US offshore distribution firms Atlantic Financial Partners and Zagros Strategic Advisors are to merge in 2018 under the name Atlantic Zagros Financial Partners.
The two firms will be joining forces to represent ‘niche’ asset managers to US offshore and Latin American clients, and are on the verge of signing international managers as well as a large US firm, according to Ali Homayounfar (pictured above), founder of Zagros, who has been working with Atlantic since January.
Homayounfar declined to reveal the firms but told Citywire Americas: ‘We want to have a complementary offering by representing talented asset managers who do not overlap, are niche players, have a unique expertise, operate within desirable asset classes and are lesser known in our markets.’
Homayounfar set up Zagros in 2014 after leaving UBS where he had various positions, including global head of sales and marketing for its US private bank and head of private wealth management in Connecticut.
Atlantic Financial Partners was set up by Craig Morong (pictured below) in 2004 and sold to distribution firm EMG in 2012, which was subsequently bought by Ivy Funds. Morong was head of institutional sales at Ivy until 2016, when it exited the offshore business. He then re-established Atlantic Financial Partners.
The team also includes Eric Dale, previously a sales manager for Credit Suisse Private Banking and a director at Merrill Lynch International, Jay Nakashima, previously with Ivy Global Investors, and Randy Clark, previously with Fidelity and Investec. The firm also has associates in Uruguay and Costa Rica.
‘We have in-depth experience in wealth management, asset management and distribution,' said Homayounfar. 'We are unique in the fact that we fully understand all of the constituents of our industry, having been on the other side of the table ourselves.'
Zagros currently represents alternative fund of funds provider Aurum Funds and Trocadero Asset Management. Atlantic represents UK manager Plurimi Investment Managers, CAT bond specialist Plenum Investments and the Unit Trust of India mutual fund company.
In addition to bringing lesser known names to the US offshore market, Homayounfar said the firm was also looking to become a strong representative in California for Asia-focused managers. The team has been approached on a regular basis by Asia managers trying to break into US offshore, he said.
Lastly, the firm will also offer help to US asset managers that want to set up Ucits so they can distribute to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Diversifying into these areas is not to say the group does not believe in the future of the US offshore market.
‘We strongly believe the US offshore market is a growing market because of disruptions in traditional offshore centers such as Switzerland, the Caribbean and Asia,' Homayounfar said.
'The US is still the number one safe haven because of its advanced financial markets, technology infrastructure and a rule of law. We believe that transparency is ultimately good for our business.’