Why We Love Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments Quick Info:

  • Fisher Investments Headquarters: Radnor, WA
  • In Business Since: 1979
  • BBB Rating: A+
  • SIPC Insured: Yes

Fisher InvestmentsAbout Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments is a Washington based, fee-only investment advisor. The firm was founded by its name-sake, Ken Fisher, back in 1979. As of March 31, 2017, Fisher Investments has experienced tremendous growth and now boasts over $77 billion in assets under management.

Fisher Investments operates in four different segments, Fisher Investment Private Client Group, 401(k) Solutions Group, Institutional Group and International Group. These assets are nearly split evenly between institutions (insurance companies, pension funds, health care companies) and high net worth individuals.

Many annuity owners find that the variable or fixed annuities they own no longer fits into their financial plan. They may have been inherited the annuity from a family member. Other times, the current financial conditions are significantly different from when they purchased the annuity. This can be general economic conditions, such as a major change in interest rates or a personal need in the form of a medical emergency.

Fisher Investments Locations:

  • Camas, WA
  • Woodside, CA
  • San Mateo, CA
  • London, England
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Rodenbach, Germany

You may be wondering why we include Fisher Investments in the list of structured settlement companies? No, Fisher Investments will not directly purchase your annuity payments for a lump sum of cash. What they can do is reimburse you for some, or all, of the surrender charges you incur when you sell an annuity before the surrender period has ended.

That sure seems quite generous. Fisher Investments accomplishes this by waving future wrap fees when you transfer the proceeds from cashing out an annuity from your annuity issuer, typically a life insurer such as AIG annuities or Prudential. New York Life annuities are candidates for sale by owners since they are some of the largest fixed annuity issuers.

Fisher Investments defines qualified accounts as those with $500,000 in assets. In case you don’t have this level of assets, you can still try and open an account with Fisher Investments and transfer the proceeds from an annuity sale. If the bond bubble pops, leading to a bear market in stocks, many investment portfolios will sustain heavy investment losses. In such a scenario, Fisher Investments, and many asset managers, may be more willing to accept slightly lower account values.

Fisher Investments Reviews

There is a lot to like about Fisher Investments. For one, they charge no commissions for their clients. If you’ve seen any of the commercials on CNBC or Bloomberg television from Fisher Investments, . In fact, Ken Fisher uses the phrase “I would die and go to hell before I would buy an annuity.”

The main thing we like is that the interests are aligned between the advisor and client given the nature of their pay structure-a flat fee that is based on a percentage of the portfolio value under management. This is not always the case with annuities who have inherent conflicts of interest between their brokers and clients in the form of high up front commissions, sometimes as high as 10%. Also, any changes that need to be made will cost the client a hefty fee through the purchase of additional riders, if they are offered at all.

Should I Sell My Annuity and Transfer the Proceeds to Fisher Investments?

Considering so many annuities no longer fit the owner’s financial needs, a more flexible investment option may be necessary. The combination of flexibility and cost are why a traditionally managed investment portfolio is almost always a better option than an annuity.

Whatever financial needs an annuity tries to serve can be achieved in a cheaper way through the use of traditional securities like stocks, bonds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). For variable annuities, which are typically invested in sub-accounts comprised of mutual funds, a low cost index ETF will almost always outperform.

For example, the Vanguard S&P 500 index ETF (symbol: VOO) has an expense fee of just 0.08%. When you compare this to the mutual fund choices for many variable annuities, the investor will save roughly a full percentage point and a half by choosing the index ETF. Since variable annuities are intended for long term appreciation during the phase, this will eat away at the value over the course of decades in a major way.

Another problem is that most mutual funds fail to outperform the major market indexes. So you’ll also be overpaying for under-performance.

Remember, Fisher Investments is a fee-only advisor so you won’t be paying commissions to make an asset allocation change. They have the ability to offer clients any number of strategies that meet the same goals as an annuity. And the fact that they can reimburse your surrender charges through the waving of account fees should be a testament to how seriously they want to demonstrate how they are the better option. We would feel very comfortable investing with Fisher Investments.