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Why are Fisher Investments so fishy about their auditor?

24 May

Fisher investments in their own words are a multi-billion dollar company and one of the world’s largest independent investment advisory firms. They have approximately $40 billion under management. Given the events surrounding Bernie Madoff, the investigations into SAC Capital, the trial and prosecution of Raj Rajaratnam and other hedge funds, financial firms should be pursuing every effort to ensure they are at least perceived to be wholly transparent.

In this spirit I contacted Fisher Investments in order to identify who their auditor was for the last financial year. As a private legal entity they are under no obligation to do so.  After speaking to a number of people I was told by a very polite female Media representative that she would find out and give me a call back. She duly did and apologised that she was not able to release that information but if I had any other queries she would be happy to help.  Given their hesitancy, one has to question whether the release of such information would be material and business sensitive. It is likely that Fisher employs one of the major auditing firms but without such knowledge it is difficult to speculate accurately.

One of the key clues that the investment world missed with Madoff was his illusive one-man band auditing firm.  Ken Fisher doesn’t really see a problem whatsoever with employing one-man band auditing firms for multi-billion dollar enterprises. In Fisher’s book, ‘How to Smell a Rat: The Five Signs of Financial Fraud’ he says (under the section, The Myth of the Tiny Auditor):
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