Fisher Investments Review 2023: Personal Investment Counselors
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If you’ve spent much time learning about investing, you may have heard of Fisher Investments – or at least its founder, Ken Fisher. Fisher Investments has billions of assets under management for tens of thousands of clients from individual investors to corporations.
Fisher Investments offers personal wealth management services, institutional investing services, and business 401(k) services. The Private Client Group, for personal wealth management clients, provides comprehensive investment support including creating and managing your portfolio, helps you plan your financial future, and much more.
So, is Fisher Investments worth considering? Our full Fisher Investments review covers the features and services available with this firm, the pros and cons of choosing this institution over others, and some alternatives to consider if it’s not a good fit. For the purposes of this review, we’ll focus mainly on the private client sector.
What Is Fisher Investments?
Founded in 1979, Fisher Investments is an independent, fiduciary money management firm offering wealth management services to individual investors as well as 401(k) and investing services to larger businesses and institutions. The company provides personalized advising and management for high-net-worth investors using a fee-only structure that assesses flat fees based on total assets.
The firm serves clients around the world and has over $197 billion in assets under management as of 2022 including more than $156 billion within its Private Client Group made up of private investors. Founded by and named after prolific investor Ken Fisher, this firm has been recognized as a top manager, advisor, and firm by publications including The Financial Times and Investor.com.
Who Is Ken Fisher?
Ken Fisher was an investment columnist for Forbes from 1984 through 2016, making him the longest continually running columnist in the magazine’s history. He has written 11 books as well as research papers in the area of behavioral finance. As of 2023, he can still be found doing interviews and writing features for different investment sites.
Pros and Cons of Fisher Investments
- Personalization. Fisher Investments offers a customized and flexible approach to investing. Your portfolio is designed based on your goals and current situation rather than a one-size-fits-all investment strategy.
- Experience. When you pay for wealth management services with this firm, you receive guidance from a high-profile investment team of experts.
- Resources. Fisher Investments offers quarterly investment reports, online videos and commentary, and investment training books for clients. They also hold seminars and provide other educational resources including a retirement guide.
- Fiduciary advising. Fisher Investments is a fiduciary, meaning its advisors are required to act in your best interest rather than trying to sell you certain products to earn more. Fiduciary advising also tends to come with better transparency for investors.
- High fees. The advisory fees with this firm are higher than what you’d pay with a robo advisor or even a hybrid investment company.
- High minimum. The minimum investment for Fisher Investments will be well out of reach for many people. It costs at least $500,000 to open an account, making this firm only a good fit for those with very high net worths.
How Does Fisher Investments Work?
Personal Wealth Management services from Fisher Investments are completely personalized to your investment goals and financial big picture. After signing up, you’ll be paired with an Investment Counselor.
As a client, you’ll have a dedicated Investment Counselor you can talk to about what you’re hoping to accomplish with your money, what goals you need to meet, your timeline for different financial targets, etc.
Your Investment Counselor will serve as a point of contact for you at Fisher Investments to provide you with comprehensive, ongoing support. They will collaborate with specialized teams to oversee your portfolio and offer advice. These teams include:
- Investment Policy Committee – dedicated to company-wide strategic decisions (led by Ken Fisher)
- Portfolio Evaluation Group – dedicated to providing personalized recommendations
- Research Department – dedicated to responding to market changes, in partnership with the Investment Policy Committee
- Trading Team – dedicated to buying and selling securities
- Client Operations – dedicated to processing transactions
Your counselor will regularly review your account and update you with important developments related to your portfolio. You can also reach out with questions at any time.
Following the exploration phase where your Investment Counselor gets to know you and your goals, and you’ve had plenty of opportunities to ask your own questions, Fisher will help you start investing with a third-party custodian like Charles Schwab or Fidelity. You will need at least $500,000 to start investing with Fisher.
It’s important to note that Fisher Investments doesn’t take custody of your investments. Instead, they get you started with a reputable brokerage and then maintain discretionary control over your portfolio. They will be able to create your portfolio, execute trades on your behalf, and access your account.
After the team has discussed your profile and needs, Fisher will recommend a portfolio for you. It will be comprised of assets from the U.S. and international markets including:
- Domestic and foreign stocks
- Bonds and other fixed-income securities
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- And more
Before executing any trades, your Investment Counselor will review your recommended portfolio and go over the initial strategy for your investments. At this time, you can add or remove assets and adjust as needed until you’re happy with your portfolio.
How Your Portfolio Is Determined
Fisher Investments uses several factors to set up and manage your personal portfolio, including your:
- Investment time horizon
- Investment objectives (including any short-term and long-term targets you’re hoping to meet)
- Cash flow requirements
- Outside assets not managed by Fisher
- Outside income
- Risk tolerance
- Capital gains situation
- And other restrictions or customizations you want to make
Fisher will use this information to create your personalized portfolio recommendation and come back to it regularly to analyze performance. The Investment Policy Committee (IPC) makes all strategic investment decisions for client portfolios but other teams such as the Portfolio Evaluation Group will assess your portfolio’s success against your personal profile.
Fisher Investments Features and Services
Personal Wealth Management with Fisher is comprised of three main services: Financial Planning, Portfolio Management, and Annuity Evaluation.
Financial planning is a broad approach to managing your money now and setting yourself up for success in the future. This can include help with:
- Budgeting and cash flow analyzing
- Tax and estate planning
- Emergency fund saving
- Everyday saving
- Debt management
- And more
One of the biggest aspects of your financial planning journey will focus on your retirement.
Whether you’re hoping to continue growing your wealth, maintain the lifestyle you want, or something in between, you can get support creating a retirement plan that works for you.
Fisher Investments can help you set goals and learn how to generate retirement income. Your Counselor will also make it a priority to align your investing with your retirement goals and provide you with the resources and tools to stay on track in other aspects of your life too.
One of the free resources Fisher offers to everyone is The 15-Minute Retirement Plan. This is a guide designed to help you better understand how your investing plays a role in your overall retirement strategy and what steps you can take to plan smarter.
After creating your portfolio, Fisher will continue to manage your investments by analyzing their performance on an ongoing basis. Fisher utilizes active portfolio management, which differs from passive management.
Rather than encouraging you to keep the same asset allocation or hold assets that are underperforming, Fisher will monitor market conditions and recommend trades that make sense for your risk tolerance and goals. Your Investment Counselor will go over suggested changes with you as they come up and you can reach out with your own suggestions or concerns.
>>> Read more: Investment Portfolio Analysis: Why Is It So Important?
Another service Fisher will provide you as a Personal Wealth Management client is Annuity Evaluation. Fisher Investments does not offer annuities, but it does provide support to investors in evaluating annuities on a case-by-case basis.
If you already have an annuity, Fisher can help you assess its advantages and disadvantages in the context of your overall investment and retirement planning strategy. If you and your Counselor determine that the cons and risks of your annuity outweigh the pros, you will get help converting your annuity and adjusting your financial plan.
>>> Read more: Annuity Investment: How To Decide If It’s Right for You
Fisher Investments Fees and Pricing
Fisher Investments doesn’t charge any commissions for trades. Instead, the firm charges an annual fee that is based on the size of your portfolio. The fee is between 1% and 1.5%, depending on the number of investments under management.
This makes Fisher Investments comparable to fees assessed by other non-robo-advisor investment management companies. 1% is about average for similar active management services but well above fees typically charged by robo advisors, which are usually 0.3% or less.
Other Tools and Services
On top of personalized investment advising and planning, Fisher offers the following tools and services.
Education and Resources: Fisher Investments provides quarterly reports, seminars, workshops, videos, free eBooks on investing, and a retirement planning guide.
Calculators & Tools: Fisher Investments has several useful financial tools like a retirement calculator, 401(k) calculator, and in-depth financial guides on topics like retirement planning and dealing with market volatility.
Exclusive Invites: Clients get invitations to participate in several types of exclusive events, including regional seminars, investment roundtables, and Fisher Friends gatherings.
Mobile App: U.S. clients can access their accounts via the Android or iOS app.
Who Is Fisher Investments Best For?
If you have $500,000 or more to invest and you’re looking for a highly personal investing experience, Fisher might be a good fit. You’ll get customized advice whenever you need it in every aspect of your financial life from your spending and savings to your investing and retirement planning.
>People who want long-term support
If you’re looking for an investment firm where you can put down roots and see your goals through, Fisher Investments will offer the ongoing guidance you need to strategize, re-strategize, and adjust your investing with any life changes that come along.
Who Is Fisher Investments Not Ideal For?
Due to the exceptionally high minimum investment requirement of $500,000, we can’t recommend Fisher for people who are just getting started out and don’t have as much liquid cash to invest.
For this, consider a robo-advisor instead. These often charge very minimal fees and have low thresholds for becoming a member, many requiring no minimum opening deposit at all. But investing with an actively-managed service like Fisher Investments is much different from plopping money into a robo-advisory service. You’ll get a level of management and planning from Fisher that you wouldn’t get from a robo-advisor, but you’ll pay a fraction of the price.
>>>Read more: Best Robo-Advisors for 2023
>Frequent, active traders
If you’re just looking for a stock broker that will give you access to low-cost trading, Fisher Investments is not for you. This is an advisory and money management firm ideal for a more hands-off approach. Your team will decide for you when it makes sense to buy and hold and when it makes sense to trade.
If you want to choose all of your trades and feel confident enough in your abilities and knowledge to choose them for yourself, you probably don’t need Fisher.
>>>Read more: Buy and Hold vs. Active Trading
How to Sign Up
Choosing a money management firm, especially when you’re talking about investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, is a huge commitment.
If you’re thinking Fisher Investments is right for you, request an appointment to talk with a representative. Then, they can help you set up your account and get started.
Is Fisher Investments a Fiduciary?
Yes, Fisher Investments is a fiduciary. This means the company and its Investment Counselors are legally obligated to put your interests first. This isn’t the case with every money manager out there or many online brokers that may try to cross-sell or push you to sign up for more.
You also pay a straightforward annual fee with Fisher Investments, not commission-based fees, so Investment Counselors aren’t incentivized to keep selling you different products or services.
>>>Related: Different Types of Financial Advisors
Fisher Investments vs. Competitors
If you have a high net worth and want a custom, actively managed portfolio, Fisher Investments may be a good choice. The fees are similar to working with many financial advisors and you’ll be able to handle most of your financial needs in one place.
That said, there are some alternatives that charge lower fees, require less of an investment, and offer other benefits that might be better for you.
Facet Wealth connects you with a dedicated Certified Financial Planner who works directly with you to help with services like retirement planning, asset management, tax planning, and even services like estate planning. The CFPs you work with are fiduciaries and can work with you to create a custom investment portfolio using your current brokerage account.
You have an introductory call with a Facet Wealth CFP that’s similar to Fisher Investments, so you can feel out the service. If you decide to move forward, Facet Wealth charges $1,800 to $6,000 annually depending on the services you use, not assets under management. If you have a very large portfolio, this could actually save money versus using an investment advisor that charges fees based on assets under management.
The Paladin Registry is a free registry of registered financial advisors who are also fiduciaries. It’s essentially a match-maker for financial advisors and clients who need assistance with wealth management. Advisors on the registry must have at least five years of experience and be either a Registered Investment Advisor or an Investment Advisor Representative.
The best part about Paladin Registry is that you don’t pay any fees; advisors are the ones who pay fees to be part of the network. However, if you end up working with an advisor, you pay fees to that advisor based on their rates.
If you want to go in a different direction entirely and would prefer choosing your own investments, Public is a fantastic choice. This unique investment platform lets you trade stocks, crypto, ETFs, alternative assets, and more with no commission or transaction fees (on many investments) and no minimum investment requirements. Public offers more resources and data than many other online brokers to help you learn from industry experts and make well-informed trades. It’s also a social platform that encourages collaboration between individual investors.
We recommend Public to beginner and intermediate investors who want to trade safely without paying high fees and who don’t need advising and planning services.
Is Fisher Investments Right for You?
Fisher Investments actively manages investment portfolios through different market environments. If you have no experience managing investments or lack the time, the company will handle the entire process for you. You’ll appreciate having unlimited access to a dedicated Investment Counselor and leaning on the team for guidance.
There are no trading commissions charged by Fisher Investments but their advisory fees are higher than those charged by robo advisors and even some companies that offer access to human advisors. If this is worth paying for to you and you have the capital to get started, consider Fisher. If you can’t meet the minimum, you can still find great advising elsewhere.