(updated with correction)
Howard Gleicher and Gary Lisenbee are out to prove they can strike investment gold for a second time.
The pair has reunited at Aristotle Capital Management LLC, hoping to repeat the winning investment performance that propelled the success of their first value equity firm, Metropolitan West Capital Management LLC.
Mr. Gleicher launched Los Angeles-based Aristotle in October 2010; Mr. Lisenbee joined in June of this year.
The firm has about $5 billion under management. One of its newest clients is the University of California, Oakland, which allocated $400 million to Aristotle's large-cap value strategy in late August, said university spokeswoman Dianne Klein. The assets are from the university's $45.1 billion retirement plan and $7.1 billion general endowment pool.
Messrs. Gleicher and Lisenbee, along with Steve Borowski, formed Metropolitan West in 1997. They sold the a majority controlling interest of the firm to Evergreen Investments, whose parent was Wachovia Corp., in June 2006, but continued working there in top management spots.
Mr. Gleicher was CEO and chief investment officer at Metropolitan West. Mr. Lisenbee was president, succeeding Mr. Gleicher when he left to form Aristotle. Mr. Borowski was a managing partner.
Concerns over the acquisition of Wachovia by Wells Fargo & Co. in January 2009, which resulted in Evergreen Investments becoming part of Wells Fargo Asset Management, led Messrs. Gleicher and Borowski to leave the following year and start Aristotle.
The timing was right. Mr. Gleicher and Mr. Borowski said the non-compete agreements they signed when the business was sold to Evergreen had expired.
Mr. Lisenbee then took over as CEO and CIO of Metropolitan West because he felt a fiduciary responsibility. “I felt it would have been most disruptive to the business if all of us left,” he said in a recent interview. He also had a more practical reason to stay: a seven-year non-compete agreement he signed when the firm was sold to Evergreen.
Mr. Lisenbee said that when his non-compete expired he moved to Aristotle to rejoin many of his colleagues from Metropolitan West. “For me it was an opportunity to be back with people that I respect tremendously in this industry and enjoy working with.”
Mr. Lisenbee said working with a smaller firm allows for more nimble investing, something that disappeared in part when Metropolitan West gave up its independence.
“If you work in a large financial institution, you have to go through channels ... strategic decisions have to be cleared in New York or Boston and go through committees and it take a couple of months and you might lose that opportunity,” he said.
He would not cite any specific examples.
Mr. Borowski became Aristotle's president when the firm opened in October 2010, and heads sales and marketing.
Messrs. Gleicher, Lisenbee and Borowski had worked together at Palley-Needelman Asset Management Inc., which they left to from Metropolitan West. Palley-Needelman has since closed.