Fisher apologizes for remarks, is barred from Tiburon events

Sabrina Willmer and Gwen Everett

Two days after billionaire Ken Fisher made a series of offensive comments at an event that were condemned by attendees, he now says he’s really sorry.

“Some of the words and phrases I used during a recent conference to make certain points were clearly wrong and I shouldn’t have made them,” Fisher said Thursday in a statement. “I realize this kind of language has no place in our company or industry. I sincerely apologize.”

Ken Fisher

At the event in California on Tuesday, Fisher spoke about how he built his company, Fisher Investments, which manages $112 billion. He compared the process of gaining a client’s trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants” and talked about genitalia.

Soon after his remarks became public in a video posted on Twitter by a financial adviser, Fisher issued a statement through his spokesman and said his comments were misunderstood.

“While I said words he cited I don’t think he heard me correctly and clearly misconstrued my meaning and certainly my intended meaning,” Fisher said Wednesday. “To the extent he and any others were offended I apologize truly and sincerely.”

Later, in an interview with Bloomberg, he expressed surprise by the reaction to his remarks.

“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,” Fisher said. “Mostly the audience understands what I am saying.”

Fisher’s apology on Thursday came after the conference organizer barred him from attending future events.

Tiburon Strategic Advisors Managing Partner Charles “Chip” Roame said he was “extremely disappointed,” according to a statement posted on the organization’s website.

The “comments lacked the dignity and respect that should be expected by any Tiburon CEO Summit speaker or attendee” and “I further barred the speaker from ever attending again,” Roame said.

Roame said the remarks added to the gender diversity problem in the wealth and management industry. In one study he cited, women accounted for 58% of employees in the financial services industry, but only 48% of first and mid-level management roles and 31% of senior and executive level management roles.