(Bloomberg) -- Salient Partners, a $21.5 billion investment firm, plans to buy Forward Management to expand its liquid alternatives business, a fast-growing product that offers hedge- fund like strategies to individual investors.

Salient, based in Houston, expects to close the purchase of the $6 billion money manager in the second quarter, according to two people familiar with the transaction, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Forward offers separate accounts and mutual funds that invest across equity and debt markets globally.

Firms including New York Life Insurance Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have sought to expand their liquid alternative offerings, which allow clients to add or withdraw money daily. Some investors are opting for their lower-fee structure, with the category attracting record net subscriptions of $16.5 billion for 2014, Morningstar Inc. said, raising the total assets to $157.6 billion.

Salient provides alternative investment strategies for institutional investors and financial advisors. Its management will lead the combined company, which will have about 250 employees in offices in Houston, San Francisco and New York. Salient’s John Blaisdell, chairman and chief executive officer, Lee Partridge, chief investment officer, and Forward’s Rob Naka, chief operating officer, will keep the same titles.

Catherine Jones, a spokeswoman for Salient with Polisi Jones Communications, and Victoria Odinotska, a spokeswoman for Forward with Kanter & Co., declined to comment.

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