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Fisher Investments Review

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Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments is a global money management firm headquartered in Camas, Washington. The fee-only financial advisor firm has $96 billion in assets under management. It is divided into four main businesses: Fisher Investments Institutional Group, Fisher Investments Private Client Group, Fisher Investments 401(k) Solutions Group and Fisher Investments International Group.

Fisher Investments has clients across the U.S., Europe, Canada, Asia and the Middle East, including more than 40,000 private clients and over 175 large institutions. Though it generally calls for a $500,000 account minimum, the firm may selectively accept a lower minimum of $200,000 for its WealthBuilder accounts, allowing lower-level investors to work with the firm’s financial advisors. High-net-worth clients still comprise the largest percentage of its client base, though it also works with pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations, state or municipal government entities and other investment advisors.

Fisher Investments Background

Fisher Investments was founded in 1979 by Ken Fisher, a renowned figure in the investment world. Fisher penned his "Portfolio Strategy" column for Forbes magazine for over 30 years and has written 11 books. Investment Advisor Magazine has named Fisher one of the 30 most influential figures in the investment advisory business for the last three decades. Fisher currently serves as the firm's executive chairman and co-chief investment officer.

Since its founding nearly 40 years ago, Fisher Investments has grown to serve clients across the globe. It is a privately held, fee-only firm.

What Types of Clients Does Fisher Investments Accept?

As mentioned previously, Fisher Investments’ private client base is a majority high-net-worth individuals, as the firm generally requires at least $500,000 in investable assets to open an account. The only exception to this is WealthBuilder accounts, which are approved on a case-by-case basis and require a much lower minimum of $200,000. Additionally, the firm accepts smaller account sizes at its discretion, though these accounts - as well as all WealthBuilder accounts - will be subject to a higher fee rate of 1.50%. Because of these stipulations, Fisher Investments also works with a number of non-high-net-worth individuals.

Additionally, Fisher Investments works with corporations, retirement plans, public and multi-employer pension funds, foundations, endowments, governments and investment companies. 

Fisher Investments Minimum Account Sizes

Fisher Investments generally works with clients who have at least $500,000 in investable assets, though it may accept smaller accounts at its discretion. However, the firm has a lower expected minimum for its WealthBuilder account. For these accounts, Fisher Investments may accept, on a case-by-case basis, a minimum of $200,000 in investable assets.

Services Offered by Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments' services for private clients include portfolio management, annuity conversion, financial planning and retirement planning. Its portfolio management services are divided into three categories, each of which is aimed at maximizing returns within risk parameters:

  • Equity accounts: mainly use common stock and cash equivalents
  • Fixed income accounts: mainly use various fixed income instruments and cash
  • Balanced accounts: use a combination of stocks, fixed income instruments and cash

Fisher Investments' institutional services include institutional investing and 401(k) solutions for businesses.

Investment Philosophy

Fisher Investments believes in having a flexible investment strategy, as the firm thinks that no one investment strategy is always superior. Thus, the firm takes an active approach to investing so it can respond to the markets and make changes to client portfolios as necessary. The firm will also determine appropriate investment strategies based on projected market conditions, using a framework called The Four Market Conditions.

Fisher Investments adheres to four fundamental principles when building and managing its client portfolios in order to meet clients' long-term objectives. It selects a benchmark, which then serves as the framework for constructing the portfolio, managing risk and monitoring performance. The firm then analyzes the benchmark's components and assigns expected risk and return. The firm's third principle is to use a combination of dissimilar securities to balance risk versus reward. Lastly, the firm vows to always remember it could be wrong, so it sticks to the three aforementioned principles.

The firm's Investment Policy Committee is responsible for making investment decisions. The team takes a top-down approach, focusing first on asset allocation. The firm believes that asset allocation is the primary driver of portfolio performance. Asset allocations are customized according to various personal factors, including clients’ time horizons, risk tolerances, cash flow needs and outside assets. That step is followed by sub-asset allocation, which focuses on deciding which countries or market-sectors are likely to outperform. From there, the firm selects specific securities.

Fees Under Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments typically bills its private clients based on a percentage of assets under management. WealthBuilder accounts, as well as any accounts that are below the $500,000 threshold, will be billed at an annual rate of 1.50%. Otherwise, clients are charged on a tiered schedule based the amount of assets under management and the type of account: 

Equity and Balanced Accounts
Amount of Assets Annual Management Fee
First $1 million 1.25%
Next $4 million 1.125%
Additional amounts over $5 million 1.00%

 

Income Only Accounts (above $5 million)
Amount of Assets Annual Management Fee
First $5 million 0.75%
Next $10 million 0.50%
Next $10 million 0.43%
Next $10 million 0.38%
Next $10 million 0.33%
Next $45 million 0.28%

In addition to these fees, clients will may also pay brokerage commissions, other custodian fees and expenses associated with investing in ETFs or structured notes.

The table below illustrates how Fisher Investments compares to some of its competitors. Note that these fees are estimates and exact fees may vary depending various factors:

Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Fisher Investments Equity and Balanced Accounts National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K $6,250 $5,000
$1MM $12,500 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $57,500 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $107,500 $50,000
*Fee estimates only consider the maximum base fees for the services each firm provides. You may also pay manager fees and other fees, which can vary in amount.**All figures are based on median fee levels according to Bob Veres' 2017 Planning Profession Fee Survey. The above estimates solely take into account AUM-only fees. Total costs will likely be higher due to additional expenses.

Fisher Investments Awards and Recognition

Fisher Investments has won an impressive number of awards in recent years. In 2017, the firm was ranked No. 2 on InvestmentNews' list of the top 10 U.S.-based, fee-only registered investment advisors. For the last four consecutive years, it’s been named among the top 300 financial advisors by Financial Times. In 2016, Fisher Investments was ranked No. 164 on the Pensions & Investments / Towers Watson list of the world's 500 largest money managers.

In more specific categories, Fisher Investments was named a top retirement advisor by Financial Times in 2017. It also landed a spot on the National Association of Plan Advisors' 2017 list of the top defined contribution advisor firms.

What to Watch Out For

There aren't many caveats about Fisher Investments. It doesn't have any disclosures, which isn't always the case with massive wealth management firms. However, since Fisher Investments is privately owned and isn't part of a larger institution like many other huge wealth management firms, it can't offer access to services like banking or trusts as part of its package.

Disclosures

Fisher Investments does not have any disclosures. 

Opening an Account With Fisher Investments

On its website, Fisher Investments provides two ways for prospective clients to get in touch: a dedicated phone number for new clients and a contact form. On the form, prospective clients have the option to send a message or request an appointment with an investment advisor. Prospective clients can also search Fisher Investments locations on the firm’s website to find out if there is an office nearby.

Every private client is assigned a dedicated investment counselor. The firm's Investment Policy Committee provides quarterly statements and reviews. Twice a year, the firm releases videos in which the committee details the firm's outlook. 

Where Is Fisher Investments Located?

Fisher Investments is headquartered in Camas, Washington, which lies on the Columbia River and is considered part of the Portland metropolitan area. The firm also has offices in Atlanta; Dallas; Denver; San Mateo, California, Woodside; California; Conshohocken, Pennsylvania and Tempe, Arizona. It also has a presence abroad, with offices in Germany and the U.K.

Investing Tips for Beginners

  • Consider how much risk you’re willing to take. Your risk tolerance will be key to determining your asset allocation. For instance, if you're a cautious investor or you're new to investing, a very conservative portfolio that consists primarily of investments like cash and bonds might be best.
  • If you’re not sure where to start or you think you could benefit from further guidance, don’t hesitate to get help. A financial advisor can help you determine your risk tolerance and long-term financial goals so you can invest accordingly. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool makes it easier to find a nearby financial advisor who suits your needs. Answer some questions about your financial situation and goals and then the program will pair you with up to three registered investment advisors for your consideration.

How Many Years $1 Million Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about cost of living in retirement there.

Least
Most
Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities. Using that calculation, we determined how many years $1 million would last in retirement in each major city.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors throughout the country. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Finally, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would last in each of the cities in our study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research