Market Overview

Forward Updates and Globalizes Its Series of Asset Allocation Funds

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San Francisco, Nov. 5, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Forward (Forward Management, LLC) has enhanced its suite of asset allocation funds, adapting them to help investors meet the challenges of an era where we have not only historically low yields combined with elevated risk levels, but also generally lower returns. The funds have been renamed the Forward Global Asset Allocation Series.

The series comprises five mutual funds with varying growth and income objectives. It is designed to provide bank trust departments and other financial advisors with a core portfolio solution that can be tailored to individual client needs. The five funds include: Forward Growth Fund, Forward Growth & Income Fund, Forward Income Builder Fund, Forward Balanced Fund and Forward Income & Growth Fund.  

"Over the past six years Forward has developed a wide array of non-traditional and global strategies, giving us the components for an asset allocation solution that's in sync with today's realities," said Alan Reid, CEO of Forward. "These are not your father's asset allocation funds."      

While generally preserving the configuration of its previous asset allocation suite, Forward has reduced the number of portfolios from six to five, pulling the Aggressive Growth portfolio from the series. That fund will be renamed the Forward Multi-Strategy Fund, although its objective is unchanged. 

Forward has also updated the portfolio series by:

- Globalizing the mix of underlying Forward mutual funds for greater diversification and more exposure to global growth and income opportunities. With few exceptions, the underlying funds will operate with a global or international strategy. 

"While developing nations are generally faster-growing and more fiscally stable than developed countries, studies show that most investor portfolios are significantly underweight in their exposure to emerging and frontier nations," said Nathan J. Rowader, Forward's Director of Investments and lead Portfolio Manager for the asset allocation fund suite. "This is why globalization was one of our prime objectives in updating our asset allocation funds."    

- Shifting the basis for global portfolio weightings from market capitalization to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Market-cap weightings skew portfolios toward developed economies with established capital markets while underweighting faster growing, less developed markets such as China and Brazil, said Rowader. For example, as of December 31, 2011, U.S. stocks represented a 39.3% weighting on a market-cap basis vs. 25.3% on a GDP-weighted basis. Emerging markets, on the other hand, had a 20.9% market-cap weighting vs. a 27.6% GDP weighting. Consistent with the shift to GDP weighting of portfolios, Forward has changed the fund series' portfolio benchmarks to global indexes that are also GDP-weighted.* 

- Increasing their slant toward alternative strategies and real assets, with the aim of better managing downside and correlation risks as well as adding growth and income potential. The portfolios in the suite draw on underlying Forward mutual funds asset classes including emerging markets corporate debt, international dividend, emerging markets preferred dividend, long/short commodities, managed futures, and frontier markets, among others.  

- Systematically adapting fund allocations to changing global conditions. Departing from a traditional "set-it-and-forget-it" approach, the asset allocation team monthly adjusts the mix of underlying strategies in each portfolio, utilizing a statistical allocation process and state-of-the-art techniques for return and volatility forecasting. 

- Putting more focus on volatility management.  Forward factors the volatility of each underlying fund's benchmark into its monthly portfolio rebalancing process. The investment team seeks to limit each portfolio's volatility to some percentage of the benchmark's volatility, depending on the risk/reward profile for which the portfolio is designed.    

While the Forward Income Builder Fund remains part of Forward's asset allocation series, it will also be available as a stand-alone product on intermediary and institutional platforms. Designed to address the current low-yield climate, Forward Income Builder Fund looks beyond traditional income sources to opportunities that investors might not typically consider, such as international real estate, global infrastructure and high-yield emerging markets debt. 

"We believe asset allocation funds are more relevant than ever, as they provide a level of diversification, adaptability and risk management that are very difficult for investors to achieve on their own. But fund managers need to keep evolving them to fit the specific challenges and opportunities of the times," said Reid. "With this new version of our asset allocation series, Forward is striving to be on the forefront of that evolution."     

About Forward

The world has changed, leading investors to seek new strategies that better fit an evolving global climate. Forward's investment solutions are built around the outcomes we believe investors need to be pursuing - non-correlated return, investment income, global exposure and diversification. With a propensity for unbounded thinking, we focus especially on developing innovative alternative strategies that may help investors build all-weather portfolios. An independent, privately held firm founded in 1998, Forward (Forward Management, LLC) is the advisor to the Forward Funds. As of September 30, 2012, we manage more than $5.7 billion in a diverse product set offered to individual investors, financial advisors and institutions. More information on Forward can be found at www.forwardinvesting.com.

* IHS Global Insights, as of 09/30/12.

Correlation refers to the statistical measure of how two securities move in relation to each other and is computed as the correlation coefficient, with ranges from -1 to +1.

Downside Risk is an estimation of a security's potential to suffer a decline in value if the market conditions change

Forward Aggressive Growth Allocation Fund seeks high potential capital appreciation.

Forward Balanced Allocation Fund seeks moderate current income and some potential capital appreciation.

Forward Growth & Income Allocation Fund seeks moderate potential capital appreciation.

Forward Growth Allocation Fund seeks high potential capital appreciation.

Forward Income & Growth Allocation Fund seeks high current income and some potential capital appreciation.

Forward Income Builder Fund seeks high current income and some stability of principal.

You should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Forward Funds carefully before investing. A prospectus with this and other information may be obtained by calling
(800) 999-6809 or by downloading one from
www.forwardinvesting.com. It should be read carefully before investing.

RISKS

There are risks involved with investing, including loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results, share prices will fluctuate, and you may have a gain or loss when you redeem shares.

Each Allocation Fund is a fund of funds, which invest in a mix of underlying Forward Funds. Shareholders of an Allocation Fund indirectly bear the expenses of the underlying funds. An Allocation Fund's allocations may be changed at any time. Asset allocation does not assure profit or protect against risk.

Diversification does not assure profit or protect against risk.

Futures contracts involve additional investment risks and transaction costs, and create leverage, which can increase the risk and volatility of a fund.

Borrowing for investment purposes creates leverage, which can increase the risk and volatility of a fund. (Aggressive Growth, Income Builder)

Derivative instruments involve risks different from those associated with investing directly in securities and may cause, among other things, increased volatility and transaction costs or a fund to lose more than the amount invested. (Aggressive Growth, Balanced Allocation, Growth & Income Allocation, Growth Allocation, Income & Growth Allocation, Income Builder)

Exposure to the commodities markets may subject a fund to greater volatility than investing in traditional securities. The value of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as natural disasters and international economic, political and regulatory developments. (Aggressive Growth)

Investing in a non-diversified fu nd involves the risk of greater price fluctuation than a more diversified portfolio. (Aggressive Growth)

Investing in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) will subject a fund to substantially the same risks as those associated with the direct ownership of the securities or other property held by the ETFs. (Income Builder)

Foreign securities, especially emerging or frontier markets, will involve additional risks including exchange rate fluctuations, social and political instability, less liquidity, greater volatility and less regulation. (Aggressive Growth, Growth & Income Allocation, Growth Allocation, Income Builder)

Investing in lower-rated ("high yield") debt securities involves special risks in addition to those associated with investments in higher-rated debt securities, including a high degree of credit risk. (Growth & Income Allocation, Income & Growth Allocation, Income Builder)

Mortgage and asset-backed securities are debt instruments that are secured by interests in pools of mortgage loans or other financial instruments. Mortgage-backed securities are subject to, among other things, prepayment and extension risks. (Aggressive Growth, Balanced Allocation, Income & Growth Allocation, Income Builder)

Investing in the real estate industry or in real estate-related securities involves the risks associated with direct ownership of real estate which include, among other things, changes in economic conditions (e.g., interest rates), the macro real estate development market, government intervention (e.g., property taxes) or environmental disasters. These risks may also affect the value of equities that service the real estate sector. (Income Builder)

Short selling involves additional investment risks and transaction costs, and creates leverage, which can increase the risk and volatility of a fund. (Aggressive Growth, Income Builder)

Nathan Rowader is a registered representative of ALPS Distributors, Inc.

Alan Reid is a registered representative of Forward Securities, LLC.

Forward Funds are distributed by Forward Securities, LLC.

Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value

©2012 Forward Management, LLC. All rights reserved.

CONTACT: Victoria Odinotska Kanter & Company 703-534-3735

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