Once clients are signed up, investment counselors are assigned to retain them. These counselors are ranked quarterly on their performance, and former employees say that losing customers -- and with them, those fees -- can set off an inquisition.

Talking Points
The investment counselors sometimes work from talking points, particularly when an anxious client calls about market volatility or alarming news -- including, it turns out, the recent stories about Ken Fisher.

Employees who manage relationships recently were instructed to tell customers that Fisher’s remarks -- which included comparing the process of gaining a client’s trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants” -- were taken out of context and blown out of proportion by the media, according to people familiar with the matter.

Counselors are also instructed to delve into customers’ personal lives: Do you know any public figures? Journalists? Anyone in national or local politics or government? What about finance? How about lawyers? One template used by some investment counselors lists these among the “required questions” for clients.

Such questions can help avoid trouble in the event a client becomes unhappy with Fisher, some former employees said.

Clients who live in certain locations are off limits. One of them is Clark County.

That’s where Camas is nestled, and where Fisher lives. Former colleagues say he wants to avoid bumping into any unhappy customers.

--With assistance from Gwen Everett, Janet Lorin, John Gittelsohn and Suzanne Woolley.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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