At first glance, Forward Management LLC of San Francisco looks like a typical investment management boutique, presiding over a current family of 16 niche mutual funds.

But Forward's investment talents are broader than they first appear, spanning not only mutual funds but separately managed accounts. Its technology is also more innovative than others, as the firm is affiliated with ReFlow Management, which burst onto the fund scene in 2002 with new liquidity tools that the Forward Funds quickly embraced.

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