Who Was Philip Fisher?

Philip Fisher was a renowned investment strategist and author of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. Known for his buy-and-hold approach to investing, Fisher's principles identify long-term growth stocks and their emerging value based on fundamental analysis.

Philip Fisher founded his investment firm, Fisher & Co., in 1931. Fisher died on March 11, 2004, at the age of 96.

Key Takeaways

  • Philip Fisher managed his firm, Fisher & Co., until his retirement in 1999.
  • His book, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, became a New York Times bestseller.
  • Fisher's son, Ken Fisher founded Fisher Investments in 1979.
  • Philip Fisher is considered a pioneer of growth investment strategy.

Philip Fisher

Investopedia / Alex Dos Diaz

Early Life and Education

Philip Fisher was born on Sept. 8, 1907, in San Francisco, California, and graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in economics. He began his career at the Anglo-London Bank in San Francisco as a securities analyst.

Fisher & Co.

Philip Fisher is considered a pioneer of growth investing. He founded Fisher & Co. in 1931, delivered strong returns for his clients, and influenced the greatest investing minds, including Warren Buffett.

Fisher introduced investors to the buy-and-hold method of long-term growth investing. He was the first to consider a stock's worth in terms of potential growth instead of current price trends and absolute value. "It is only occasionally," he once wrote, "that there is any reason for selling at all." Employing his own technique, Fisher bought Motorola stock in 1955 and held its shares until his death in 2004.

In 1958, Philip Fisher wrote Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. Published during a time of great prosperity and a post-World War II bull market, the book embraces the prospect of continued long-term growth. His "15 Points to Look for in a Common Stock" advises readers to target businesses that are leaders in their field, have a commitment to research and development, and are led by quality executives. Fisher suggests investors use the "business grapevine" and "scuttlebutt," techniques to actively network and gather information about the companies in which they invest.

Philip Fisher managed Fisher & Co. until his retirement in 1999.

Fisher Investments

In 1979, Ken Fisher founded Fisher Investments, managing assets with a belief in capitalism and free capital markets. While his father, Philip Fisher, emphasized growth investing and offered his investment services to a select group of investors, Ken Fisher established his company with a belief in mass marketing.

Targeting small investors, Ken Fisher used techniques like junk mail and free publications to build his client base. Ken Fisher's theoretical work popularized the use of the price-to-sales ratio as a tool to manage small-cap value portfolios. In 2007, Fisher Investments partnered with Grüner in Germany and by 2012, Fisher Investments Europe expanded. Today, Fisher Investments and its subsidiaries operate in 13 offices across eight countries and serve over 100,000 clients globally.

Ken Fisher is the author of How to Smell a Rat: The Five Signs of Financial Fraud and Debunkery: Learn It, Do It, and Profit From It—Seeing Through Wall Street’s Money-Killing Myths. 

Published Works

In 1958, Philip Fisher wrote Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, which became required reading at The Stanford Graduate School of Business. Fisher is also the author of Paths to Wealth Through Common Stocks and Conservative Investors Sleep Well.

What Is The 15 Point Strategy Found In Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits?

In his book, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Philip Fisher details fifteen points, ranging from accounting controls to management integrity, for investors to use to assess the characteristics of the business prior to investing.

What Is "Scuttlebutt," According to Philip Fisher?

"Scuttlebutt" is the idea that investors investigate potential portfolio holdings by questioning customers, competitors, former employees, suppliers, and management.

According to Philip Fisher's Strategy, What Are Valid Reasons to Sell a Stock?

An investor may decide to sell a stock if the initial assessment of the company was completed in error, the company no longer meets the fundamental tests as it did when purchased, or a new opportunity has become known to the investor.

The Bottom Line

Philip Fisher spent his career encouraging investors to research their investments and plan for a long-term portfolio. As an advisor and author, Fisher helped define growth strategy investing.

Article Sources
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  1. The New York Times. "World of Investing: The rewards of a long view."

  2. Forbes. "Philip Fisher: Growth Stock Investigator."

  3. Forbes. "Ken Fisher and the Usefulness of the Price-to-Sales Ratio."