A. Fisher, an investor and author of three books, most notably Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits.[8]

Fisher was raised in San Mateo, California. He went to Humboldt State University to study forestry, but graduated with a degree in economics in 1972.[9] Citing contributions to the finance world and the ongoing study of redwood ecology, Humboldt State recognized Fisher with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007.[10] After graduating, Fisher worked for his father, Philip Fisher, who was a noted money manager and author. Fisher started his own company, Fisher Investments, in 1979.[11] Fisher has three adult sons, Nathan, Jesse and Clayton (the eldest).[12]

In 2007, Fisher and Thomas Grüner founded "Grüner Fisher Investments".[13] In 2009, Fisher received the inaugural Tiburon CEO Summit award for Challenging Conventional Wisdom. Charles Schwab received the inaugural award for Maintaining a Focus on Consumer Needs.[14] Fisher also has a Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Award for published research.[14] In 2010, Forbes published an accounting of Fisher’s stock pick performance, as made in his columns, over the last 14 years. His stock picks beat the S&P 500 overall on average, and have beat the S&P in 11 years out of 14 (as measured by Forbes).[15] In 2011, Fisher was ranked as one of the top 25 most influential figures in the financial industry by Investment Advisor Magazine.[16] In November 2013, Forbes reported that Fisher had reduced his share four telecoms companies by more than 95%. These firms included AT&T, Verizon Communications, Vodafone Group and China-based China Mobile. [17]

Published research[edit]

Fisher’s theoretical work identifying and testing the price-to-sales ratio (PSR) is detailed in his 1984 Dow Jones book, Super Stocks. James O'Shaughnessy credits Fisher with being the first to define and use the PSR as a forecasting tool.[18] In Fisher’s 2006 book, The Only Three Questions That Count, he states the PSR is widely used and known, and no longer as useful as an indicator for undervalued stocks.[19] However, the PSR is still frequently included as required curriculum for the Chartered Financial Analyst exam and has allowed Mr. Fisher to successfully miss significant portions of several bear markets over his career.[20]

Small-cap value was not defined as an investing category until the late 1980s. Fisher Investments was among the institutional money managers offering small-cap value investing to clients in the late 1980s.[21]

Fisher does research in the study of behavioral finance. He has coauthored several research papers on the topic in collaboration with Meir Statman, the Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.[22]

Specifically, some of Fisher's research has been on the supposed link between stock market P/E ratios and stock prices. In a paper published in 2000, Fisher jointly with Statman found there to be no meaningful link between a stock's P/E or its dividend yield and its future return.[23]

Fisher also studied the relationship between consumer confidence and stock returns. Their research shows there to be no statistically significant link, meaning consumer confidence doesn't seem to predict future stock returns.[24]

As of 2009, Fisher has authored over 18 research papers on topics ranging from stock markets to consumer confidence to behavioral finance.[25]

Books and other authorship[edit]

Fisher has authored seven investing books including Super Stocks (Dow Jones, 1984), The Wall Street Waltz (McGraw-Hill, 1987), 100 Minds that Made the Market (McGraw-Hill, 1993), The Only Three Questions That Count (John Wiley & Sons, 2006), The Ten Roads to Riches (John Wiley & Sons, 2008), How To Smell A Rat (John Wiley & Sons, 2009), Debunkery (John Wiley & Sons, 2010), and The Markets Never Forget (John Wiley & Sons, 2011). The Only Three Questions That Count, The Ten Roads to Riches, How to Smell a Rat, Debunkery, and The Markets Never Forget were all bestsellers.

Fisher wrote the introductions to the Wiley Classics Series re-publications of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits,[26] Paths to Wealth Through Common Stocks,[27] both by Philip A. Fisher, and The Battle for Investment Survival[28] by Gerald M. Loeb. Fisher also wrote the introduction to The Warren Buffett Way by Robert Hagstrom.[29] Fisher's books have been translated to German, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian.[30]

Fisher has also authored investment-related articles appearing in Research Magazine,[31] Financial Planning,[32][33] Journal of Portfolio Management, The Financial Analyst’s Journal, The Journal of Investing, The Journal of Psychology, and The Journal of Behavioral Finance,[22] among others. Fisher's "Portfolio Strategy" column in Forbes has appeared monthly for over 25 years. In the UK, Fisher has written for Bloomberg Money, Investment Week, and The Financial Times.[34][35] He currently writes monthly columns for UK investment blog Interactive Investor International,[12] and a weekly column in a major German newspaper Focus Money.

Fisher has launched a publishing imprint in partnership with John Wiley & Sons, Fisher Investments Press.[13] Books published under the imprint so far include Own the World, 20/20 Money, and a series of sector investing guides.[14]

In 2010, John Wiley & Sons published The Making of a Market Guru: Forbes Presents 25 Years of Ken Fisher by Aaron Anderson, commemorating Fisher's over 25 years of writing a regular column for Forbes.

1984sSuper Stocks1984s best-selling stock market book covering fundamental analysis ratios now commonly used by analysts
1987sThe Wall Street WaltzNew insight into investing in stocks while keeping the historical perspective intact
1993s100 Minds That Make the MarketCameo biographies of the pioneers of American financial history.
2006sThe Only Three Questions That Count[36]Ken Fisher shows investors how they can find more usable information and improve their investing success rate.
2008sThe Ten Roads to Riches[37]The Ways the Wealthy Got There (And How You Can Too!)
2009sHow to Smell a Rat[38]The Five Signs of Financial Fraud
2010sDebunkery[39]This book is 50 short lessons on all the ways people mess it up in investing.
2011sMarkets Never Forget[40]How Your Memory Is Costing You Money and Why This Time Isn't Different.

Arbitration Award Against Fisher Investments[edit]

On July 7, 2011, Bloomberg News reported that, according to an interim arbitration award, "Fisher Investments Inc. may have to pay damages of $376,075 for breaching its fiduciary duty to a retired investor", Sharyn Silverstein. According to the arbitrator, Karen Wilcutts, Silverstein contacted Fisher Investments to request a copy of a free book. According to Bloomberg: "In conversations with Fisher representatives in 2007 Silverstein made it clear that she and her husband, Seth, intended to take withdrawals from their investments after her husband retired, which he was planning to do at the end of that year, the [interim award] said. When her assigned investment counselor with the firm drew up her recommended portfolio... he entered that she had no income needs from her portfolio and that her only objective was to increase the value of her investments at the time of her death. The Silversteins have no children and therefore have no need to leave an inheritance, the award said." 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.

A Fisher Investments spokesman described the interim award to Silverstein as "completely wrong on the law and the facts". He continued,

With more than 25,000 clients, losing an arbitration once every seven years is a record far better than any major competitor, which underscores the integrity of our firm."[41]

Interest in Redwoods[edit]

Fisher's ongoing study of redwood ecology, particularly the emerging field of study of redwood canopies appears to have grown from a love which developed in the 1950s while growing up in San Mateo, CA two blocks from Crystal Springs Canyon near ancient redwood logging camps.[42] Fisher even lived in an elaborate two story tree house in McKinleyville, CA for a period of time. The home was outfitted with a phone, wood burning cook stove, skylight, and electricity.[43]

Shortly after graduating college from Humboldt State University Fisher moved his family to Kings Mountain located in Woodside, CA (at the northern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco, separating the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco Bay and the Santa Clara Valley in the redwoods). This was the same mountain and remote canyons he hiked through in 1967 as a teenager and found what would be his first deserted trapper's cabin.[42]

Fisher is regarded as one of the world's foremost experts on 19th century logging and has documented more than 35 abandoned mill sites in the northern Santa Cruz Mountains.[42] Fisher's personal library has more than 3000 volumes of regional logging history.[44]

Fisher's hobbies include history of Kings Mountain, California, 19th century redwood lumbering history, as well as lumbering history in general and everything about trees.[45] In 1992, Fisher wrote the introduction to the second edition of Sawmills in the Redwoods by Frank M. Stanger. In it, Fisher details his own experiences locating, excavating, and cataloging artifacts from 1890’s era steam-powered sawmills on Kings Mountain in San Mateo County, CA.[46] He also funded publication costs for a "new" edition which was previously out-of-print and is available at the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City, CA.[47]

Fisher has thousands of 1800s redwood forest logging artifacts like the removable teeth from an old circular saw blade, oxen shoes and photographs.[48] Items among the thousands of artifacts, double iron shoes from oxen that hauled the logs, old radio batteries, an ebony-handled dinner knife, pulleys, a corner spool that guided cables in Purisima Canyon (part of the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve), and hundreds of bottles, including an opium bottle. "The bottles help me date the mill sites," he says.[42]

During forest hikes Fisher also found a foot long twisted and melted piece of metal from the passenger plane BCPA Flight 304 that crashed into Kings Mountain, El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, in 1953 with 19 passengers on its way to SFO from Honolulu in presumably thick fog.[48]

In 2006, Fisher established the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology for the Department of Biological Sciences at Humboldt State University, currently held by Stephen Sillett,[49] the biologist who's featured, along with Sillett's brother and his wife, in Richard Preston's 2007 book The Wild Trees.[50] "Fisher is particularly drawn to Sillett's pioneering work, amazed at the botanist's discovery of elevated communities of crustaceans, lichens, other organisms, tiny ponds and rich soil deposits high in the trees.[44] The Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology is highly involved in the study of redwood trees, especially redwood canopy studies.[51] Fisher's goal in creating the chair was to transform our understanding of trees and forests.[51] It is the world's first endowed chair devoted to a single species.[51]

A grant from Mr. Fisher made it possible for the Save-the-Redwoods League to begin using LiDar (Light Detection And Ranging, also LADAR) to measure redwood heights and measure biodiversity of the California North Coast redwood forest. LiDar is an optical remote sensing technology that can measure the distance to, or other properties of a target by illuminating the target with light, often using pulses from a laser. The League feels this can be useful in reforestation efforts, and also in finding trees that may surpass the Hyperion in height.[52]

Fisher also contributes frequently to historical research for San Mateo County, writing most frequently on King's Mountain redwood logging and settlement history and other historical San Mateo events.[53][54] Based on his expertise in California Redwoods and Redwood logging history, Fisher provided a peer review of chapters five and six of Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History.[55]

Fisher has also helped launch and fund the Save-the-Redwoods League climate change initiative, which aims to study the impact of climate change on coastal Redwoods.[56] Fisher is the Task Force Co-Chair, for their Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative.[57] Fisher is also matching contributions to the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative up to $500,000.[58][59]

Further reading[edit]

Other research[edit]

  1. “Market Timing in Regressions and Reality.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Financial Research, Fall 2006: 293-304. [16]
  2. “Market Timing at Home and Abroad.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Investing, Summer 2006: 19-27. [17]
  3. “Sentiment, Value, and Market-Timing.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, Fall 2004: 10-21. [18]
  4. “Consumer Confidence and Stock Returns.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 2003. [19]
  5. “Bubble Expectations.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Wealth Management, Fall 2002: 17-22. [20]
  6. “Blowing Bubbles.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Psychology and Financial Markets, 3.1 (2002): 53-65. [21]
  7. “Cognitive Biases in Market Forecasts.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 2000: 72-81. [22]
  8. “Investor Sentiment and Stock Returns.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, March/April 2000: 16-23. [23]
  9. “A Behavioral Framework for Time Diversification.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, May/June 1999: 88-97. [24]
  10. “Investment Advice from Mutual Fund Companies.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 1997: 9-17. [25]
  11. “The Mean-Variance-Optimization Puzzle: Security Portfolios and Food Portfolios.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, July/August 1997: 41-50. [26]


  1. ^ "The World's Billionaires: #764 Kenneth Fisher". Forbes. 
  2. ^ "Ken Fisher - Forbes". Forbes. November 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ Forbes |url= missing title (help). 
  4. ^ "#721 Kenneth Fisher". Forbes. 10 March 2010. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Sullivan, John. "Fines, Awards Slapped on JP Morgan, Fisher Investments, Merrill Clearing". Advisorone. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Green, James. "Doing it Right". Advisorone. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ "Shaking it Up," but Vernon Felton, Humboldt Stater, Fall, 2006.
  10. ^
  11. ^ See "Bay Area Billionaires" by Jennifer Roberts, San Jose Magazine, February 2007
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ [4]
  14. ^ a b [5]
  15. ^ Fisher, Ken (8 February 2010). "Recovery, Part Two". Forbes. 
  16. ^ McBride, Kathleen (May 4, 2011). AdvisorOne  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^
  18. ^ What Works on Wall Street by James O'Shaughnessy. McGraw-Hill, 2005.
  19. ^ The Only Three Questions that Count: Investing by Knowing what Others Don’t. Kenneth Fisher with Jennifer Chou and Lara Hoffmans. John Wiley & Sons. 2006
  20. ^ CFA Institute publications website
  21. ^ The Heretic
  22. ^ a b Scholarly papers coauthored by Kenneth Fisher
  23. ^ “Cognitive Biases in Market Forecasts.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 2000: 72-81. [6]
  24. ^ “Consumer Confidence and Stock Returns.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 2003. [7]
  25. ^
  26. ^ Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings. Phillip A. Fisher. John Wiley & Sons. 2003.
  27. ^ Paths to Wealth through Common Stocks. Phillip A. Fisher. John Wiley & Sons. 2007.
  28. ^ The Battle for Investment Survival. Gerald M. Loeb. John Wiley & Sons. 2007.
  29. ^ The Warren Buffett Way, Second Edition. Robert G. Hagstrom. John Wiley & Sons. 2005.
  30. ^ John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2007 Annual report
  31. ^ Research : Where Financial Advisors Find Results
  32. ^ We Are the World: Does the current inversion in the U.S. yield curve spell trouble ahead? These days, it's the global yield curve that matters
  33. ^ The Only Three Questions that Count: How can you discover something the crowd doesn't know? It's not so hard to find patterns that will give a bet-able edge
  34. ^ / Markets / Investor's notebook - Insight: History teaches this is just a bull market correction
  35. ^ / Markets / Investor's notebook - Market insight: Be bullish and watch the bears impale themselves
  36. ^ "The Only Three Questions That Count". 
  37. ^ "The Ten Roads to Riches". 
  38. ^ "How to Smell a Rat". 
  39. ^ "Debunkery". 
  40. ^ "Markets Never Forget". 
  41. ^ Ody, Elizabeth. "Kenneth Fisher's Firm Told to Pay $376,000 on Retiree Investment Losses". July 7, 2011, Bloomberg News. Accessed on 7/12/11 at:
  42. ^ a b c d [8]
  43. ^ [9]
  44. ^ a b [10]
  45. ^
  46. ^ Frank M. Stanger. Sawmills in the Redwoods. San Mateo Historical Society, San Mateo, CA 1992.
  47. ^
  48. ^ a b
  49. ^ Kenneth L. Fisher • HSU Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology
  50. ^ Preston, Richard (2007). The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6489-2. 
  51. ^ a b c
  52. ^
  53. ^ Ken Fisher. "The Crash of ’53: Our Country’s Worst Aviation Tragedy". La Peninsula: The Journal of the San Mateo County Historical Association. Volume XXVII, No. 2.
  54. ^ Ken Fisher. "Kings Mountain’s Colorful History". La Peninsula: The Journal of the San Mateo County Historical Association. Volume XXVI, No. 3.
  55. ^ Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History. Cachuma Press. Los Olivos, California.
  56. ^ [11]
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^