San Francisco-based TLB Capital Management has announced plans to merge with Morrison & Frazier Investment Management from nearby Lafayette in January next year in a move that will bring together two veteran managers with a combined 55 years of investment experience and more than USD75m in assets.

Thomas Lloyd-Butler, founder of TLB Capital Management, will be chief investment officer at the new firm, while Richard Morrison of Morrison & Frazier will be sub-adviser. The firms say the merger will enhance service for clients and continue to deliver superior returns to investors in existing funds.

Before establishing his own firm, Lloyd-Butler was an investment professional and portfolio manager at the San Francisco firm of Gruber & McBaine, having previously been an analyst at Montgomery Securities. He began his career at Morgan Guaranty Trust. Since its establishment in January 2003, TLB has posted a 57 per cent return in its long-only portfolio.

Morrison has more than 30 years of investment experience, having worked as a portfolio manager at Jurika & Voyles, Ashfield and L.F. Rothschild.

The new firm will continue to operate its predecessors' existing funds separately, including Morrison & Frazier's Ascend Fund, while combining their portfolio management professionals into a single team including research analyst Jason Lok and two investment consultants. The principals have added assets to the Ascend Fund as part of the merger.

'Dick Morrison and I have known each other for many years,' Lloyd-Butler says. 'We share the same investment philosophy. We focus on a similar value-oriented investment approach with long-term horizons and an emphasis on liquidity and best practices in risk management.'

Adds Morrison: 'We are very optimistic about the team we have put together. We believe we've built a platform to deliver solid performance based on well-positioned, reasonably valued investments with relatively low risk characteristics. This is an excellent time to integrate the best ideas of TLB Capital Management with the best of Morrison & Frazier.'

Under the merger, the TLB Capital and Ascend funds will use the fund administration platform of Conifer Securities, while Goldman Sachs and Bank of America will continue to act as prime brokers.


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