Fidelity drops Fisher's money management firm as withdrawals accelerate

FILE PHOTO: Kenneth Fisher, the founder, chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Fisher Investments, speaks at the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit in New York, December 5, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

BOSTON (Reuters) - Fidelity Investments has dropped Fisher Investments as a money manager, a Fidelity spokesman said on Monday, the latest in an accelerating series of withdrawals from the firm over allegedly sexist comments by its leader, Kenneth Fisher.

Fisher had managed $500 million in the $8 billion Fidelity Strategic Advisers Small-Mid Cap Fund FNAPX.O, a mandate the Boston firm said last week was under review.

Since then a set of public pension funds also pulled money from Fisher, including funds in Iowa and in the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, bringing total withdrawals to around $1.8 billion. Other systems have Fisher under review including in Florida and Los Angeles.

Fisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a video posted Oct. 9 on Twitter, Alex Chalekian, chief executive of a financial advisory firm, called attention to comments Fisher made at a financial conference last week.

Chalekian said Fisher made derogatory comments about genitalia, picking up girls and financier Jeffrey Epstein, among other topics. Epstein committed suicide in August while in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

In a memo to his firm’s employees on Oct. 11 and sent to Reuters by a spokesman, Fisher said: “It pains me to know that my comments have caused you grief, concern, and indignation. I sincerely apologize.”

At Fidelity, assets previously managed by Fisher have been reallocated within the fund, said Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio.

Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis