Franklin Templeton: Investment Manager Highlight (BEN)
Franklin Resources Inc. (NYSE: BEN), commonly called Franklin Templeton Investments and founded in 1947, is one of the oldest U.S. wealth management companies. It has 46 research offices in a total of 35 countries. As of December 31, 2015, it has $763.9 billion in assets under management (AUD) over 25.1 million shareholder accounts, and operates under well-known brands, such as Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Fiduciary and Darby. The company is known for its highly experienced active asset management, with some of its funds being in existence for over five decades.
Franklin Templeton Investments' global investment platform specializes in four areas: trading, portfolio management, research and investment risk management. The company is further divided into numerous investment teams, each with their own investment specialization, including Franklin Equity Group, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, Templeton Emerging Markets, Templeton Global Macro and Templeton Global Equity Group.
Franklin Templeton Investments is known for its deep fundamental analysis and top-down investment selection approach. Many funds managers use global macroeconomic insights combined with local expertise to assess the attractiveness of its investments. The company typically diversifies portfolios across geographic regions and multiple holdings to avoid large bets on single holdings. It relies primarily on fundamentals and long-term growth potential in making disciplined investment decisions. The company's funds are also known for their continuous investment risk management at all phases of investment life cycle.
As of December 31, 2015, Franklin Templeton Investments has more than 9,200 employees, including at least 650 investment professionals, such as portfolio managers, analysts and traders. The company has specialized investment teams that enjoy a relatively high degree of autonomy and run related families of funds with shared investment objectives. This allows the company to produce unique investment styles and solutions.
Most portfolio managers at Franklin Templeton Investments have over 20 years of industry experience and have been with the company for over a decade. The firm is known for nurturing talented employees who later become skilled portfolio managers. Most funds are run by at least two co-managers, the lead being a highly experienced manager. Specialized teams typically run multiple funds at the same time, supported by the same group of analysts.
The company boasts a number of star fund managers. One stand out is executive vice president and chief investment officer Michael Hasenstab, who has extensive experience with global fixed income portfolios and uses deep quantitative and qualitative analyses to identify countries that are most attractive for investment. Many funds have received high ratings from Morningstar under Hasenstab for their unique investment style and risk-adjusted performance.
John Wiley is an old-time veteran of Franklin Templeton who has managed many fixed-income mutual funds over two decades. He is a senior vice president and lead portfolio manager at the company who specializes in municipal bonds funds. Many of his funds have received four- and five-star overall ratings from Morningstar for their consistent management and strong returns.
Franklin Templeton Investments offers a wide range of investment styles and products to its clients, including open-end and closed-end funds, unregistered funds, separately-managed accounts, fund administration and shareholder services. Mutual funds managed by the company specialize in various equity and fixed-income niches, such as value, growth, sector-specific equity, sovereign bonds and corporate bonds, with different maturity and interest rate risk profiles.
Franklin Templeton Investments also offers investors various alternative strategies mutual funds, such as commodities, infrastructure, real estate, hedge funds and private equity. Some of its funds have received four- and five-star overall ratings from Morningstar, especially in categories such as municipal bonds, utilities stocks, aggressive allocation, world stock and large value. Its funds are also known as pioneers in global investing, with its diversified emerging market funds earning high marks from other fund-rating agencies, as well.