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Kenneth L. Fisher

Kenneth L. Fisher (born November 29, 1950) is an American businessman and the founder, chairman, and CEO of Fisher Investments, a money management firm headquartered in Woodside, California. Fisher writes the monthly “Portfolio Strategy” column in Forbes magazine, contributes to other financial and news magazines, has authored four books, and has written research papers in the field of behavioral finance. [1] Fisher is ranked #271 on the 2007 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans[2] and #677 on Forbes list of world billionaires.[3]



Kenneth L. Fisher was born November 29, 1950 in San Francisco, California, the third and youngest son of Philip A. Fisher, an investor and author of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. Ken Fisher was raised in San Mateo, California. He initially went to Humboldt State University to study forestry, but graduated with a degree in economics in 1972.[4] Upon graduating, he worked for his father’s money management firm in the 1970s, before starting his own firm, Fisher Investments, in 1979.[5] Fisher founded Fisher Investments in 1979, which now manages over $45 billion (as of September 30, 2007) for private clients and institutions. The firm also has offices in both the UK [6] and Germany. [7]

Fisher has been recognized by Humboldt State University as an expert in 19th century redwood logging,[8] and supports ongoing study of redwood ecology. 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. [9] In 2007, 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, the biologist who's featured in Richard Preston's book The Wild Trees.

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. [10][11]

Professional career

Fisher Investments doesn't publicly publish client portfolio performance, though Fisher Investments SEC Public Filings are maintained in the EDGAR public database [12].


  • Ken Fisher has been writing the “Portfolio Strategy” column in Forbes since 1984.[13] Each column details Fisher’s personal market outlook, and usually has 4 to 6 recommended stocks. According to Fisher's January 28th, 2008 column, if an investor bought his 60 recommendations in 2007, the gross return would have been 0.9%, while buying the S&P 500 index would have returned -0.5%. (According to Forbes, all columnists' annual stock picking performance is measured as if equal-sized investments are made at the time the stock pick is published with a 1% transaction fee.) Fisher's stock picks for 2006 returned 15.7% versus the S&P 500's 8.7% (again, using the same methodology). The Russell 3000 Value index returned 22.3% in 2006.
  • Based on stock recommendations in his monthly Forbes columns beginning January, 2001, CXO Advisory Group as of April 28th, 2008 ranks Ken Fisher as tied for the second place with James Oberweis with an accuracy rate of 65%.[14] Other experts in CXO rankings may have longer or shorter measurement periods.
  • Guru Focus, which tracks major stock market gurus based on their 13-F filings, has stopped actively tracking Ken Fisher's stock picks. Fisher's portfolio was last updated with trades estimated to have been made on 08/13/2007.[15]
  • Not everyone has been impressed with Fisher Investments forecasts and performance, according to these articles from: The Wall Street Journal, February 6th, 2004,[16] Business Week, May 10th, 2004,[17] and Salon.Com, February 26th, 2008.[18]
  • Other criticisms have also been levied against Fisher Investments. One complaint is that the company is litigious, filing legal actions against a brokerage firm,[19] former employees [20][21] and a dissatisfied client.[22] To date, Fisher Investments has won four arbitration cases against former employees for violating client confidentiality.[23][24]

Published work

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.[25] In Fisher’s most recent book, The Only Three Questions That Count, he states the PSR, being widely used, is no longer an indicator for undervalued stocks.[26] However, the PSR is still frequently included as required curriculum for the chartered financial analyst exam.[27]

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.[28]

Fisher publishes research in the study of behavioral finance. He has co-authored 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.[29]

Books and other authorship

Fisher has authored four investing books – Super Stocks (Dow Jones, 1984), The Wall Street Waltz (McGraw Hill, 1987), 100 Minds that Made the Market (McGraw Hill, 1993), and The Only Three Questions That Count (John Wiley & Sons, 2006). The Only Three Questions That Count was a New York Times best seller for three months in 2006. Also, it made Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best seller lists.

Fisher wrote the introductions to the Wiley Classics Series re-publications of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits[30], Paths to Wealth through Common Stocks [31], both by Philip A. Fisher, and The Battle for Investment Survival[32] by Gerald M. Loeb. Fisher also wrote the introduction to The Warren Buffett Way by Robert Hagstrom.[33] Fisher's books have been translated to German, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian.[34]

Fisher has also authored investment related articles appearing in Research,[35] Financial Planning,[36] [37] Journal of Portfolio Management, The Financial Analyst’s Journal, The Journal of Investing, The Journal of Psychology, and The Journal of Behavioral Finance,[38] among others. Fisher's "Portfolio Strategy" column in Forbes has appeared monthly for 23 years. In the UK, Fisher has written for Bloomberg Money, Investment Week, and The Financial Times.[39][40] He currently writes monthly columns for UK investment blog Interactive Investor,[2] and a weekly column in a major German newspaper Handelsblatt.[3]

Further reading

  • "Never Enough Fisher," by Anthony W. Haddad and Jonathan Bernard. Equities. September 2007.[4]
  • Market Gurus: Investing Strategies You Can Use from Wall Street's Best by John P. Reese and Todd O. Glassman. Validea Press. 2005.
  • The Money Monarchs: The Secrets of 10 of America's Best Investment Managers by Douglas J. Donnelly. Irwin Professional Pub. 1992.
  • Super Stocks by Kenneth L. Fisher. McGraw Hill. 1990.

Other research

  1. “Market Timing in Regressions and Reality.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Financial Research, Fall 2006: 293-304. [5]
  2. “Market Timing at Home and Abroad.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Investing, Summer 2006: 19-27. [6]
  3. “Sentiment, Value, and Market-Timing.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, Fall 2004: 10-21. [7]
  4. “Consumer Confidence and Stock Returns.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 2003. [8]
  5. “Bubble Expectations.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Wealth Management, Fall 2002: 17-22. [9]
  6. “Blowing Bubbles.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Psychology and Financial Markets, 3.1 (2002): 53-65. [10]
  7. “Cognitive Biases in Market Forecasts.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 2000: 72-81. [11]
  8. “Investor Sentiment and Stock Returns.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, Mar/Apr 2000: 16-23. [12]
  9. “A Behavioral Framework for Time Diversification.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, May/June 1999: 88-97. [13]
  10. “Investment Advice from Mutual Fund Companies.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. The Journal of Portfolio Management, Fall 1997: 9-17. [14]
  11. “The Mean-Variance-Optimization Puzzle: Security Portfolios and Food Portfolios.” Fisher, Kenneth L., and Meir Statman. Financial Analysts Journal, July/Aug 1997: 41-50. [15]


  1. ^
  2. ^ #271 Kenneth Fisher -
  3. ^ Forbes
  4. ^ "Shaking it Up," but Vernon Felton, Humboldt Stater, Fall, 2006.
  5. ^ See "Bay Area Billionaires" by Jennifer Roberts, San Jose Magazine, February, 2007
  6. ^ “Wealth Management.” By Tom Burroughes. The Business. 14 July 2007.
  7. ^ “Fisher Investments expands into Germany.” Reuters, Jul 16, 2007
  8. ^ Humboldt State University
  9. ^ Frank M. Stanger. Sawmills in the Redwoods. San Mateo Historical Society, San Mateo, CA 1992.
  10. ^ Ken Fisher. “The Crashof ’53: Our Country’s Worst Aviation Tragedy.” La Peninsula: The Journal of the San Mateo County Historical Association. Volume XXVII, No. 2.
  11. ^ Ken Fisher. “Kings Mountain’s Colorful History.” La Peninsula: The Journal of the San Mateo County Historical Association. Volume XXVI, No. 3.
  12. ^ Fisher Investments SEC public filings
  13. ^ Ken Fisher Forbes Magazine article archive
  14. ^ CXO Advisory Group Guru Rankings
  15. ^ GuruFocus
  16. ^ The Wall Street Journal: Define Aggressive: Fisher Sales And Marketing Practices
  17. ^ Business Week: Hype From A Financial Guru?
  18. ^ Are we too gloomy about the economy?
  19. ^