Poll data collected by Investment
Advisor/ ThinkAdvisor.com support
Plonner’s conclusion. In addition,
the survey results point to a strong
consensus on bad behavior in the
industry and how to respond to it,
though there is less agreement on
how widespread the problem is.
• The majority of financial professionals polled believe Fisher’s off-color remarks were sexist/highly
inappropriate, garnering 70% of the
1,350-plus responses overall — with
85% of women and 65% of men
expressing this view (page 30).
• Even stronger is the consensus
view over withdrawing assets from
Fisher Investments as an appropriate response to his comments: It has
the approval of 86% of responses
(92% of women’s/83% of men’s).
• When asked if these redemp-
tions send a clear message that
his behavior is unacceptable,
88% of those taking the poll (91%
women/87% men) say “yes.”
•A strong majority, 84%, view
Fisher’s banning from two indus-
try events (where he’s made lewd
remarks) as an appropriate response,
and 75% would not attend an event
with Fisher as a speaker.
• The consensus, though, breaks
down over the frequency of behavior displayed by Fisher and others.
Most women polled, 61%, say such behavior is common in the
industry vs. a minority of men, 30%. (See “Do Better,” page 32.)
• As for initial reactions to the specific comments made by
Fisher, 47% of men were shocked/disgusted vs. 39% of women.
Some 38% of women found the remarks unsurprising vs. 26% of
men. (Others were either surprised or not shocked/disgusted.)
• Concerning the general problem of verbal harassment in
the business, 80% of women say it is somewhat or very common vs. 48% of men.
• In terms of physical harassment
and its frequency, 59% of women
believe it is somewhat or very common vs. 27% of men.
• There is a strong consensus on
ending mandatory arbitration and
giving employees the right to sue
over sexual harassment at work: 82%
of women and 67% of men support
this move, or 71% of all respondents.
Overall, the #MeToo movement,
Fearless Girl statue and work being
done by Wall Street veterans like
Sallie Krawcheck — along with the
shifting views of advisors young and
old — are making an impact, those
working in financial services say.
“We’ve all heard it, but none of us
are at [Fisher’s] status, and [about]
two years ago, lots of people were
less likely to say something,” said
RLS Wealth Management’s Castelli.
“In the past couple of years, we are
done letting this stuff happen and
want to be advocates for everyone ...
and not let this stuff go.”
Like others in the business,
William McCance was shocked
when he first heard the Fisher
news. “I thought, ‘Oh no. We’ve
taken 10 huge steps backwards,’ ”
The response to the remarks, though, has impressed him.
“Fisher was called out quickly. The #Metoo movement has
done a tremendous job at allowing people to focus on this [type
of behavior],” McCance said. “The reaction was exactly appro-
priate to what the comments were. Things aligned perfectly.”
The executive, who has two adult daughters, believes the
industry began making improvements in its treatment of women
and Florida pension
group say they are
reviewing Fisher ties;
Philadelphia group to
divest $54 million.
Boston pension board
moves to yank $248
million; Mercer voices
concerns about possible
outflows; Fisher’s son
defends the crude remarks.
NEPC advises 350
clients to cut ties to
Iowa pension group to
divest $348 million; Air
Products & Chemicals to
pull $30 million, bringing
total redemptions to over
Ellevest CEO Sallie
Krawcheck posts blog
entitled “Let’s Demand
Better From the Financial
Clients that have removed about $3.4 billion
assets from Fisher Investments in the wake
of Chair Ken Fisher’s lewd comment include:
Michigan Retirement Fund
Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions
Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System
Employees Retirement System of Texas
Boston Pension Board
New Hampshire Retirement System
Chicago Police Annuity
Philadelphia Board of Pensions
Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC, Reuters (as of 11/19/19)