Wires

UPDATE 1-After Ken Fisher no-show, LA pension system terminates his firm

Ross Kerber

(Adds vote tally, Fisher's majority ownership, comment from commissioner, context on withdrawal)

BOSTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Los Angeles fire and police pension system voted to terminate Fisher Investments on Thursday over allegedly sexist comments made by founder Ken Fisher earlier this month.

Five of the system's nine commissioners voted during a webcast meeting to remove the $511 million the system had under management with the firm, of which Fisher is the majority owner.

Several members voiced concerns about the costs involved and suggested diversity improvements Fisher might make instead. But ultimately Fisher's decision to not show up personally for the pension system's meeting, and to send his employees instead, contributed to the lost business.

"Their management team now is running around the country putting out fires while apparently Mr. Fisher is behind the computer doing deals," said Brian Pendleton, one of the commissioners supporting the termination.

The action brings to more than $2.5 billion the amount withdrawn from Fisher Investments over its founder's remarks. Investors including pension funds in Iowa, Michigan, Boston, and Fidelity Investments, have moved to sever ties with the firm.

Others have put the firm under review over Fisher's remarks at an investor conference. According to an attendee, Fisher made derogatory comments about genitalia, picking up girls and financier Jeffrey Epstein, among other topics.

Epstein committed suicide in August while in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. 1/8 nL2N27711I 3/8

After a public backlash, Fisher apologized in a memo to his firm's employees on Oct. 11. He had been invited to Thursday's Los Angeles meeting but instead sent executives including firm Chief Executive Damian Ornani.

The executives reiterated the apology and said the firm was taking steps on diversity, including having executives go through sensitivity training. Fisher himself, Ornani said, is not speaking to large audiences "in the near term." (Reporting by Ross Kerber Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)