Work starts on second Fisher office building

When project is finished, investment firm will have space for 1,400 workers

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter



Promising another boost to the Clark County economy, fast-growing financial firm Fisher Investments is developing more office space in Camas, with a second five-story building now under construction.

The campus has grown by more than 155 new employees since May, bringing the total Camas workforce to 650 people, said Ken Fisher, founder and chief executive officer, by email this month. Business is on the upswing for the Woodside, Calif.-based firm, which manages $52 billion in assets, up from $49 billion seven months ago.

"We continue to grow, expand and do our best to improve what we do and innovate for the future," said Fisher, a 63-year-old Forbes columnist, author of best-selling financial books and billionaire.

He said Fisher Investments employs a total of 1,600 people.

Fisher has invested about $47 million in developing the Camas campus, north of Pacific Rim Boulevard and east of Southeast 192nd Avenue. It's first five-story office structure opened in 2011, followed by a one-story building that houses the company's processing operations and printing equipment. Each five-story structure will accommodate up to 700 employees. That could put the majority of the Fisher Investment's workforce in Camas as the new office building comes online.

But Fisher refused to speculate on the expected completion date for the new building because construction projects are subject to too many variables, he explained.

"I'm not going to hang myself on a date of when the project will be complete, but we're moving ahead full speed," Fisher said.

He isn't ready to call the Camas campus the company's headquarters, either, said Fisher. His firm's northward migration began with an east Vancouver satellite office for 50 employees in 2006. At the time, Fisher said Clark County offered advantages, such as lower-priced housing for his employees and a friendlier business climate.

That is still the case, Fisher said. He also was impressed by the Camas School District's recent annual report.

The majority of Fisher Investment's employees report to offices in San Mateo, Calif., in the high-tech enclave of the Silicon Valley. The firm's headquarters are in nearby Woodside.

But Fisher said he isn't sure there are advantages to calling one city or another the official headquarters for his firm.

"Might be better to have a virtual headquarters moving forward," he joked. His employees in Camas make between $75,000 and $200,000 annually, Fisher has said.

Fisher and his wife, Sherri, have houses both in California and in Camas, but for tax purposes the couple remain residents of California. Fisher has said California's corporate tax has about the same effect on Fisher Investments' bottom line as Washington's business and occupation tax.

Fisher Investment's assets include private client accounts for high-net-worth individuals, public and corporate pension plans, endowments, foundations and sovereign wealth funds.