October 17, 2019 / 4:51 PM / a month ago

Members of Los Angeles pension board ready to drop money manager Ken Fisher

BOSTON (Reuters) - Commissioners of a $23 billion Los Angeles fire and police pension fund are ready to drop the firm of money manager Kenneth Fisher, who is under fire for allegedly making insensitive remarks about women.

Several members of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension board on Thursday said they would like to cut ties with Fisher Investments, which manages about $511 million for the fund.

Pension officials decided, however, they could not do so immediately because of procedural rules, according to a webcast of the meeting.

The board instead said it would schedule a special meeting for Oct 24. One unidentified speaker said she would like Fisher and a member of senior management to appear.

Another commissioner, Pedram Salimpour, said rather than dropping Fisher, the board could take another approach.

“Giving this a few weeks of thought and deliberation is the wise thing to do, from a fiduciary perspective and also from a moral perspective. I’m of the opinion that you use situations like this to make things better,” Salimpour said.

But another speaker voiced concern the fund may not be acting quickly enough as other pensions pull money from Fisher Investments.

“I don’t want to be the last one at the party,” the speaker said. The Los Angeles system should “get out now before we are the last one holding the last bag. I am really concerned about that.”

A spokesman for Fisher did not immediately comment.

So far, pension plans run for Boston, Michigan and Philadelphia have announced they will stop investing more than $900 million with Fisher Investments.

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.

Reporting By Tim McLaughlin, Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Steve Orlofsky

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