October 10, 2019
by Bloomberg and AdvisorHub
Charles “Chip” Roame, a wealth management consultant who moderated a panel in which Ken Fisher reportedly made offensive allusions to women, barred the billionaire Fisher Investments founder from attending future conferences his firm holds for wealth executives.
“I was extremely disappointed by the comments that I heard in the way that I understood them,” Tiburon Strategic Advisors Managing Partner Charles “Chip” Roame said Thursday in a prepared statement.
Roame, whose firm charges a $25,000 annual membership fee that includes attendance at its “invitation-only” summits, encouraged members to circulate the response posted on Tiburon’s website but said he would have “no further comment on the specifics of this unacceptable incident.”
Fisher, whose financial planning and investment management firm oversees $112 billion of assets for retail and institutional clients, on Tuesday likened money manager’s yen for mandates to a hunger “to get into a girl’s pants.”
He also sprinkled his remarks with references to genitalia, according to attendees at the Tiburon conference and to a video that one male advisor at the conference posted on Twitter.
“There remain disagreements as to exactly what was said, how it was intended and how it was interpreted,” wrote Roame, who has been criticized for not responding with immediate force to Fisher’s remarks. “I can, in no way, condone or find acceptable what I heard in the way that I understood its intent.”
Citing a 2017 study showing that women comprised 39% of brokerage industry employees but had only 19% of senior and executive-level management roles, Roame wrote that “results in wealth & investment management are horrible.”
Sara Grillo, a marketing consultant to financial advisors, RIA firms, and broker dealers who was not at the conference, urged Fisher Investments customers to end their relationship with the fee-only advisory firm.
“I’m hoping that the institutional community will vote with their dollar signs, because that is what will make the most impact,” she said. “I’d love it if the retail investors do that as well.”
A spokesman for Fisher did not return calls to AdvisorHub for comment.
Fisher, 68, told Bloomberg on Wednesday that he was taken aback by the reaction.
“I have given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response,” he said, adding he thought his comments were taken out of context.
“I regret I accepted that speech invitation because it was kind of a pain in the neck,” he said, noting that he has made similar remarks before without backlash. “I wonder if anybody will be candid at one of these Tiburon events again.”
In his website statement, Roame said he will defend his firm’s inclusive culture at any cost.
“Tiburon has removed dozens of prior Tiburon CEO Summit attendees from the Tiburon CEO Summit invitee list for a variety of reasons, including insulting comments, disrespectful remarks, sales efforts, and lack of discretion,” he wrote.
He wrote that he would not name the people “because this issue is not about one person.”
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