Salient Partners to Acquire Forward Management

Salient Partners announced it will acquire Forward Management, an independent asset management firm based in San Francisco and investment adviser to the Forward Funds.

Executives hope the merger will expand Salient’s presence in the liquid alternatives area, among other goals. The combined firm is expected to have more than $27 billion in assets under management and advisement and will deliver a suite of investment strategies to institutional investors and financial advisers.

The combined corporate organization has more than 250 staffers and locations in three key U.S. business centers—Houston, San Francisco and New York. Salient and Forward expect the proposed transaction to close in the second quarter of 2015, pending approval by Forward Funds’ shareholders and fulfillment of customary closing conditions.

The combined organization will be able to offer funds in a variety of nontraditional markets and asset classes, including master limited partnerships (MLPs), real estate investment trust (REIT) securities, trend following, risk parity and hard-to-access equity and credit markets.

“Our goal is to help investors focus on what truly matters—cost-effective investment strategies that seek to provide diversification in uncertain times,” notes John Blaisdell, chairman and chief executive officer of Salient. “The combined platform will add scale, reach and depth to all areas of our business, helping us support institutional investors and financial advisors nationwide.”

Salient’s senior management team will lead the combined company, with Blaisdell remaining chairman and chief executive officer and Lee Partridge becoming chief investment officer. Rob Naka, Forward’s chief operating officer, will hold the same role at the newly combined company. Both Forward and Salient’s portfolio management teams will report to Partridge. Forward’s investment approach and processes are anticipated to remain unchanged, according to the firms, and forward’s team will continue to operate from its existing San Francisco office.

As part of the acquisition, Salient and Forward will combine their complementary mutual fund offerings to provide a diverse suite of asset-allocation and alternative strategies designed to allow investors the opportunity to create diversified portfolios or enhance their existing portfolios. Salient plans to add to its institutional product offerings with new private funds and separately managed accounts based on Forward’s investment strategies.

The combined suite of funds will include Global asset allocation, including Salient’s risk parity strategy; real asset investments, including MLPs, REITs and global infrastructure strategies; diversifying alternative investments, including tactical, long/short equity and trend-following strategies; focused equity investments, including international, emerging market and dividend growth strategies; and fixed-income and credit investments, including emerging market corporate debt.

Salient and Forward’s capabilities in investor education and financial adviser support will be reflected in the combined thought leadership platform, the firms suggest. Team members will continue to share their market views, insights and investment perspectives through both traditional and social media channels.

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