Co-Head of DLPR’s Crisis Communications Practice Featured in Financial Advisor IQ
[Excerpted from What Will Save Fisher Investments from Losing More Clients – Oct 25, 2019]
It’s been a little over two weeks since Ken Fisher’s troubles started with what have been characterized as sexist and lewd remarks at a private conference attended by CEOs.
In response, clients have reportedly pulled more than $2 billion in assets from Fisher Investments, where he is the executive chairman and co-CIO …
What can Fisher Investments do to keep the clients that are still with the firm? FA-IQ reached out to three crisis public relations experts …
…Tom Vogel, senior vice president at Dukas Linden Public Relations, whose expertise includes helping clients increase brand value, believes hope is not lost for Fisher.
“We’d suggest sharing a robust statement from the firm on all platforms that acknowledges that Mr. Fisher’s statements were offensive and explains why, apologizes for the same, provides a detailed outline of what the firm plans to do next to ensure this never happens again, confirms that Mr. Fisher’s statement wasn’t emblematic of a larger problem at his firm in how it treats protected groups, and outlines the firm’s code of conduct and steps to be taken when that code isn’t followed.”
“Fisher Investments has built a powerful and effective media and social media platform to promote its services, but it hasn’t deployed it to apologize or explain what it plans to do next. This may suggest to investors and the media that Fisher Investments and Mr. Fisher view this as a bump in the road rather than an existential crisis,” Vogel says…
The silence on those fronts could be intentional rather than an oversight, however, according to Vogel.
“As has often been the case with firms closely identified with their leaders, there may be a reluctance to consider a more radical move. A helpful exercise would be for Fisher Investments to imagine what it would have done if comments by an employee or board member other than Mr. Fisher had caused an existential crisis,” Vogel says.
… Fisher’s troubles could also impact the whole financial advice industry, according to the crisis PR experts …
… “Reputation and credibility are two of the most important assets of anyone managing money or providing financial advice. Experience, capabilities, performance and AUM mean little without a solid reputation and earned credibility,” Vogel says.
“How this episode affects other financial advisors will depend on their reputation and credibility with respect to their use of language in general as well as treatment of protected groups,” he adds.