Wasatch Advisors, Inc. announces the planned departure of Founder and Chairman Sam Stewart, who will leave to join Seven Canyons Advisors, LLC—an SEC-registered investment advisor recently established by members of his family.
“When I started Wasatch Advisors, I intentionally named it Wasatch instead of Stewart Advisors, hoping we could build a business that would thrive well past my tenure. I’m happy to say that’s happened,” said Sam Stewart. “I’m grateful for Wasatch’s support as I start this new venture with my family.” Josh Stewart, son of Sam Stewart, will also depart Wasatch to join the new family-owned firm.
JB Taylor, CEO of Wasatch, commented, “We’re excited for Sam and the next chapter of his career. It’s inspiring that he has the same entrepreneurial spirit as he had 43 years ago when he started Wasatch Advisors. We’re grateful to Sam for his decades of contributions and for founding our firm with an enduring investment philosophy and a strong company culture.”
In addition to the departures, Wasatch Funds announced it has approved a plan to merge the two Wasatch funds currently managed by Sam and Josh into two new funds with similar objectives and strategies managed by Josh and Sam at their new family-owned firm. Shareholders are not expected to experience a taxable transaction under the plan of merger that was approved.
The Wasatch Funds Board of Trustees approved the merger plan, concluding it would be in the best interests of the shareholders of the Wasatch Strategic Income Fund and the Wasatch World Innovators Fund. It is anticipated the merger will occur during the 3rd quarter of 2018. Sam and Josh will remain employees of Wasatch Advisors and will manage the funds until the merger is completed. JB Taylor commented, “We are pleased with the Wasatch Funds Board’s consideration of shareholder interests. We think transitioning the Wasatch Strategic Income and the Wasatch World Innovators Funds to the new funds managed by Sam and Josh will provide the highest possible level of management continuity with the same portfolio managers who built the funds’ solid track records.”
Sam Stewart founded Wasatch Advisors in 1975 and has served as a portfolio manager and the firm’s Chairman since that time. Through 2009, Sam also served as the firm’s CEO. Josh Stewart joined Wasatch full-time in 2006. Sam and Josh were not equity holders as of December 31, 2017. Wasatch is and will remain independent and 100% employee-owned with no significant ownership changes as a result of these departures. A majority of the firm’s equity is owned by members of the global equity research team, which is comprised of 34 portfolio managers and analysts. Wasatch Advisors previously repurchased Sam Stewart’s equity through its standard equity recycling program.